"From the Streets to the Stage: The Journey of Fredrick Davis" re-aired July 2017.
From the Streets to the Stage: The Journey of Fredrick Davis
An exploration of the power of the arts through the life of ballet dancer Fredrick Davis.
About the Show
From the Streets to the Stage: The Journey of Fredrick Davis is the story of a ballet dancer who overcame tremendous odds to achieve his dreams of dancing on stages around the world. Through intimate conversations with Fredrick Davis, as well as with the teachers, family and friends who helped shape his career, the film chronicles Fred’s journey from his earliest and most difficult childhood memories to his busy life as a company member with the historic Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York. The film follows Fred from New York to New Jersey, North Carolina to Virginia, and finally to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he spent his childhood and discovered a life-changing love for dance.
Fredrick Davis was born in Brooklyn, but after his parents split, he moved to Chattanooga with his mother at the age of four. The separation and the move served as a turning point for Fred’s mother, who, after returning to her hometown of Chattanooga, struggled with addiction and had difficulty maintaining a stable home for her young son. Fred’s earliest memories are of a childhood spent homeless on the streets, learning to provide for himself, struggling in school and isolating himself from his peers to mask his tumultuous personal life. From an early age, he dreamed of returning to New York to reconnect with his father, and knew that only his own determination and hard work would get him there. “I didn’t know where my life was going,” Fred remembers. “I just knew that I wanted a way out, and how can I find it?”
Read more about the show below.
A Closer Look at From the Streets to the Stage: The Journey of Fredrick Davis
More About From the Streets to the Stage: The Journey of Fredrick Davis
Growing up with a mother who was frequently absent, Fred spent much of his time at a Chattanooga recreation center. It was there, in 1998, when Fred was 11 years old, that a recreation center leader suggested Fred audition for a new program that was being offered. Dance Alive is an initiative that was created by Ballet Tennessee in collaboration with Chattanooga’s Department of Parks and Recreation in order to reach inner city children through the city’s recreation centers and offer them an exposure to dance with the potential of scholarship assistance to continue their training. On a whim, Fred auditioned. That audition changed his life.
For Fred, dance became not only a passion but a safe space where he felt supported in his creativity and talent. “The moment I got in dance, life changed. It changed me so much. That person that came out when I started dancing, I kept it locked inside for so long. It felt like it was a new life. I could relax. I didn’t have to live in a car anymore or live in the street anymore,” he says. “There was this whole other home in the ballet world.” Archival footage from his earliest years in dance and present-day footage of his performances with Dance Theatre of Harlem help depict Fred’s evolution as an artist, and the focus and determination required to achieve on a professional level.
Fredrick Davis’ story is an inspiration, exemplifying both the powerful life-saving impact of the arts and a community’s drive to provide opportunity and support for its most vulnerable citizens.
For more information about the show, visit Streets to Stage Film.
From the Streets to the Stage: The Journey of Fredrick Davis was produced by WTCI.
Funding provided by