My love for dance started at the tender age of 5. I loved music. My Aunt Tracey had all the albums with all different genres and would always tell me to do relevant dances when she would have company over. My church Evelyn Graves Ministries in Philadelphia, PA had a school of Performing Arts in which I took Ballet & Charm class. My church would do plays and dinner theaters and travel all around the world. I would observe them, and go home and mimic the characters, as well as the star dancers in the play. When I was older, I was permitted to audition to become a dancer in the plays my church would produce.
I loved performing, and my pastor would notice the anointing on my life. He would call my mom the night before a Sunday service to ask me to present a solo performance. The music selected would tie into her message. I used to be so upset because it was always last minute and nerve-wracking that I had to be very creative at such a young age and bring her vision to life to connect it to the Word of God. Little did I know this was all of the process to make me the “creative genius” I am today. The world did not teach me, God molded me into what he wanted, and for me to bring glory back to him. I’m forever grateful for him taking a chance on little ole me.
I began my technical training at Philadanco which is one of the top dance studios in Philadelphia, PA. I studied ballet under the Karen Pendergrass ( Teddy Pendergrass ex-wife) and tap under the late Ms. Pat. I later changed studios to Progressive Center for Dance where I studied ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, modern under Ms. Carol Cubbage-Davis, Ms. Shayla, Ms. Nicole, Mr. Itola, and Ms. Chauntae. I was selected to be apart of their junior dance company.
I enjoyed my experience at PCD but my jazz teacher would do things a little different that would strike my attention. She would bring theater arts to all her jazz pieces. It would always have a storyline, and everyone would want to be apart from her of masterpieces because they were show stoppers. I would study her closely and from there I knew that it is exactly what I wanted to do.
I later joined the Philadelphia Drill team world. I was apart of 3 drill teams. Peaches ‘N’ Cream which one of the classy groups I ever been a part of, My Director Darlene Hood would always keep us dressed appropriate and treated us like family. Eastwick Commandoes under the direction of Ms. Tonya Rose- Davis. Ms. Tonya instilled so many values in me. She did not tolerate absences & tardies, she would put on the most” out of the box” routines that I have ever seen in my life. We were known for our precision and our standards. We were always undefeated because we continued to stay in our lane produce things people wouldn’t dare trying.
The last drill team I was apart of was Genuine Magic. I joined because I wanted to try a group with fewer rules and more freedom to be a teenager. I learned from my experience that grass is not always greener on the other side. I had a lot of fun but some of it came with consequences and I felt myself losing sight of my purpose.
I continued to dance with my church and was exposed to the HBCU experience which changed my life forever. I attended Virginia State University in Petersburg, VA. I later became captain my junior & senior year. I was also the choreographer for The VSU Gospel Chorale for all 4 years. All in all I loved dance but most of all I fell in love with putting on productions. Good took all of my experiences from every entity I was apart of in youth and made the Director I am today.
Absolutely, I love my family. We were all apart of Evelyn Graves Dram Productions so we were very versatile in many areas of Theater Arts, My Dad – He’s the ultimate comedian with the corny jokes but people can not get enough of him. I see a lot of me in him because he is not scared to start a conversation with anyone or sing a solo in front of the church and don’t know the words. I guess he’s the one who passed down the gift of improvisation. He can play any role in a production and dance with his soul train moves. My dad recognized my love to teach kids at a young age and named me “The Kiddie Master”.
My Mom- I owe my life to her. She has pushed me into the person I am today. She has always been the behind the scenes genius. She wrote plays and monologues and helped so many youth in her career being a teacher at a Christian Academy. My mom came up with so many ideas for our school plays and was always a counselor to her students outside of school hours. She taught me that what I do is a ministry and the most important thing to do is honor God throughout everything I do because it all comes from Him.
My sister Alexiss- Very organized, smart, and my protector. I used to follow her around. I wanted to be just like her to a point it got on her nerves. I’m grateful she let me follow her even though she was not happy about it because a lot of my successes came from watching her and becoming apart of the same activities. She is a fantastic writer and has written beautiful grant letters for D2D, and I am forever grateful.
My sister Vernisha- Very nurturing, very supporting but is NYU business grad who keeps on top of my toes when it comes to D2D relations. She continually encourages me and reminds me of how big D2D’s brand is. I call her for consultation all the time and always my voice of reason and the person who always says never let your left hand know your right-hand moves. She keeps me on top of my game.
The Lord gives me all of my inspiration. He drops things in my spirit that people have not done before which sets me apart from every other dance studio in Houston, TX. He wakes me up in the middle of night and deposits greatness that I know can only come from Him.
We traveled to Vegas this year, the students and I saw Michael Jackson live. There was a light bulb that went off, and I knew I could produce a Vegas Style show with ages 3-17. I would have to add a couple of legends to it all, in one product, which has NEVER been done before!! I am starting trends not following them.
It all started in 2009. I was a technology teacher at the Rice School/ La Escuela Rice. I decided to a two-week dance camp with some students that were interested. It was very successful and one of my dancer’s mom Debra Fletcher-Davis emailed me and said if you start a studio we are signing up. That nugget of information changed my whole life. I was already a dance instructor in North Carolina before moving to Texas, but it was time to bring the Philly Flava to Houston, TX.
My husband Clifton Davis came up with our studio name. He is an architect designer so from that we got “Designed” we are both “#2”’s on our sorority and fraternity lines for Tau Beta Sigma & Kappa Kappa Psi and of course I was the dancer, so we added “dance” to it. My father in law Joe Davis invested in our first studio off of Holcombe & Kirby. I took students that never had dance experience to our first competition, and we came in 3 rd place. They cried, but I was proud of them because they went up against high school students who have been dancing all of their lives.
I went home and went back to the drawing board, and from there the magic of D2D was born. We have been winning championships for eight years straight with routines that are “out the box” to the point that when we walk in the building strangers are asking us what time do we perform.
Our dancers are always classy and always put on a show. Although we win competitions, it is not our focus. Our studios instead invest in experiences, so that is why our travel team was born. The look on the students face when we travel outside of the city limits to perform, is more precious than any trophy. Our next big trip will be to Honolulu, Hawaii in July of 2019, to kick off our ten year anniversary dance season.