Former UC Davis professor of theatre and dance, costume design, Phyllis J. Kress of Sacramento, California, passed away on Sunday, July 10, 2016, at 77 years of age. Kress retired in 1998 after 32 years at UC Davis.
The following obituary was written in 2011 by Elin Diamond, professor of English and director of the Graduate Program in Comparative Literature at Rutgers University. Diamond, who specializes in feminist criticism and dramatic theory, earned her doctorate and master’s degree at UC Davis. See the New York Times obituary here.
Della Davidson was a vital creative force for the Department of Theatre and Dance for over ten years and was a central figure in the Bay Area dance world since the early 1980s. She has been described as one of the West Coast’s most fluent writers for the body, a dance maker of works that ruminate with poignancy and beauty on topics ranging from a woman’s anger to disease, death and the fragility of human existence. Her work echoed with references to the United States tradition in modern dance, and yet her dancers perform with a passionate abandonment of commitment and rage.