African American Dance Ensemble

Dedicated to preserving and sharing the finest African and African American dance and musical traditions through research, education, and entertainment, Chuck Davis's Durham-based African American Dance Ensemble (AADE) has been performing for audiences around the North Carolina Piedmont region for nearly three decades. Operating under the motto, "Peace, love, respect for everybody," the AADE works to encourage cross-cultural understanding and artistic exchange through exciting, interactive public programs, educational workshops, and artist residencies.

In 1968, dancer Chuck Davis organized the Chuck Davis Dance Company in New York City, serving as Artistic Director for the fledgling troupe. Over time, the ensemble established itself as one of the nation's premier African American dance companies through a series of lauded performances that garnered invitations to participate in artist programs around the country. In 1980, Davis visited Durham at the behest of the American Dance Festival; shortly thereafter, he relocated to the Bull City, where he established a community outreach program under the auspices of the ADF. By 1983, it had become clear that this local group of performers--many of whom had begun dancing a scant three years before--were developing something truly special, and in 1984, the troupe, now calling itself the African American Dance Ensemble, gave its first full concert as an independent professional company.

In 1985 the AADE stepped into the limelight with the premier of Davis's "Saturday Night, Sunday Morning" and "Drought," both of which were commissioned by the American Dance Festival.

Since that time, the AADE has appeared at the Festival for the Eno, First Night Raleigh, the Bimbe Cultural Arts Festival, and the organization's own Kwanzaa Fest and Triangle Home performance events. Under Davis's continuing direction, the AADE has also engaged in a variety of arts-in-education outreach and training programs, including an artist residency entitled Finding the Dancing Ground: From Africa To America and Davis's "Dance Across the Curriculum" professional development workshop. In 2007, the AADE debuted BlueGrass / Brown Earth, a collaborative ballet featuring the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the Shady Grove Band, the Cane Creek Cloggers, and body percussionist Danny 'SlapJazz' Barber; the program traces the history of the banjo through dance and song.

The AADE is currently comprised of nine musicians and dancers under the leadership of Davis, an artist now listed among the Dance Heritage Coalition's 100 Irreplaceable American Dance Treasures. And while the troupe is well-known internationally, it remains steadfastly proud of its Durham roots.

Booking Agency: 
African American Dance Ensemble
Booking Contact: 
Dr. B. Angeloe Burch, Sr.
Booking Address: 
120 Morris Street
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