NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is visiting Hampton Roads for a weeklong residency with the Virginia Arts Festival.

“This is our busiest time of the year,” said Alli Pereira, Virginia Arts Festival director of public relations. “We are thrilled to have a company that is of the caliber of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater be a part of our season this year,”

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is in town all week performing two shows for students in the Peninsula and the Southside.

On Wednesday, the company performed in front of more than 1,000 students from Newport News, Isle of Wight County and surrounding areas.

“Being able to watch someone else perform and get the inspiration from seeing other people on stage and enjoying their passion is something that I enjoy,” said Jordan Hill, a Newport News Public Schools high school student.

Bridget Adams, with Newport News Public Schools, said the show is especially great for her girls empowerment groups, Bloom, Blossom and Flourish.

“We always want them to see the background, not just the performing arts but see the background, like what goes into putting something amazing like this together to give them something else to think about with regards to career exploration,” Adams said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for them to see themselves in the future.”

Dancers also explained stage production and lighting.

“It was an absolute dream of mine to be here,” said Khalia Campbell, a dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. “When they see, specifically an African American woman on stage, I think it gives them hope that they too can aspire and actually get to be where I’m at right now. It means the world to me that I can give that back to the little babies.”

This weekend, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will perform at Chrysler Hall at 7:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, then at 3 p.m. Sunday.