Chuck Davis

Dr. Charles "Chuck" Davis is Founder and Artistic Directorof the African American Dance Ensemble and the New York based DanceAfrica. A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Davis attended Howard University and majored in Theater/Dance. Continuing his study in African dance under the guidance of Babatunde Olatunji, Eleo Pomare, and the Bernice Johnson Dance Company, his growing reputation was as one of the foremost teachers and accomplished choreographers in the traditional techniques of African dance. In 1982, the American Dance Festival of Durham, NC, recruited Davis as an Artist-in-Residence, to organize and manage its outreach program. From this effort sprung the African American Dance Ensemble in 1984.

Chuck Davis is a recipient of the NY Bessie Award and the very prestigious Brooklyn Academy of Music Award for distinguished service. In December of 1998, he received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Medgar Evers College of NY; and another in 2005 from Williams College, Williamstown, MA. He’s served as panelist for several programs of the National Endowment of the Arts. Appointed by the Governor to serve on the Board of the North Carolina Arts Council in 1991, Davis chairs the grant panel for Dance. He is the recipient of the AARP’s National Certificate of Excellence, the North Carolina Dance Alliance Award (2002), the North Carolina Artist Award (1990), and the North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine. In 1992 Davis received the North Carolina Award in Fine Arts - the highest honor bestowed in the arts.

Dr. Davis’ numerous awards include: the Triangle Community Foundation Kathryn H. Wallace Award for Artists In Community Service (2000); the Dance Heritage Coalition recognition as one of 100 Irreplaceable Dance Treasures in the United States (2000); the Dance for the Planet award (1998 and 2001); the Durham Human Relations Commission’s Advocacy Award - especially on behalf of People with Developmental Disabilities (2002); the Artist of the Year award by Dance USA; the 2002 National Governors’ Association Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts; a citation from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus; and many more.

The City of Durham declared August 5, 2002 as Chuck Davis Day in recognition of his accomplishments and contributions to the arts; and again on January 1, 2007 in honor of Davis’ 70th birthday. He was honored with a prestigious Dance Magazine Award (2004); bestowed the Balasaraswati Joy Ann Dewey Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching by the American Dance Festival (2006); and presented the Spirit of Hayti Trail Blazer Award (2004). Dr. Davis was also honored when his biographical profile was chronicled in The North Carolina Century: “Tar Heels Who Made a Difference 1900-2000”; and again as a choreographer and consultant interviewed for “Free to Dance,” a PBS production on the history of African American Dance since the 20th century (2004). Dr. Charles “Chuck” Davis is recognizably a national treasure and cultural icon.

Dr. Davis keeps a full schedule including appearances with the Ensemble, guest artist directorships, choreographer assignments, and research and travel excursions to Africa and international points. As founder and facilitator of the Cultural Arts Safari, Davis makes an annual pilgrimage to the continent of Africa, to which he invites uninitiated and veteran travelers alike to join his party each year.

Living Legacy | February 6 – 12, 2005

Living Legacy Documentary

MANCC provided a video-editing residency in support of a documentary that seeks to capture the choreographic legacy of Dr. Charles “Chuck” Davis, well-known African American choreographer, teacher and community builder.  While in residence, MANCC edited the promotional video for the documentary to aide in fundraising efforts for the final product, which will yield a two-hour video documentary, accompanying DVD and website telling the story of this legendary choreographer and his impact on communities and dance the United States and abroad.

Collaborators in Residence: Sandra Burton, Don quinn Kelley [filmmaker], Stacy Kim [editor], and Jonathon Secor [producer]

Featured Artist

Faye Driscoll

February 22 - 24
Carolina Performing
Arts, UNC Chapel Hill


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