Alvin Ailey School - Clement Mensah

My name is Clement Mensah. I attended The Amsterdam University of the Arts (AHK) in September 2004 at the department Jazz and Musical Dance. This is a 4 years program. In the final year we have to do an internship that prepares us for the professional dance world and for me this brought me to the Alvin Ailey School in New York,  in America.

The reason for choosing this particular place was when I first saw the Company Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre perform one of Alvin Ailey´s world known ballet `REVALTIONS´ in spring 2005. This was on a DVD. From that moment on I wanted to come to the school and experience it myself and get a little bit of this training to finish my school before I would start my professional dance carrier.

So I’ve been working hard ever since and luckily the AHK has an exchange program with the Ailey School. Every year they allow 2 chosen students to come for a semester. I started gathering information about what I had to do to be one of the chosen students. In my third year I knew there was a summer program before the semester that I’ll be going so I filed for the summer and I got in so that meant also no break for me what so ever in 2007 because I flew to New York the very next day after our last day of performance for my placement classes for the summer program.

Being at the Alvin Ailey School has taught me a lot. I’ve become a more mature dancer than I was before. I learned that as a dancer you’ll have to be on point every single day and every single class to better yourself.

I personally think that it is one of the best combinations for a dancer, to start your school here and get this opportunity to prepare yourself for the professional world because The Ailey School is an enormous competitive school with students from all around the world who are just there for one reason: Dance!

You have the best trained teachers who are there for only one reason: to make you a better dancer. So this is a win-win situation if you play your cards right.
I think the different between AHK and The Alvin Ailey School will be the huge classes they have to offer and the teachers it comes with. Every dancer has his or her own choice of the direction they want to grow in. Also being in New York is a great experience as a person as well as a dancer. The dance community in New York is huge and people really appreciate you as a dancer and you get the recognition of what you do and love. People respect you as dancer, and as well as a person.