Dancer Tribute 12/5/11: Damita Jo Freeman (Soul Train Dancer)

Dancer Tribute 12/5/11: Damita Jo Freeman (Soul Train Dancer)
Think back!  What inspired you to dance?  I begged my mom to take dance lessons, so at age 5 I began ballet, tap, jazz & acrobatics at Smith Sisters Dance Studio and Caruthers Dance Studio.  As a pre-teen and teen, I was of course amazed with the Jackson 5 and to emulate them, my family formed a singing group, The Puzzle People, consisting of me, my brother Ben, sister Gina and cousins Jeff & Nicky.  I was the choreographer and costume designer for our group.  My brother was in charge of vocal arrangements.  Still in teen mode, I would of course watch Soul Train since it’s debut and series finale.  My favorite dancer on Soul Train was Damita Jo Freeman.  She was a show off, crowd pleaser and show stopper.  You can think of dance in terms of taking dance lessons like ballet that you will never use as a professional dancer, to doing street dances like on Soul Train that my vocal group could use in our performances.  The first dance that I ever choreographed was when I was 16 and in a Miss Teen Pageant, I choreographed a modern dance.  As a kid and teenager, however, I used to emulate the dancers on Soul Train and in The Jackson 5 and The Sylvers.  My dad was a photographer for a local newspaper, so I got a chance to meet the Sylvers in person (I won’t embarrass myself and show those pics).  And I confess that one year I played hooky from school and caught a bus downtown and saw the Jackson 5 when they were coming out of their hotel.  I was frozen and could not move.  I was too scared to go over and meet them.  I digress.  Please check out Damita Jo, she was working it back in the 1970s back on Soul Train.  Love the clip of her dancing with James Brown, the King of Soul on Super Bad.  Damita, you got the soul and you are super bad!  Later on she is dancing with Joe Tex I Gotcha.  With all due respect to Liza Minnelli and Bob Fosse, Damita Jo is tearing down the dance floor!  It looks free style, but it is 100% more soul and funk compared to their version of the same song.


137 comments on “Dancer Tribute 12/5/11: Damita Jo Freeman (Soul Train Dancer)

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