Nancy Davis, Founder/Artistic Director
Nancy Davis, a founder and artistic director of The Portland Ballet, began her training at age six with Natalia Clare of the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo. She studied later with Irina Kosmovska of the Bolshoi and was chosen to appear with the Bolshoi in Asaf Messerer’s Ballet School during the company’s two seasons in Los Angeles.
At fourteen, she received a full Ford Foundation scholarship to study at George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet in New York City. For the next three years, she trained with Mr. Balanchine, Antonina Tumkovsky, Alexandra Danilova, Stanley Williams, and many other teaching luminaries of the school and New York City Ballet.
In 1970 she joined Frederic Franklin and Ben Stevenson’s National Ballet of Washington, D. C., where she worked closely with Dame Margot Fonteyn, who was a frequent guest artist. Dancing a wide repertoire, Nancy performed at the Kennedy Center and toured extensively, garnering soloist roles in Mr. Stevenson’s Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, Valerie Bettis’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Jungle by Rudi Van Danzig of Het National Ballet, Amsterdam.
In 1974, she became a founding member and principal of the original Los Angeles Ballet, directed by New York City Ballet choreographer and principal dancer John Clifford, who created many roles on her. While touring with Los Angeles Ballet in the U. S. and internationally, she was singled out for critical acclaim by The New York Times critics Anna Kisselgoff, Jennifer Dunning, Jack Anderson, and others for her roles in Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Concerto Barocco, Serenade, Allegro Brillante, The Four Temperaments, and Clifford’s Sitar Concerto, Symphony, Firebird, Sonata and Nutcracker, and Anton Dolin’s Pas de Quatre.
Nancy has also appeared in two movies, The Addams Family (1991) directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and Young Doctors in Love (1982) directed by Garry Marshall, in which she played the supporting role of Miss Pendergast, “a secretary on pointe.”
In 2001, Nancy and her former Los Angeles Ballet partner, now husband, Jim Lane, founded The Portland Ballet. Her reputation as an outstanding teacher has led her to serve on the faculty at Oregon Ballet Theatre and NW Academy, as a frequent guest teacher for Saint Louis Ballet, and to numerous teaching stints in California, Oregon, and Hawaii. In December 2016, Nancy will be traveling to Santo Domingo to guest teach, along with two TPB dancers who will perform in Academia Ballet Concierto’s production of Nutcracker.