You are such a pro at that!

She chose Joe and me as the winners. I heard her recording of "If You Go Away" in 1966, and it knocked my socks off. 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. 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.

How did that come about? So after Don interviewed him and went down the steps, I went up on stage and I danced! What other ways were you able to get the dancers better conditions on the show? Damita: I am originally from Palestine, Texas, then I moved to St. Louis and then moved to Los Angeles when I was six. His future bride-to-be, Diana, was also there. After my dance performance, all the celebrities stood in line to meet the Queen and she told me that she liked the way I dance. I know, Card Cheat! Was dancing and being in the entertainment industry something you always wanted to do from when you were a child? So is this when you first went to Soul Train? Damita: Right. Diana Ross also wanted you and several other Soul Train dancers to be a part of her Las Vegas act in 1974. Grand Prairie, TX I still remember he was so grateful that I acknowledged him in a book about American Bandstand.

So Michael and I just started telling each other all kinds of jokes. The dancers would usually be at the studio before the crew.

I danced with Joe Tex two other times on Soul Train. It was incredible. It was so funny! 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. You have been friends with Michael Jackson and the Jackson family for many years. On Friday night, my girlfriends and I went to a club called the Climax. 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. 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. Years ago, I watched a Marcel Marceau special on PBS and he was doing this mime routine called “Walking Against the Wind” in which imaginary wind would be pushing him and he appeared to be walking forward and backward at the same time. We saw each other from a distance and we started doing locking moves and played “invisible” guitars before going separate ways. What would you say to them? Damita: When he came to the show, he asked me quietly if I wanted to dance with him on stage.

in Neo-Griot, PUB: Call for Submissions: sx salon—a small axe literary platform, PUB: The Magic Oxygen Literary Competition. That Friday, a Soul Train line was being done at Dinker Park and we saw Tommy Kuhn (Soul Train’s executive in charge of production) dressed like Superfly and Don Cornelius dressed like Shaft! We would have lunch at 12:00 with a box of chicken and only one Coke!

I choreographed The Spinners as well as Shalamar when they had their first hit “Uptown Festival.”. Only one Coke and one drink of water all day long and you couldn’t use the phone? The guys were dancing but the girls were just cool. Your popularity on Soul Train opened up a lot of doors for you in other arenas of show business. One of your greatest honors, and there were so many, had to have been choreographing the 1984 Olympics Closing Ceremonies. I remember I was at Lionel Richie’s house and Michael Jackson came over. Damita:  I even told Tommy Kuhn about this and that we also had no Kleenex tissues to wipe our heads since we would be sweating after all the dancing we would do, which they eventually took care of. Besides James Brown and Joe Tex, what are some of your other favorite memories of artists that came to Soul Train? You worked with and choreographed so many people. More recently, you did choreography for the 36th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, which must have been an honor. Sooo fun to watch! Just trying to be the best i can be. « Older Journal of Irreproducible Results   |   There's danger in everything Newer », This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments. 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. We couldn’t even use the phone in the studio. Damita: I was so proud of him! That was my first time at a club. I love ballet! 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. We even had lunch with them. After we left the club, we went to Fat Burgers. Her rubbery, flexible movements and trademark leg kick were visual treats to watch every Saturday. Damita Freeman is on Facebook. How did that come about? I showed it to him and then I told him I learned the move from watching Marcel Marceau. I not only did choreography for the show, but I also did some of the lighting and directed episodes, but I only got a credit as choreographer.

I applaud you for fighting to get the dancers better treatment on the show. There was a lady running around the club named Pam Brown and she saw me and Don dance that night. Damita Jo Freeman is awesome.In more ways than one. Damita: I auditioned as a dancer for her stage show. Eventually, Joe and I won the finals and we won a trip to Hawaii. I was able to go to Las Vegas, New York City, Europe and Madrid. Incredible! Damita: It was so much fun working with him. Michael always stated that he was not a creator of that dance step. How did the classic dance performance of you with Joe Tex on his hit “I Gotcha” come about? He referred to me as “the girl with the leg control.” (laughs) We won the second contest, too. You also created a lot dances. (laughs). You really fought to get the dancers better conditions and treatment in Soul Train’s early days. Although the producers gave me no credit, I choreographed the entire closing ceremonies that year. A typical weblog is one person posting their thoughts on the unique things they find on the web. 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. Her show went around the world. It was a lot of fun working with Clifton and the cast. The interview is full of amazing anecdotes. Damita: It’s wonderful.

We would perform on Saturdays and Sundays and were in class all day during the week. I met President Carter and went to the White House. Damita: I had done some plays at The Music Center and someone called me about this play. Damita: The bathrooms at the studio were the dancers’ dressing rooms. Damita Jo DeBlanc (August 5, 1930 – December 25, 1998), known professionally as Damita Jo, was an American actress, comedian, and lounge music performer. We opened the doors. Damita: It was a wonderful opportunity and it opened many doors for me. Join 6,441 readers in helping fund MetaFilter. I was the only black person in the class. But after that episode aired, the show’s ratings went up. Damita: Yes. We were just watching them from a distance. Basic HTML is allowed. He opened doors that gave me an opportunity to slip through and help to make dreams happen. This was on a Wednesday night. What would you like to say in their memories? When did your journey with dancing begin? I saw her performance on public TV here in Chicago and her enthusiasm is just infectious. My next question is something a lot of people want to know. Damita: Yes. Fantastic moonwalking story. Even Don himself said on a 1982 Soul Train tribute to Joe Tex that your performance with Joe helped Soul Train to become popular. 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. So my girlfriends pushed me to go out on the floor to dance.

How are you able to do that? Then I pulled my girlfriends on the floor and we all started locking. Tell us about your experience with being a dancer on American Bandstand. This was one of the nights they were writing the “We Are the World” song. I also was in a production of The Nutcracker.

But my mother told me there were other ways to get on television. I had to cry on cue. Damita Jo Freeman is arguably the most creative dancer in Soul Train history. Damita: Smokey Robinson, The Dramatics, The Jackson 5 and The Whispers are some of them. You and Pat Davis helped paved the way for girls who lock and do other street dances. Joanna Kerns, who later played on the show Growing Pains, and Katey Segal from Married With Children were also in the play. © Copyright 2013 | We bowed and curtseyed before Prince Charles. You had a major role in the 1980 movie Private Benjamin. So I chose Eddie Cole, Little Joe Chism and Pat Davis to perform with Diana Ross. We only had one Coke and one drink of water. We saw Patricia Davis there, who was already a dancer on the show. I saw two big garbage cans filled with sodas in Don Cornelius’ office at the studio. Biography. So after that, Michael began studying and watching Marcel Marceau. One of your trademark moves is when you kick your leg straight up. I was taken away by what I saw. I got some of the other dancers–Perry Brown, Little Joe Chism and Scoo B Doo–to bring the two garbage cans right out on to the dance floor during the middle of a dance number and I yelled, “Break!” (laughs). I talked to Bobby Kennedy’s wife and Red Skelton, who was another guest, even made a drawing of me.

I worked hard at putting my leg way up. Damita: Right now I am currently writing and working on children’s books.