Fred team


FROM THE STREETS TO THE STAGE: THE JOURNEY OF FREDRICK DAVIS presents the powerful life story of Fredrick Davis, who, as a child, overcame poverty and homelessness to make his dreams of becoming a dancer a reality. The program, produced by WTCI, is now available to PBS stations across the country through PBS Plus. Click here to visit the show page on

Paul Grove, President and CEO of WTCI, says “the film allowed us to explore Fred’s life as a child, fighting against overwhelming odds, and to celebrate his will to succeed. It’s an incredible story about a community of caring, motivated people who helped a brave young man turn his dreams into reality.”

When he was 11 years old, Fred was introduced to a city-sponsored ballet program and that experience changed the course of his entire life.  Despite a turbulent personal life, he found inspiration and support from instructors at Ballet Tennessee, Center for Creative Arts, his church family and a caring community. Susan Pierce, a writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, says “Fredrick Davis's life story sounds like a Hollywood movie script.  Full of twists and turns and setbacks, his life of hardship has been overcome by channeling his energy into dancing.” As a result of his determination and the support he received, he was invited to study at the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School and eventually joined the company at Dance Theatre of Harlem.

"For a young man to dedicate himself to classical ballet is somewhat unusual in a southern city; for an African-American male, even more so.  Yes Fred was unwavering in his goals.  When I met him, one fo the first things he said me was 'I am going to dance at Dance Theatre of Harlem one day.' Watching him achieve that goal has been one the highlights of my career in public education," says Karen Wilson, Director of Dance at Chattanooga's Center for Creative Arts.

Fredrick Davis’ story is an inspiration, exemplifying both the powerful life-saving impact of the arts and a community's drive to provide opportunity and support for its most vulnerable citizens.  Tune in locally for encore broadcasts of the program Sunday, July 10 at 6 PM, Monday, July 11th at 10 PM, Sunday, July 17th at 2:30 PM and Sunday, July 31st at 4 PM. 

WTCI’s award-winning production team followed Fred’s life in Chattanooga, New York and beyond.  “From the Streets to the Stage” celebrates his triumph over adversity and exemplifies the incredible power of the arts to change lives.  He returns to his hometown each year to work with Anna VanCura and Ballet Tennessee to teach today’s children through the same city-sponsored program that changed his life. 

Support for this documentary was made possible by members, foundations and corporations who support the mission of public television and celebrate the power of the arts to change young lives, including; First Tennessee Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation, the George R. Johnson Family Foundation, EPB Fiber Optics and Blood Assurance.  “Celebrating the arts is important because it can open doors for people who wouldn’t otherwise have those opportunities,” says Jeff Jackson, Market President at First Tennessee. 

WTCI, the Greater Chattanooga Public Television Corporation, serves 35 counties in a four state region, providing quality, trusted local and national programming to over 440,000 households.  Transmitting across a 60-mile radius, the station’s signal is carried on over 35 cable systems in the four state region, enriching lives through quality programs and services that educate, engage and inspire a lifetime of learning and exploration.

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