(Featured photo: Rozene Pride, Ann Williams standing Sheena Payne, Georgia Scaife, Zenetta S. Drew, Grace Cook, Gilbert Gerst , Derrick Waiters)*
Dallas Black Dance Theatre served up a heap of heart in a tribute to Charley Pride during its Third Annual The BIG Dance at the Meyerson Symphony Center Saturday, June 4, 2022.
DBDT: Encore! dancers two-stepped and line-danced from the front door to the entryway of the Meyerson, greeting guests decked out in their diamonds and boots. An 11-foot neon red guitar, a 13-foot oil derrick, a cowhide rug, and a red Cadillac sofa added to the country-western flair.
Guests came ready to party. With the theme Boot Scootin’ Boogie and four bands, how could you not? The evening kicked off with a concert as part of the Hometown Salute to the late Charley Pride. DBDT wanted to honor country music’s first black superstar, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000 and the first artist of any race to win the CMA’s male vocalist award for two consecutive years in 1971 and 1972. Pride and his wife Rozene had been long-time supporters of Dallas Black Dance Theatre for over four decades.
A stunning 3-D hologram of Mr. Pride was featured next to the party’s dance floor. It was shown on a plaster casting of an original bronze sculpture from Mrs. Pride’s personal collection. The visual used a series of photos throughout Mr. Pride’s life to create depictions of his likeness that intertwined with a floating, colorful line art for a unique presentation. The event included a Charley Pride Awards Gallery where guests could view his awards and memorabilia over the years.
The State of Texas honored Mrs. Rozene Pride with the Yellow Rose of Texas Award for the evening, and the City of Dallas proclaimed June 4, 2022, Charley Pride Day. Mrs. Pride graciously took on Honorary Chair duties for the event with Honorary Chair Grace Cook. Helen Giddings and Sheena Payne were the 2022 event Co-chairs.
Dion Pride paid tribute to his father by singing some of Charley Pride’s fan favorites. Dion Pride is a songwriter and multi-talented instrumentalist playing the guitar, piano, drums, and bass. He started performing at the age of 14. Dion played the lead guitar and keyboard for his father and opened his father’s show for five years. Now he is touring with his own band.
Then two-time CMA and ACM Female Vocalist of the Year, Janie Fricke, closed out the concert. She told the audience that she opened for Charley Pride concerts during the early part of her career. Dallas Black Dance Theatre dancers performed to several selections sung by Pride and Fricke. The concert included a video tribute filled with memories of Charley Pride. Viewers from across the country enjoyed the performance via live stream.
Then guests were able to kick up their boots in a non-stop dance party with the Breckenridge Band, which added two-step and line dance lessons to the festive mix. Fiddle duo June Blount changed the pace with their chemistry of folk, bluegrass, and contemporary tunes.
Spotted on the Scene: Shreill and Everson Walls, Kim Bizor Tolbert, Warren Tranquada, Debi and Darren Pena, Kim Noltemy, Yon Yoon Jorden, Gloria and Jim Austin, Harrison Blair, Andrea Broadnax, Craig Davis, Ahmad Goree, Chris Heinbaugh, Jasmine Banjo, Larry Lundy, and Don Short.
The fundraiser benefited Dallas Black Dance Academy’s Education and Outreach programs. The Academy produced the first Presidential Scholar in dance in America. Nine other Presidential Scholars who graduated from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts trained at Dallas Black Dance Academy. Four Academy students have received full scholarships to the prestigious dance program at The Juilliard School.
100% of Dallas Black Dance Academy students have graduated from high school and attended college since 2012.
The BIG Dance committee included Jim Austin, Ivy Awino, Chris Banjo & Jasmine Banjo, Bridget Biagas, Angela Chapman, Teresa Coleman Wash, Mark D. Cooks, Marie Diaz, Dr. and Mrs. William Frazier, Marena & Roger Gault, Arthur & Gwen George, Laura Harris, Misty Hoyt, Sharon K. King, Kevin K. Lewis, Larry Lundy, Kim Noltemy, Maxine Pride, Willow Sanchez & Peter Lewis, Kymberley Scalia, Michelle Sherman, Don Short, Michelle Thomas, Linda & Frederick D. Todd II, Paulette Turner, Phyllis Walker, Dr. and Mrs. Myron Watkins, Carla Wattley-Bradley, Kim Whitaker, Ann Williams, Michelle Wong, and Freda Wright.
Dallas Black Dance Theatre closed out its 45th season with a city-wide dance party and shindig worthy of The BIG D.
*Photos by Derrick Waiters
**Photos by Ramona Logan
(This Philanthropy Lifestyles Scene sponsored by Dallas Black Dance Theatre.)