Our fair city and the county's recreation programs are more than familiar to Davis. A Miami native, he frequented Miami-Dade Park's African Heritage Cultural Arts Center many times over the years. Run by his father Marshall Davis, Sr., the AHCAC was the place Junior initially was exposed to the uniquely American dance form, if you don't count the TV show Sesame Street. Wearing sneakers, he took his very first tap dance lesson at age ten. Once Davis, Jr. -- a child of many interests who played several instruments and when bored threw them by the wayside -- finally received his first pair of tap shoes, he took off like a rocket. He apprenticed with tap great Steve Condos in Hollywood, Florida; began taking top honors in contest after contest; and at age thirteen ended up on the TV talent competition Star Search, where he became teen dance champion of 1991.
By the mid-Nineties, Davis starred alongside mentor/friend Glover in the Broadway smash Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk. A few years later, summoned with a phone call, he enthusiastically joined Glover's new dance troupe, which made its ambitious debut at the Cannes Film Festival. "He's a genius with what he does," Davis says of Glover. "I look up to a lot of things that he has accomplished and how he's continuing to improve and reach new levels with the art form."
Recently seen frenetically shilling for V8 vegetable juice on television commercials, the 30-year-old Glover, who has also been dancing since childhood, has expressed interest in widening his artistic horizons. He's added acting and singing to his repertoire, much like one of his idols, the late Gregory Hines, did. For the moment, though, Marshall Davis, Jr., is content to keep on hoofing, squeezing powerful emotion from his fancy footwork the way a singer can melt hearts with a song. "Dancing will definitely be a part of what I do," he says. "It's physical and spiritual and emotional. It's not just all technique." Or big feet.