I talked to Bobby Kennedy’s wife and Red Skelton, who was another guest, even made a drawing of me. After we left the club, we went to Fat Burgers. Damita Jo Freeman Wiki: Salary, Married, Wedding, Spouse, Family Damita Jo Freeman was born on February 26, 1953 in Palestine, Texas, USA. This all happened during my first weekend at Soul Train. Soultrain.com: You had a major role in the 1980 movie Private Benjamin. I knew I just had to know who this person was. Damita: When he came to the show, he asked me quietly if I wanted to dance with him on stage. And Mr. James Brown was enjoying the view too! How did that come about? Although the producers gave me no credit, I choreographed the entire closing ceremonies that year. I was on tour with him for three years. I acted, sang and danced in the play. Soultrain.com: Looking back and seeing how dance has evolved, do you feel that you and the rest of the early Soul Train dancers were responsible for and laid the blueprint for the hip-hop, breakdance movement and phenomenon? I loved being on TV! Indeed, she was bestowed Soul Train’s “Best Creative Dancer Award” at the first Soul Train Gang reunion. “Did you see that girl dancing with Joe Tex?” “Who is that girl who kicks her leg way up?” “That girl was getting down with James Brown!” Damita Jo Freeman is arguably the most creative dancer in Soul Train history. I saw her performance on public TV here in Chicago and her enthusiasm is just infectious.
The interview is full of amazing anecdotes.
Damita: If you are a young kid today who wants to be a dancer, know all different types of dancing. Soultrain.com: Diana Ross also wanted you and several other Soul Train dancers to be a part of her Las Vegas act in 1974. Soultrain.com: You also created a lot dances. Her *first weekend* as a Soul Train dancer, and her mom called the cops on Don Cornelius! This was her first time producing a film. I heard her recording of "If You Go Away" in 1966, and it knocked my socks off. What was that like? 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. It was so funny!
I applaud you for fighting to get the dancers better treatment on the show. Soultrain.com: What was it like working with Goldie Hawn in the movie? I met President Carter and went to the White House. Other people then started mimicking how we were dancing.
Soultrain.com: Tell us about your experience with being a dancer on American Bandstand. I was always trying to help the other dancers and open doors for them. I also chose several of the dancers to perform during a Rolling Stones concert. Damita Freeman is on Facebook. Damita: I knew at 5 years old I wanted to be a dancer and to be on TV. Soultrain.com: Did you choreograph any of the Soul Train Music Awards specials? He referred to me as “the girl with the leg control.” (laughs) We won the second contest, too. Damita Jo Freeman was born on February 26, 1953 in Palestine, Texas, USA. Anthem Theme by The Theme Foundry, DANCE + INTERVIEW: The sensational and dynamic Damita Jo Freeman, http://soultrain.com/2012/08/20/diary-of-an-ex-soul-train-dancer-presents-the-one-and-only-damita-jo-freeman-part-1/. Soultrain.com: You really fought to get the dancers better conditions and treatment in Soul Train’s early days. She is known for her work on Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988), The Man with One Red Shoe (1985) and Private Benjamin (1980). I miss him. Little Joe Chism and I were partners. He opened doors that gave me an opportunity to slip through and help to make dreams happen. It later became known just as the Which Way. The first time I was on was for a dance contest. But my mother told me there were other ways to get on television. What was that like?
It was a six-week contest in which dancers representing different cities competed. Damita Jo Freeman is arguably the most creative dancer in Soul Train history. I applaud them both. Soultrain.com: You also reprised the role of your character in the TV version of Private Benjamin, right? Damita: The bathrooms at the studio were the dancers’ dressing rooms. Damita Jo Freeman was born on February 26, 1953 in Palestine, Texas, USA. This was a step I did while I trained as a ballerina. We got to meet a lot of the artists. Michael always stated that he was not a creator of that dance step. So I chose Eddie Cole, Little Joe Chism and Pat Davis to perform with Diana Ross.
I was able to go to Las Vegas, New York City, Europe and Madrid. I was a part of Shirley MacLaine’s show for five years. I was the only black person in the class. 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? Presenting Damita Jo Freeman! Soultrain.com: Legend has it that your journey with Soul Train began at the club Maverick’s Flat in Los Angeles.
I love ballet! Soultrain.com: After you did choreography for episodes of the programs Sister, Sister and Moesha you did some TV commercials and became a part of the TV show Your Big Break. Dick Clark gave me the tools once Don opened the door for me. How are you able to do that? I also performed in dance numbers during the awards ceremonies, like Lionel Richie’s performance of “All Night Long.” I did choreography for the American Music Awards until 1992 when Hammer came on the show with his own dancers, and then other artists would come to the awards with their entourage of dancers. Soultrain.com: You also met President Jimmy Carter, correct? 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. I know, Card Cheat! We only had one Coke and one drink of water. How did that come about? Damita: I am originally from Palestine, Texas, then I moved to St. Louis and then moved to Los Angeles when I was six. MetaFilter is a weblog that anyone can contribute a link or a comment to. Biography. Damita: Goldie Hawn was very sweet. Michael Jackson, who was a guest on one show, was a judge and selected Joe and me as the winners. During the early 70s, everything we did was street dancing. Other people taught him the move also. We couldn’t even use the phone in the studio. Damita: It was fun. 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.
Damita: I auditioned as a dancer for her stage show. DeBlanc was born in Austin, Texas, United States. 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.
What other ways were you able to get the dancers better conditions on the show?
Helen Reddy was a judge on that show. Imagine how much confidence you'd have to have in your dancing ability to accept an invitation to dance with James-fucking-Brown on national television. Dick Clark asked me what dancers I could recommend for the next season, and I recommended Tyrone Proctor and Sharon Hill. How does it feel that you helped Soul Train’s ratings go up and became one of the show’s most popular regulars? I remember Don Cornelius was looking at me angry the whole time I was dancing with Joe because he didn’t want the dancers to interact with the guest stars. I saw two big garbage cans filled with sodas in Don Cornelius’ office at the studio. My training as a ballerina gave me the foundation for dancing later on. Soultrain.com: Tell me about your experience of working with Shirley MacLaine. Clifton Davis, who was one of the stars of the play, told me that I had the job. 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. You are such a pro at that! Damita: Yes! His future bride-to-be, Diana, was also there. We taped three shows on Saturday and three shows on Sunday on an 11AM to 6PM schedule. I remember when we had to do training for the army scenes in which we had to go through all these obstacle courses. There was a lady running around the club named Pam Brown and she saw me and Don dance that night. We won a dance contest our first time on the show also. Damita: Yes. « Older Journal of Irreproducible Results | There's danger in everything Newer », This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments. Join 6,441 readers in helping fund MetaFilter. This was one of the nights they were writing the “We Are the World” song. Damita Jo with Jody Watley and friend. She chose Joe and me as the winners. I also did choreography for an episode of Clifton’s TV show That’s My Mama. | Damita: It was so much fun working with him. 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. Damita: He had asked me to dance with him before his performance so when the song (“I Gotcha”) started, he pulled me up on the stage and I danced. Michael happened to be in the audience for this show. How did that come about? Her rubbery, flexible movements and trademark leg kick were visual treats to watch every Saturday.
Then I pulled my girlfriends on the floor and we all started locking.
Stephen McMillian is a journalist, writer, actor, filmmaker, dancer, Soul Train historian and soul music historian, >via: http://soultrain.com/2012/08/20/diary-of-an-ex-soul-train-dancer-presents-the-one-and-only-damita-jo-freeman-part-1/, August 10th Facebook gives people the power to share and makes the world more open and connected. Sooo fun to watch! Official Sites, View agent, publicist, legal and company contact details on IMDbPro, Blacktresses: From Gabourey Sidibe to Diahann Carroll. So Michael and I just started telling each other all kinds of jokes. Damita: I had done some plays at The Music Center and someone called me about this play. I danced with Joe Tex two other times on Soul Train. Soultrain.com: One of your greatest honors, and there were so many, had to have been choreographing the 1984 Olympics Closing Ceremonies. She really had rhythm...or whatever the correct term for "it" is nowadays. One of my dances was the DJ Which Way, which I named after me. I see dancing as a way of enhancing each other, not overtaking each other. We only had one Coke and one drink of water. We bowed and curtseyed before Prince Charles. So we danced in the back behind Thelma Houston, who was performing on the show that day. Damita: Thank God I was a ballerina! She is known for her work on Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988), Private Benjamin (1980) and Bad Dreams (1988). She also helped get opportunities for other Soul Train dancers whenever she could and fought for better conditions for the dancers while she was on the show. So after Don interviewed him and went down the steps, I went up on stage and I danced! Soultrain.com: You and Pat Davis helped paved the way for girls who lock and do other street dances. My next question is something a lot of people want to know.
Soultrain.com: In 1973, you were part of a TV program called 90 Minutes. Soultrain.com: When did your journey with dancing begin? What would you say to them? Damita: Don opened up many doors. 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!
Other Works Fantastic moonwalking story. Damita: I was so proud of him! We saw Patricia Davis there, who was already a dancer on the show.
Soultrain.com: Interesting. Soultrain.com: Do you have a word of wisdom you want to share with the readers? It was an all star show with celebrities like Bob Hope, Shirley McClaine and even Kermit the Frog. I even did stand-ins for Lola Falana and Diana Ross during rehearsals for the show.
Damita: Yes. What would you like to say in their memories? Damita: Absolutely!
Jimmy Scoo B Doo Foster and I were trying to teach the host Cannonball Adderly how to do the Slow Motion dance step. Damita: It was a wonderful opportunity and it opened many doors for me.
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