A typical weblog is one person posting their thoughts on the unique things they find on the web. I told my mom about this when I got home and she called the cops and a cop came to the set the next day and explained to Don Cornelius that since most of the dancers were minors, we had to be able to use the phone to call our parents to notify them what time we would be home. As one of the more successful of many Soul Train Dancers, Damita Jo was instrumental in standing up for better working conditions for the dancers.
Soultrain.com: What was it like working with Goldie Hawn in the movie? She is known for her work on Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988), Private Benjamin (1980) and Bad Dreams (1988). We would perform on Saturdays and Sundays and were in class all day during the week. Soutrain.com: The late Joe Chism of the Soul Train Gang was a very dear friend of yours who you helped get on Soul Train. I showed it to him and then I told him I learned the move from watching Marcel Marceau. I also chose several of the dancers to perform during a Rolling Stones concert. After we left the club, we went to Fat Burgers. There was a lady running around the club named Pam Brown and she saw me and Don dance that night.
I acted, sang and danced in the play. I remember I was at Lionel Richie’s house and Michael Jackson came over. After the show, he came backstage and asked how I did that dance step. Damita: If you are a young kid today who wants to be a dancer, know all different types of dancing. Damita: I met with the casting director and at the audition.
They were interested in coming to the show and when we all went to the club The Climax, I announced if anyone wanted to come to the show to be at Dinker Park at 7AM. I did a three day audition. I had to call my mom to let her know that I would be getting home late because we had no idea when we were getting out of the studio, but me and the other dancers were told we were not allowed to use the phone. Where are you originally from? She has no bones! Damita: It was so much fun working with him. Soultrain.com: Your popularity on Soul Train opened up a lot of doors for you in other arenas of show business. No production personnel would be at the studio. Damita: Yes.
Soultrain.com: More recently, you did choreography for the 36th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, which must have been an honor. I don’t mind the girls looking like the guys in terms of wearing the caps and other gear, but they should maintain their femininity. I also was in a production of The Nutcracker. So I did and this is where I first met Don Campbell. Damita Jo with Jody Watley and friend. Publicity Listings Damita: Me and my girlfriends, Jackie and Linda, went to a club one Thursday night called Maverick’s Flat. This was her first time producing a film. What was that like? Loved it, thanks for the post. So Michael and I just started telling each other all kinds of jokes. Damita Jo Freeman is an American dancer and actress, who started her career on the TV show Soul Train. Sooo fun to watch! In 1973, you became a part of the Shakespeare play Two Gentlemen of Verona. Our show was like karaoke, but then American Idol came about and eventually Your Big Break came to an end. Damita: The bathrooms at the studio were the dancers’ dressing rooms. It was funny because she said, “I choose the girl in the green,” but Pat Davis, who was also in the contest, and I both wore green that day! We got to meet a lot of the artists. Soultrain.com: Legend has it that your journey with Soul Train began at the club Maverick’s Flat in Los Angeles. Soultrain.com: You also danced on stage with the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. I still remember he was so grateful that I acknowledged him in a book about American Bandstand. Soultrain.com: In 1973, you were part of a TV program called 90 Minutes. What was it like being on the set of Soul Train in those early years? I was on tour with him for three years. It just so happened that the room I was auditioning in was just painted and I was allergic to the paint, and I literally started crying. (laughs). Other Works Soultrain.com: You even had the privilege of choreographing certain acts that came to American Bandstand, right? Soultrain.com: What was it like being on the set of Soul Train in those early years? Damita Freeman is on Facebook.
Damita: I knew at 5 years old I wanted to be a dancer and to be on TV. You are such a pro at that! We even had lunch with them. On the night of the recording of “We Are the World” at A&M Studios, I was responsible for seeing that all of the artists signed the T-shirts that were sent to the people in Africa who were experiencing starvation and famine. Damita: When Don Campbell and I first went on it wasn’t that good because everywhere we danced, the other dancers complained we were in their space. And Mr. James Brown was enjoying the view too! I applaud you for fighting to get the dancers better treatment on the show. It was incredible. Soultrain.com: Was dancing and being in the entertainment industry something you always wanted to do from when you were a child? So after Don interviewed him and went down the steps, I went up on stage and I danced! Soultrain.com: Thank you so much for granting Soultrain.com this exclusive interview, Damita. The dancers would usually be at the studio before the crew. I can't believe I've never heard of her before. I remember during the second weekend I was on the show, all of the dancers had been dancing all day and were tired and thirsty. I went on tour with an opera show for a month and when I came back, my girlfriends, Don Campbell, and I and some other friends were back at Maverick’s Flat dancing and locking. Soultrain.com: You and Pat Davis helped paved the way for girls who lock and do other street dances. I met President Carter and went to the White House.
I remember after the taping I ran into my girlfriends at Roscoe’s and they asked me where I was and I told them I was dancing on this show called Soul Train. I was always trying to help the other dancers and open doors for them. Michael always stated that he was not a creator of that dance step. I also did choreography for an episode of Clifton’s TV show That’s My Mama. Dick Clark asked me what dancers I could recommend for the next season, and I recommended Tyrone Proctor and Sharon Hill. I miss him. I applaud them both. This was a step I did while I trained as a ballerina. Soultrain.com: Interesting. So when I choreographed and appeared in Cher’s show at Caesar’s Palace, I did the routine, which would later become a street dance called the Backslide. We all were one.
How did that come about? It was impromptu.
Little Joe Chism and I were partners. We were just watching them from a distance. MetaFilter is a weblog that anyone can contribute a link or a comment to. We bowed and curtseyed before Prince Charles.
So we danced in the back behind Thelma Houston, who was performing on the show that day. I loved being on TV! Her rubbery, flexible movements and trademark leg kick were visual treats to watch every Saturday. Soultrain.com: Since you were friends with Michael for many years, how did you feel when he became a megastar from Off the Wall onward? Soultrain.com: Tell me about your experience of working with Shirley MacLaine. « Older Journal of Irreproducible Results | There's danger in everything Newer », This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments. The guys were dancing but the girls were just cool. At age 17 I danced in a production of Shakespeare’s Candide. DeBlanc was born in Austin, Texas, United States.
I had to cry on cue. It was a six-week contest in which dancers representing different cities competed.
It later became known just as the Which Way. His future bride-to-be, Diana, was also there.
Damita: No. Soultrain.com: You had a major role in the 1980 movie Private Benjamin.
Damita Jo DeBlanc (August 5, 1930 – December 25, 1998), known professionally as Damita Jo, was an American actress, comedian, and lounge music performer. Damita: When he came to the show, he asked me quietly if I wanted to dance with him on stage. I was the only black person in the class. Soultrain.com: Damita, you are the woman! My next question is something a lot of people want to know. We would have lunch at 12:00 with a box of chicken and only one Coke! Damita: Yes.
Soultrain.com: Being a dancer on American Bandstand paid off in a lot of ways in that you were able to choreograph the American Music Awards for years.
Damita Jo Freeman was born on February 26, 1953 in Palestine, Texas, USA. I was all over the place! Damita Jo Freeman Wiki: Salary, Married, Wedding, Spouse, Family Damita Jo Freeman was born on February 26, 1953 in Palestine, Texas, USA. Damita: The bathrooms at the studio were the dancers’ dressing rooms. Damita: Yes. Damita: Smokey Robinson, The Dramatics, The Jackson 5 and The Whispers are some of them. A record played and at first I danced regularly but then I started locking like Don Campbell then Scoo B Doo jumped in and danced with us. Soultrain.com: You even had the honor of dancing for the Queen of Engand. Strive to stay in the business. Damita: It was fun. Soultrain.com: What an honor! Then I pulled my girlfriends on the floor and we all started locking. She said she liked our dancing and invited us to this new television dance show called Soul Train. We had nothing else to drink for the rest of the day! I was a part of Shirley MacLaine’s show for five years. Sometime later, Soul Train dancers Little Joe Chism, Perry Brown, Jimmy “Scoo B Doo” Foster, Pat Davis, Gary Keys, Alpha Omega Anderson and I opened for James at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Her show went around the world. But the dancers would be there so early, well before the call time. I talked to Bobby Kennedy’s wife and Red Skelton, who was another guest, even made a drawing of me. Her style of dancing caught the eye of many in the entertainment industry and helped her to get work in specials, theater and commercials in addition to doing choreography for major events. Damita: Yes! I choreographed The Spinners as well as Shalamar when they had their first hit “Uptown Festival.”. At one point.
This was on a Wednesday night. Soultrain.com: You have been friends with Michael Jackson and the Jackson family for many years.
None of my dancing was choreographed.
I just knew this would be my last time on Soul Train. You were one of the first people, if not the first, to teach Michael Jackson the Moonwalk, or as it was originally called, the Backslide. During the early 70s, everything we did was street dancing. I danced with Joe Tex two other times on Soul Train. Although the producers gave me no credit, I choreographed the entire closing ceremonies that year. Soultrain.com: One of your greatest honors, and there were so many, had to have been choreographing the 1984 Olympics Closing Ceremonies. Other people taught him the move also. We went down the Soul Train line and we were invited to come to Metromedia Studios to become Soul Train dancers.
You even had the chance to choreograph Lionel Richie’s Can’t Slow Down tour. This website exists to break down the barriers between people, to extend a weblog beyond just one person, and to foster discussion among its members. What would you say to them? I even did stand-ins for Lola Falana and Diana Ross during rehearsals for the show. So my girlfriends pushed me to go out on the floor to dance. Damita: I became a part of the show due to Dick Clark, who produced the show. Damita: Yes. This will only help you further with what you do.
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