Shannon Vickery interviews North Carolina native Chuck Davis in another edition of UNC-TV's unique Biographical Conversations first person documentary series, which premieres in July 2015.
He was born on New Year’s Day, in a segregated Raleigh neighborhood, in the midst of the Great Depression. But Charles Rudolph Davis saw beauty. Close to his parents and his neighbors, he understood, early on, the blessings that come with sharing. In the Navy he trained as a medical assistant, intent on using his caring gifts to nurse the sick. But then, another calling found Chuck Davis. In the clubs of Washington DC, the beating of drums and the rhythms of dance beckoned. And suddenly, everything changed. He learned the steps, and mastered the rhythms. Dance took him to New York City — a mecca for artists and musicians — and to Africa, where he studied the rites and rituals of many cultures, so much of which is told through dance. Davis brought some of that back to New York, where he started Dance Africa, a festival now in its fifth decade, as well as The Chuck Davis Company. Then Davis came full circle, moving his company back to North Carolina. In his home state, he found youth and talent — so much so that he created an entirely new company — the African American Dance Ensemble. Their performances are joyous festivals — with Davis as Griot, leading his company in an exuberant sharing. Named one of dance’s 100 most influential figures of the last century, Chuck Davis communicates his gifts with the entire world. But North Carolina is his home.
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