Chuck Davis African-American Dance Ensemble
Celebrate African-American history in North Carolina with a performance by the Chuck Davis African-American Dance Ensemble. Emphasizing the positive qualities of human beings, this innovative troupe ends every show with the words “Peace, love, respect for everybody.”
Founded in 1968 in New York City with Chuck Davis as Artistic Director, the company has gradually established itself as one of the premiere African-American dance ensembles in the United States. Today, they are based in Durham, but perform throughout the United States and the world. Chuck Davis is something of an international ambassador of good will. You will see him at every performance of the African American Dance ensemble, very tall, joyous, dressed in beautiful robes. Inspired to work against negative portrayals of Africans in popular culture, his works started with the goal of showing a more positive image of African culture, and has become about celebrating African culture with a focus on interracial cooperation and cross-cultural understanding. For his efforts, Davis has won numerous awards and honors, among them a Bessie (the Oscar of dance), a Dance Magazine Award, the Brooklyn Academy of Music Award for distinguished service to the arts, and the North Carolina Dance Alliance Award.
Experiencing an African American Dance Ensemble piece is meant to be less about watching and more about participating. The performance starts with a traditional ritual honoring elders, nature and the spirit. When the sounds of traditional African drums begin and the dancing follows, children dance in the aisles and adults lose themselves in the experience, as well. Dressed in traditional African garb, the ensemble is made up of nine dancers and musicians. Its mission is to preserve and share the finest traditions of African and African American dance and music through research, education and entertainment.
Encouraging the audience to work together for positive change is the second goal of the Ensemble. The performances typically juxtapose the worst of the human condition with the best, celebrating life while pointing out its difficulties. With dramatic staging, exciting rhythms and masterful choreography, a performance by the African American Dance ensemble is at once the best of entertainment and the experience of enlightenment.
added: December 12, 2008
updated: December 22, 2008