Nancy Houssels, 1935

  • The-Nevada-Ballet-Theatre-co-founded-by-Nancy-Houssels-WWP

Woman Category: Arts and PhilanthropyWoman Tags: Dancer

  • HerStory

    A Dancer and Co-founder of Nevada Ballet Theatre.

    Born as Nancy Claire Wallace in Piedmont, California. Her passion for dancing started at the age of 3, and in her youth, she practiced both dancing and synchronized swimming. After earning her BA in Theatre Arts from UCLA, Houssels joined a local Dance Company named “the Hollywood Bowl”. At that time, she met Francois Szony, who became her long-term dancing partner. The two performed worldwide and on stages such as Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, and the Ed Sullivan show.
    Nancy Houssels came to Las Vegas when she was 31 years old. At first, she and Szony worked at the Dunes Hotel in Casino de Paris, and after 2 years they joined the cast of the Folies Bergere at the Tropicana hotel, where she met her husband – J. Kell Houssels Jr, the president of the Tropicana Hotel. After her marriage, she left the show business to focus on her family, but although she was no longer a performing dancer, her devotion to the arts remained strong, and she became involved in the community, especially working with children.
    She served on many boards, chaired the Nevada State Council of the Arts, and promoted funding for arts organizations. In 1972, Houssels established the Nevada Dance Theatre, now called the Nevada Ballet Theatre, alongside Vassili Sulich. The company enabled low-income students to learn to dance from professionals. To this day, the Nevada Dance Theatre has an important role in the Las Vegas community, encouraging integration and creating opportunities.

    Another Interesting Anecdote:

    • She is a breeder of Great Dane dogs.
  • More About Her Legacy

    * Governor’s Art’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts
    * Chamber of Commerce Women of Achievement Award

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  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • Woman Tags: Dancer

    JLLV Honors Nancy Houssels with Florence Lee Jones Humanitarian Award

    Junior League of Las Vegas is honored to recognize Nancy Houssels with the Florence Lee Jones Humanitarian Award at our annual Paint the Town Red Gala for her lasting contributions to the Las Vegas Valley.

  • Nevada Ballet Theatre. Credit- Wikipedia.