Della (Mary Adele) Davidson

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Della Davidson Della (Mary Adele) Davidson, beloved wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, and visionary artist, passed away in Santa Fe, NM on March 13 following a long struggle with breast cancer. A central figure in West Coast dance since the mid 1980's, Della was currently Professor of Theater and Dance at the University of California, Davis. She was recently named the 2012 recipient of the Dancer's Choice Award for her continuing impact on dance in the Bay Area. Born in Texas in 1951 and raised in Michigan, Della moved to New York City to start her career in dance in 1972. She attended Michigan State and the University of Utah where she apprenticed as a choreographer and earned an M.A. in 1983 at the University of Arizona. Della has been artistic director of the San Francisco-based Della Davidson Dance Theater since 1986, and of the Sideshow Physical Theater at UC Davis since 2001. Over her successful career, she created more than 40 works and received many awards including the Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography. Della's innovative work on women's desire, death, disease, and the fragility of existence was lyrical, collaborative, and multidisciplinary, using dance, theater and film. One of her greatest gifts was to recognize potential in others and bring out their strengths, whether they were her students, her dancers, her collaborators, her colleagues or her friends. Della's sense of delight and play, along with a profound connection to the elemental forces of life and death, shaped her art and her life. She deeply loved her family and friends, her cats, and the beauty of the world, especially the southwest. All who knew her loved her for her warm, gentle presence, and she will be profoundly missed by family, friends, students, and the dance community. Della is survived by her loving husband Mark Reiff, her brother Dave Davidson of San Francisco, her sisters Harriet Davidson (Jerry Hirniak) of New Jersey and Diane Daniels (Leonard Heil) of San Francisco, and her loving nieces Mary Katie Blake, Amanda Tucker, Celina Davidson and Kia Davidson Miller. Donations may be made in her name to continue the fight against breast cancer. A memorial celebration of her life and work is being planned for later in the year. Berardinelli Family Funeral Service 1399 Luisa Street, Santa Fe, NM 87505 (505)984-8600 Please sign our guestbook online at

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