A native of South Philadelphia and a Philadelphia Public School employee for 44 years, LaDeva Davis began her pedagogical career teaching music at the now defunct Bartlett Junior High School at 11th and Catherine Streets from 1965 to 1978, an edifice which would later become the educational housing for the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. Armed with a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from The Philadelphia Musical Academy (now the University of the Arts) LaDeva made a "name" for herself teaching vocal, instrumental music and dance to inner-city kids who heretofore had no interest or motivation for anything artistic. Since then, she has served on the Steering Committee for Dance & Theater Certification for Teachers; PA Arts Education Council; and was Modern, Jazz and Hip-Hop Instructor for the Chester Fine Arts Center. She has taught Tap classes and Tap technique here at Swarthmore College since the LPAC opened in 1991.
In 1988 her CAPA Dance Company performed Living the Dream in Atlanta, Georgia for an audience of 2,000 people (by special invitation from Coretta Scott King). From Philadelphia to Florida to California, her CAPA Dance Company has participated in the National High School Dance Festival since its inception. CAPA dancers have always come away with many scholarships to colleges and universities as well as exclusive places in Summer Intensive dance programs. Many of them have gone on to dance for Sesame Place Productions, Disney Productions in Florida and California, Broadway Productions (i.e., Lion King, Cats and Aida). They have landed positions in renowned dance companies such as Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre as well as local companies Eleone Dance Theatre and Philadanco. Some have even started their own dance companies, i.e., Leon Evans and Jaye Allison - Leja Dance Theatre; Shawn Lamere Williams - Eleone Dance Theatre; Bernard Gaddis - Las Vegas Modern Dance Repertory Theatre and Michael Susten - Xhale Dance Company. And they've gained recognition by auditioning for and winning positions as Sixers, Angels and Eagles Cheerleaders.
In addition to her work with CAPA and as an instructor, Ms. Davis has worn many other hats. She served two consecutive terms as President of the Board of Directors for Joan Meyers Brown's Philadanco. She was Choreographer-in-Residence for the Ritz Theater of Oaklyn, New Jersey's 2002 Summer Stock production of Bye, Bye, Birdie and was asked back to be guest co-choreographer for their Fall presentation of Annie Get Your Gun. Five years ago she tried her hand at choreographing the Clevemore Fancy Brigade for the Philadelphia Mummer's Parade. She has done Industrial T.V. spots for the American Red Cross Association, as well as commercials for Ponderosa Restaurants, Sesame Place, Action News, Visions, New York Communications and Kroger Financial Center - Midwest Stations. She has also been one of three main choreographers for the Ikea/Disney/WPVI-TV Thanksgiving Day Parade and Washington's Cherry Blossom Parades for several years. She has worked in professional theater experiences with the American Music Theater as a featured artist in Branson to Broadway and Holiday Treasures, as well as Showboat at the Media Theatre for the Performing Arts. She has performed with such notables as the legendary Josephine Baker, Pearl Bailey, Natalie Cole, Billie Dee Williams, Danny Thomas, Jamie Farr, Alan King, Jimmy Walker, and Gregory Hines. In 2007, she was nominated for a Grammy, along with co-producer Ira Tucker Jr., former publicist for Stevie Wonder. Together they produced the Dixie Hummingbirds' CD, "Still It Keeping Real: Last Man Standing." AND THE BEAT GOES ON...