Iconic BAM Artists

Chuck Davis

Dr. Charles "Chuck" Davis, artistic director and founding elder of DanceAfrica, is one of the foremost teachers and choreographers of traditional African dance in America. He has traveled extensively to Africa to study with leading artists. Davis founded the Chuck Davis Dance Company in New York in 1968 and the African American Dance Ensemble in Durham, NC, in 1983. He has been a panelist for several programs of the National Endowment for the Arts and is a recipient of the AARP Certificate of Excellence, the North Carolina Dance Alliance Award, the 1990 North Carolina Artist Award, and the North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine. He has served on the board of the North Carolina Arts Council since 1991 and in 1992 he received the North Carolina Award in Fine Arts, the state's highest honor. In 1996, Davis and the African American Dance Ensemble were awarded a $100,000 grant from the National Dance Residency Program, a three-year initiative launched in 1994 by the New York Foundation for the Arts and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. In 1998 he received an honorary doctorate from Medgar Evers College; he has received honorary doctorates from several universities, all of which mean a great deal to him. Most recently, Chuck Davis and DanceAfrica were cited as one of "America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100" by the Dance Heritage Coalition.

DanceAfrica at BAM
About Our Programs

DanceAfrica is a vibrant annual celebration of African and African-American dance, music, and culture, featuring performances, master classes, a film series, a dance party, and the one-and-only DanceAfrica bazaar.

1977: The Origins of DanceAfrica
Starting from the basis of his own company, Chuck Davis has built a network of African and African-inspired dance ensembles from around the world, which perform at BAM and other venues across the US year after year.

How Many Dashikis Does Baba Chuck Davis Have
2012 was a big year for DanceAfrica, BAM's longest running series. It celebrated 35 years, and Baba Chuck Davis turned 75! Here, Davis answers a few questions, including one pertaining to being the perennial “best-dressed” at DanceAfrica.

Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble