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Chuck Davis

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Chuck Davis (Robert Willett / The News & Observer via AP)
Chuck Davis, a master choreographer who founded the African American Dance Ensemble, has died at the age of 80, according to multiple news sources.

Dr. B. Angeloe Burch Sr., executive director of the African American Dance Ensemble, told The Associated Press that Davis died Sunday at his home in Durham, North Carolina. He said Davis had been diagnosed with cancer about two years ago and had been treated. The cause of death wasn't known.

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Davis was highly regarded as a choreographer of traditional African dance. He was known as Baba Chuck. During the 1960s, he started the Chuck Davis Dance Company in New York City. He later moved back to his native North Carolina and founded the African American Dance Ensemble in 1983.

He also founded and served as director of Dance Africa, which has been at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for 40 years.

Davis was a popular figure in Durham, North Carolina. He was often seen around town in colorful West African clothing, preaching his motto of "peace, love, and respect for everybody," according to North Carolina Public Radio.

"He was larger than life in everything he did, in the love he gave us," Burch told the AP. "So many of us, I don't know what direction our lives would have taken had it not been for Chuck Davis."

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