Philadelphia is mourning the loss of an iconic figure in the world of dance.
LeDeva Davis inspired generations of dancers who went on to perform on some of the biggest stages.
The 78-year-old was a founding faculty member of the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA).
Davis taught there since the school opened its doors in 1978, and had no plans of retiring.
“Her response to me every time I asked was, ‘I make a difference and I love what I do every day,'” says Joanne Beaver, the Principal at CAPA.
“To have that legacy of 57 years, there is no way to describe the impact that she has had or how legendary she was as a human being.”
Davis considered CAPA her home and her family.
She was known as tough, but loving.
“I think a lot of us, including the students, are in denial,” Beaver says. “I think a lot of us expect her to just walk in the door any minute. It’s hard. The students are hurting.”
Beaver says she knows exactly what Davis would want them to do.
“She would not want anybody to be sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves or her,” Beaver says. “She would not want us crying, she would want kids dancing. She wants kids dancing on the Parkway Thanksgiving Day. She wants shows, she wants concerts.”
Along with a long, acclaimed resume of events, Davis was a choreographer for our 6abc Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day parade.
Davis worked on Broadway and was nominated for a Grammy in 2007.
The South Philadelphia native died Thursday following a massive stroke.
Her family expects to set a date for a service in her honor within the next few days.