By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

As I mentioned in my previous GDW EVENT ALERT, it is fitting and proper that we honor our ancestors - and Chuck Davis - BABA CHUCK as we affectionately called him  - has now become an Ancestor/Angel - 

Then Honorable Laurie Cumbo will hold a tribute in his honor Sunday, May 28, 2017 at BAM's Howard Gilman Opera House  commencing at 7:30 PM.  

See details below

Stay Blessed & 

Ago!  Ame!  Ache!

Dear Neighbor,

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of DanceAfrica, the nation's largest festival of African dance. In the midst of this joyous occasion, it will also be the first one held after the passing of our beloved Baba Chuck - the artistic visionary, dancer, and choreographer who founded this annual celebration and tradition.
As a Member of the New York City Council Committee on Cultural Affairs and proud representative of Brooklyn's Cultural District, I invite you to join us for a community tribute on Sunday, May 28 beginning at 7:30PM in the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House located within the Peter Jay Sharp Building located at 30 Lafayette Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217. Please note, a limited amount of tickets will be available on a first-come, first seated basis. The celebration will also be live streamed at BAM.org/video.
Let us continue to celebrate the life and legacy of Baba Chuck by carrying forth the art, history and culture of the African Diaspora throughout the Borough of Brooklyn and City of New York. 
Yours in Partnership,
Laurie A. Cumbo
Biography of Baba Chuck Davis
Photo Credit: BAM
Charles Rudolph Davis was born in Raleigh N.C. to the late Tony Davis and the former Annie Dasher, on January 1, 1937. He received his formative education at Ligon in Raleigh, NC. He attended classes at Howard University where he became the protégé of Dr. Owen Dodson, Director of the Howard Players and Dr. Mary Rose Allen, the Director of The Dance Department. 
Chuck choreographed several productions while at Howard and appeared as actor in many others. On the night of "Rev. Dr. M.L.K., Jr.'s famous March On Washington", Chuck and his Dalemo Trio were spotted by Dr. Michael Babatunde Olatunji, during their performance at the Crow's Toe on tenth street, N.W. They were immediately invited to join his international touring dance company and only Chuck accepted the offer. Moving to New York he quickly began studies with Katherine Dunham; Syvilla Forte, Lorna Mafata; Peggy Kirkpatrick, Ned Williams, Bernice Johnson, Eleo Pomare, Thelma Hill and Emile Faustin. Performing at The 1964-65 World's fair in New York gave Chuck the opportunity to study and learn from dancers and musicians from Mali; Sierra Leone; Nigeria; Senegal; Burundi; Rwanda; South Africa; Egypt; Upper Volta; Ghana and Ivory Coast to name a few.
He was the founder and Artistic Director of The Chuck Davis Dance Company (New York, 1967-1982); DanceAfrica America (1977-present) The Cultural Arts Safari (1980-2015); The African American Dance Ensemble (1983-2017).  Davis was the Artistic Director and founder of the New York based DanceAfrica, which now boasts DanceAfrica's in Atlanta, Ga., Denver, Co., Columbus, Oh., Washington, DC, Dallas, Texas and Houston, Texas. 

Baba Chuck Davis in 1977, the first year of DanceAfrica (Photo Credit: BAM)
Weary of the negative image accompanying anything African, Chuck decided to form The Chuck Davis Dance Company while teaching dance to "at risk" youth enrolled in The South Bronx Community ACTION Theater. This venue allowed Chuck to alleviate any stereotypes associated with the dance. The company quickly gained international acclaim and after many very successful tours, was invited to  be in residency and teach at the very prestigious American Dance Festival, New London, Connecticut. He also found time to continue mentoring youth from The Bronx and from The Minisink Townhouse in Harlem. His classes at PS 117 , also in Harlem, were often observed by Brother Malcolm X and later by Brother Louis Farrakhan.
His growing reputation as one of the foremost and accomplished choreographers and teachers in the traditional techniques of African dance styles compelled The American Dance Festival, now in Durham, North Carolina, to recruit him for the position of Artist In Residence and to head up its community outreach program. His desire to reach the young people of Durham who shared his enthusiasm and discipline for dance was the fountainhead from which sprung The African American Dance Ensemble comprised of several students from Ma Pinckney's class at the North Carolina Cental University (NCCU).  He has nurtured and led the Ensemble on a course to become one of the truly premier dance companies of any kind touring the world today. He kept a full schedule including appearances with The Ensemble, guest artist directorships, choreographic assignments, and research and travel excursions to Africa and other international points. As a member of The ADF's International Arts in Education Team, Dr. Davis has traveled and taught on five of the seven continents. In 1977 the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, invited The Chuck Davis Dance Company to perform during its International Dance Series. At this time DanceAfrica America was created to celebrate traditional dance styles from Africa as preserved on these shores. DanceAfrica, today, still directed by Dr. Davis, is celebrated in Brooklyn, New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Illinois; and Dallas, Texas. It has also been presented in Red Bank, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pa; Hartford, Connecticut; Minneapolis, Minnesota and Los Angeles, California. 

Baba Chuck Davis at DanceAfrica 2006 (Photo Credit: BAM)
He has been a panelist for several programs of The NEA and is the recipient of the AARP Certificate of Excellence, the North Carolina Dance Alliance Award, North Carolina Artist Award 1990, and the North Carolina Order of The Long Leaf Pine. Since 1991 he has served as a Governor appointed member of The Board for The North Carolina Arts Council where, for over ten years, he chaired the Dance Panel. In 1992 he was the recipient of The North Carolina Award in Fine Arts for his impressive and unique contribution to African American Culture; this is the highest honor the state can bestow in the Arts. Dr. Davis is a double recipient of The New York Bessie Award and the very prestigious Brooklyn Academy of Music Award for distinguished service to the Arts world and beyond. In December of 1998 he received the Kathryn H. Wallace Award for Artists in The Community Service through the Triangle Community Foundation. He has received the Dallas, Texas, Dance for The Planet Award in 1998 and 2001. This is unprecedented and a huge honor from his peers. In 2000 Dr. Davis was recognized by The Dance Heritage Coalition as one of the First 100 Irreplaceable Dance Treasures in The United States. In February, 2002, Dr.  Davis was presented The Advocacy Award in recognition of dedication and commitment to civil rights advocacy, especially on behalf of people with Developmental Disabilities, by the Durham Human Relations Commission. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus awarded Dr. Davis with a citation for his years of distinguished service, loyalty and commitment to the arts as well as lauding him as a foremost, distinguished and accomplished choreographer and teacher in the traditional techniques of African Dance. Dr. Davis has been selected artists of the Year by DanceUSA. He has also received the 2002 National Governor's Association Award for Distinguished Service to the arts for artistic production recognizing outstanding service to the ARTS, focusing on contributions that improve the quality of life and bring distinction to the state or a community. The award was presented July 21, 2002, in Boise, Idaho.  The city of Durham, N.C., declared August 5, 2002, as Chuck Davis Day in recognition of his accomplishments and contributions to the arts. The NC Dance alliance has chosen Dr. Davis as the recipient of their 2002  Award in recognition of his years of dedication to the advancement of Dance in North Carolina, the nation and the world. March 20, 2003, Dr. Davis was presented the Spirit Of Hayti Trailblazer Award in recognition of his major contribution to the betterment of the Hayti Community, close ties to the community and excellence in his field. April 26, 2004, Dr.  Davis was honored with a prestigious Dance Magazine Award. This international honor was bestowed upon him for his major and lasting contribution to the Art of dance. Dr. Davis was also honored  when his biographical profile was chronicled in The North Carolina Century, Tar Heels Who Made A Difference 1900-2000. The North Carolina profile is a comprehensive look at the people whose life's work shaped the state during the most dynamic period since colonial times, published by Levine Museum of the New South. June 2, 2006, Dr. Davis received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Williams College, Williamstown, Mass., where he delivered the Commencement address. He was also bestowed with The Balasaraswati Joy Ann Dewey Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching by the American Dance Festival of Durham, North Carolina, June 17, 2006. December 21, 2007. In 2007, Dr. Davis was chosen to receive the international Capezio Award. In December, 2008, Dr. was presented with the distinguished Medal of Arts award during ceremony in The Progress Center, Raleigh, North Carolina.
He was profiled in Bright Leaves, Celebrating The Arts in Durham, North Carolina. He has directed The annual Kwanzaafest Celebration in Durham, North Carolina for over 30 years and has mentored and choreographed for the Ndere Dance Troupe, Kampala, Uganda and for the Resurrection Dance Theater, Port O Prince, Haiti. He is also the only Amkerican asked to choreograph for the Cutumba Folkloric Dance Company, Santiago, Cuba.
Dr. Davis was a member of the distinguished faculty, Theatre Department, NCCU, under the direction of Dr. Alston. He was also guest lecturer Dance Department,  Duke University and Dance Department, University of Mass., Amherst. 
Dr. Davis has received the Legends award from Kankuran in Washington D.C.; He also received the Dance Community Educator of the Year Award; this award was in recognition of his hard work, passion for promoting dance, dance education, and his numerous contributions to Dance Education in North Carolina.

Baba Chuck is will always be known as "A Dancer for Peace."
Baba Chuck Davis at DanceAfrica 2002
Photo Credit: BAM
Baba Chuck Davis Memorial Celebration

Sunday, May 28 at 7:30PM
30 Lafayette Avenue Brooklyn, NY
A limited amount of tickets will be available on a first-come, first-seated basis, at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, starting at 7pm. The celebration will also be live streamed at BAM.org/video.
New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, 55 Hanson Place, Suite 778, Brooklyn, NY 11217

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