By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Children from summer camps across the area got to experience culture on stage Monday at the Mann Center for Performing Arts. It’s part of the venue’s 20-year-old program to boost community exposure to art.

From classic ballet, to modern dance, to channeling one’s inner Beyoncé, 150 young dancers from the Rock School for Education took over the stage showing 6,000 people in attendance new ways to twirl.

“It’s not something like I get to experience on a day-to-day basis,” said, teen dancer Natalie Del’Amonte.

Her and her friends/fellow dancers Phoebe Fletcher and Roxanna Hamro watched the moves in awe.

“It’s cool that a lot of those kids are our age, and they are so good,” said Phoebe.

Roxanna added, “It’s so cool they got to perform in front of all these people.”

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CEO Catherine Cahill explains, “We have groups from churches and rec centers, and other community summer programs.”

She says the Mann buses kids in for performances as a community service.

img 7172 Mann Center For Performing Arts Center Is Helping Spark Imagination In Youth

Credit: Cherri Gregg

“The arts have been curtailed in schools over the decades, so for many this may be the first opportunity to see dance of this caliber,” she said.

Monday’s performance is just part one of a three-part concert series.

On August 1 they will get to see African dance, and on August 19 Super Soul Saturday.

This is when the Mann is transformed into an arts festival, and all of it is for free.

“Money is an issue so free events are a plus especially in the summer,” said Gloria Clayton who brings campers from Birds of a Feather in West Philadelphia every year.

She says knows they’ll never forget it.

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