LaDeva Davis dies: Beloved dancer, choreographer and CAPA teacher passes away at 78

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Philadelphia mourns the loss of an iconic figure in the dance world.

LeDeva Davis inspired generations of dancers who went on to perform on some of the biggest stages.

The 78-year-old was a founding member of the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA).

Davis has taught there since the school opened in 1978 and had no plans to retire.

“Every time I asked her, she said, ‘I make a difference and I love what I do every day,'” says Joanne Beaver, director at CAPA.

“To have that legacy of 57 years, there is no way to describe the impact she had or how legendary she was as a human being.”

Davis considered CAPA her home and family.

She was considered tough but loving.

“I think a lot of us, including the students, deny that,” says Beaver. “I think a lot of us expect her to just walk in the door at any moment. It is difficult. The students are injured.”

Beaver says she knows exactly what Davis would expect from them.

“She wouldn’t want anyone to sit around and feel sorry for us or her,” says Beaver. “She doesn’t want us to cry, she wants kids to dance. She wants kids to dance on Parkway Thanksgiving Day. She wants shows, she wants concerts.”

In addition to a lengthy, acclaimed recap of events, Davis was the 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 after suffering a massive stroke.

Her family expects to set a date for a service in her honor in the next few days.

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