The odds were stacked against Fredrick Davis from the start.
When he moved to Chattanooga at the age of 4 with his mother, Davis was immersed in a world of poverty, despair, hunger and homelessness. But his life changed when he was introduced to the city's Dance Alive program at age 11.
The program, a partnership with the Chattanooga Department of Youth and Family Development and Ballet Tennessee, seeks to "promote life tools to prepare young people for adulthood with critical and creative thinking skills, commitment and follow-through for their responsibilities, leadership initiative, and a passion to excel."
This life-changing moment—and the success that followed—is featured in a new one-hour documentary from WTCI called "From the Streets to the Stage: The Journey of Fredrick Davis." WTCI, the city's Office of Multicultural Affairs and YFD will present a free screening of the film Sept. 21 at 5 p.m. at the Tivoli Theatre.
Tickets are still available. Registration is required. Click here for more information.
The film follows Davis' journey from the streets of Chattanooga to the stages of New York City and beyond. Now, at 29, Davis returns every year from his busy life to serve as a guest instructor for the Dance Alive program.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger will offer a joint city and county proclamation for Davis at the event. In addition to the screening, guests will see a live performance from current Dance Alive students of a scene from "The Lion King." Locally based composer Tim Hinck provided the score for the film.
The broadcast premiere of the film will be screened on WTCI Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. Encore presentations will be Sept. 26 at 4 p.m., Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 28 at 11 p.m.
Davis said he hasn't seen the film yet, but he hopes the film inspires others to reach for their dreams despite limitations.
"It's not just for myself," Davis said. "I really want the film to give Chattanooga dancers a chance to go beyond and do great things, to spin some talent out of Chattanooga. I'm working with all these A-list dancers, and why can't they be from Chattanooga? Why can't we have artists succeed? I think this documentary is a great thing for me, but I want it to give people in Chattanooga hope."
After the screening, Davis will return to a busy schedule of dance. He'll be working with Dissonance Dance Theatre in Washington, D.C., and with the New Hampshire Dance Theater for their performance of "The Nutcracker." He also plans to teach dance at Beyond Dance in Brooklyn.
The film was made possible by the support of Blood Assurance, EPB, First Tennessee Foundation, George R. Johnson Family Foundation, Friends of Fredrick, Hunt-Mingus Fund and Lyndhurst Foundation.
Updated @ 11:02 a.m. on 9/21/15.