Artistic Director

Davida Rae received her early dance training at the Calvert-Brodie School of Dance in Columbia, S.C., where she joined Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet as an apprentice and trained personally with Ms. Ann Brodie.  There she appeared as Wit from Sleeping Beauty and also performed in Hansel and Gretel and multiple productions of The Nutcracker.  Further, she appeared in several presentations by Columbia City Ballet, including Peter and the Wolf and The Nutcracker. Ms. Rae attended The Walnut Hill School Summer Program as the youngest ever admitted at the time.  She continued her dance training in Boston with David Drummond and then in Fort Lauderdale with Mindy Garz as well as the Magda Auñon School of Ballet. 
After graduating high school, her father’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease halted her pursuit of a career as a ballerina until it was too late to go back.  Instead, after his death she returned to academics and completed an A.S. in Fashion Design magna cum laude from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.  She won several awards for her designs. In 2007, she moved to Pittsburgh, PA to attend Carnegie Mellon University. She won the Senior Leadership Recognition Award upon graduation. She holds a B.S. in Physics with both University and College Research Honors.  She has been awarded five competitive research grants and served as co-author on a journal publication.
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 19 diverse pieces for dancers from Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, and Point Park Conservatory of the Performing Arts; and for professionals from the U.S. and overseas from August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, the Ailey School Certificate Program, the Joffrey Trainee Program, the Charlottesville Ballet, and the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp, to name a few. 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, founder of Point Park Conservatory of the Performing Arts and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
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, Ms. Rae founded ChoreoNova® in September 2012 to take the examination of life already evident in her earlier work further and continue to empower people.  She is currently the company's Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer.  ChoreoNova® is a nonprofit professional contemporary dance company.  Due to her unique background as both an artist and a scientist, her dual perspective permeates the company; its works fuse art and science together seamlessly. Now in its seventh season, the company displays combinations of various diverse dance styles plus natural movement in films, live performances, and interdisciplinary transmedia works. It has expanded regionally and toured in VA, PA, and NY.
Altogether, as an independent choreographer and now as ChoreoNova’s Artistic Director, Ms. Rae has conceived, planned, directed, and produced 25 art events (performances and screenings). Her work has been featured by the international DUMBO Dance Festival (Brooklyn, NY) and RAW: Natural Born Artist showcases (Pittsburgh and Philadelphia), national WomenArts’ SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day (Pittsburgh), regional festivals Dances at a Gathering (Ambridge, PA) and Dogtown Dance Theatre's Informal Series (Richmond, VA), and Charlottesville Visual Storytellers’ Local Filmmaker Showcase, among others. She is a film grantee at the international level from the Open Meadows Foundation for “Coupled: Move In with Me” (2016) and at the national level from the Puffin Foundation, Ltd. for “Coupled” (2015) and a four-time grantee from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (2014-2017). In addition, she won a RAW Pittsburgh Performing Arts award (“Anticipation,” Pittsburgh's first nondocumentary dance film) and was the runner-up for the Zelyonka Festival Residency (Ukraine, 2014).