LASSALLE--Nancy. New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet mourn the passing of a singular advocate, supporter, and partner. Nancy Norman Lassalle discovered her lifelong home at age 14 when she enrolled in Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine's fledgling school in 1941 and never left. Instantly impassioned and inspired by Kirstein's brilliance and Balanchine's artistic genius, Nancy found her life's purpose in championing and advancing their dreams for the remainder of her long life; taking on many mantles--author, editor, educator, photographer, curator, fundraiser, philanthropist--in service to their vision for the School and Company. A founding member of both NYCB and SAB's boards upon their inceptions in the 1970s, Nancy's perennial generosity was superseded by her daily engagement with and promotion of our missions. A founding member of both NYCB and SAB's Advisory Council of supporters in 1975, she also regularly provided key organizational and fundraising support for both School and Company, notably spearheading NYCB's first ever gala in 1962 for the premiere of Balanchine's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Her passionate belief in education was critical to the development of NYCB's Education Department in the 1960s and in her last decade her support was pivotal to the establishment and design of SAB's Cultural Program. As a witness to ballet history in the making, Nancy was a champion for dance scholarship-- documenting, recording, and preserving NYCB and SAB's history through work with Dance Index, Ballet Society, Eakins Press, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and in numerous exhibits and publications documenting SAB and NYCB history. In the decades following the passings of Balanchine and Kirstein, Nancy served as a guardian of their legacy and ideals, ensuring that those carrying on in their wake would never lose sight of their original vision, and acting as a vital link between past and present. She served on NYCB's board until 1992 and SAB's until 2008, and as a Director Emerita for both organizations she remained an ever-present family member and continued to live her life in service to our founders. NYCB and SAB's Boards, teachers, dancers, musicians, staff members, and students send our heartfelt condolences to Nancy's children, Philip, Honor and Diana, and all of her grandchildren. Nancy's life and work have touched all of us and we will miss her greatly.
Published in New York Times on Apr. 29, 2021.