Artistic Director

williamsImage: Chris Williams

Davida Rae started studying dance at age 2 and went on to train with Ms. Ann Brodie at the Calvert-Brodie School of Dance in Columbia, SC; The Walnut Hill School Summer Program as the youngest ever admitted; with Patricia Wilde at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet Summer Program; with David Drummond in Boston; with Mindy Garz in Fort Lauderdale; and at the Magda AunonSchool of Ballet in Fort Lauderdale, among others. Ms. Rae performed pre-professionally with Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet as an apprentice, Columbia City Ballet, and Columbia Lyric Opera, including appearing as Sleeping Beauty's Wit. Her background in ballet, modern, jazz, character, and flamenco informs her choreography today.

Ms. Rae halted her pursuit of a professional ballet career due to family illness. She holds an A.S. in Fashion Design magna cum laude from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. She now uses that award-winning background to facilitate costume design, graphic design, and web design for ChoreoNovaTM. Ms. Rae also has a B.S. in Physics with both University and College Research Honors from Carnegie Mellon University. She has been awarded five competitive research grants and served as co-author on a journal publication. Along the way she participated in three design internships (for web development and fashion design that involved project management) and managed a residential property for seven years.

While completing this last degree, Ms. Rae started choreographing formally with the Carnegie Performing Arts Center of Carnegie, PA and rediscovered her true passion. Since then she has produced 16 diverse pieces for dancers from Carnegie Performing Arts Center, Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, Bodiography Center for Movement, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Arena’s Performing Arts Centre, The University of Pittsburgh’s Pitt Ballet Club, and Point Park Conservatory of the Performing Arts; and for professionals from Mid-Atlantic Contemporary Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School Adult Division, Point Park Conservatory of the Performing Arts, the Charlottesville Ballet, Keith Lee Dances , Staycee Pearl Dance Project, and NetCo Dance Company. Her work has been featured in three annual showcases of the Carnegie Performing Arts Center, culminating in the Emerging New Choreographer Award in June 2012. She has studied dance composition privately with Nicolas Petrov.

Ms. Rae produced, directed, and choreographed all of Darkness & Light: An Evening of Music and Dance. This production was held at the Kresge Theater of Carnegie Mellon University in April 2012. The six world premiere dance pieces asked existential questions, such as: If you don’t slit your throat due to life’s negative twists and turns, how do you go forward?”

Building on this body of work, ChoreoNovaTM was founded in September 2012 to take the examination of life already evident in Ms. Rae’s earlier work further and inspire positive ways of coping. The company displays combinations of various diverse dance styles plus natural movement in live performances, films, and interdisciplinary transmedia works.

Altogether, as an independent choreographer and now as ChoreoNova’s Artistic Director, Ms. Rae has conceived, planned, directed, and produced 16 art events (performances and films). Her work has been featured by such organizations as WomenArts’ S(upport) W(omen) A(rtists) N(ow) Day and the RAW: Natural Born Artist showcases and regional dance festivals such as Dances at a Gathering. ChoreoNovaTM’s first dance film for public release, “Anticipation,” was screened in October 2014 in collaboration with RAW Pittsburgh. It was the first ever non-documentary dance film shown in Pittsburgh. In addition, Ms. Rae has been awarded multiple grants, including at the national level, and she was a Top 5 finalist for the Zelyonka Festival Winter Residency (Ukraine, November 2014).