Dr. Charles R. Davis (Baba Chuck) Dancer for Peace

From DRT Artistic Director - Yesterday I was thinking about Baba Chuck being cared for by loved ones, wishing his soul a peaceful passing, and I had the sudden thought - "Oh, no, I never saw Baba Chuck dance!" 

Then I thought of how generously kind he always was to me, even when he was very ill and not quite sure who I was - making certain I felt his wide welcome - and I thought, well, yes, maybe I did see Baba Chuck dance – 

Then I pictured DRT’s young adult board member, Taylor Dorsey Flowers, and the sons and daughters of DRT’s music director, Joy Harroll Goff, performing with Collage Dance Company, the African Dance group for children and youth, born from Baba Chuck’s work. I see still their broad joy at drumming and dancing, their exuberant strength and skill, their generosity in performance – and I think, yes, I did see Baba Chuck dance -

And though I plan to go to a website somewhere and watch a video of Baba Chuck dancing - I'm already certain what I will see again is his wide generosity in skillful, creative, living motion. 

Warmly, Jenny Justice

Today we learned the sad news of Baba Chuck Davis’s passing. Dr. Charles R. Davis (Baba Chuck) lead the internationally recognized, Durham rooted, African American Dance Ensemble for more than 30 years. His leadership, his unquenchable spirit, his creative passion and skill changed everyone around him. We will miss our “Dancer for Peace.”

Find out more about Baba Chuck's amazing life and work at these sites:




When Great Trees Fall
by Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignoranceof
dark, cold

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

― Maya Angelou

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