Nine-year-old Assata Gaines received the chance of a young lifetime to polish her dance skills as a student of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, Calif.
The Gary resident recently returned from the month-long camp and was thrilled to work with Allen, famous for her dancing, choreography and acting, including the TV series "Fame". Allen’s students have gone on to perform on Broadway and in movies and television.
“Debbie Allen is special to me because after all she has done in her career, she still takes the time out to give students like myself a chance to learn from her,” Gaines said.
“I want to become the very best triple threat in the world. That includes dancing, acting and singing. I just want to be the greatest entertainer the world has ever seen.”
Gaines studied six forms of dance at the academy, including ballet and hip hop, with 124 other dancers from across the globe.
Students also attended lecture classes on the history of entertainment in the U.S., and were required to perform in a final recital.
“The recital was my way, I hope, of saying 'thank you' to Mrs. Allen for all she had done for her students. It felt awesome to see how much joy watching us on stage made her feel.”
“It was magical. For me she is one of the greatest entertainers to ever be on stage and to learn from her was one of the best moments of my life,” Gaines added.
The daughter of Alan and Carla Gaines, Gaines is a fifth-grader at Banneker Achievement Center in Gary and trains at DancExcel Champion Center of Performing Arts in Gary.
“I enjoy the freedom that dance gives me. I also enjoy expressing myself through movement. It is something so amazing to be able to tell a story without speaking,” she said.