Woman smiling.
Beloved Chapman University Department of Dance Chair and Professor, Nancy Dickson-Lewis has announced she will retire at the end of the spring 2016 semester, bringing to a close a rich career spanning more than three decades of dance, choreography, and teaching and influencing the lives and craft of thousands of dancers.

Professor Dickson-Lewis began teaching at Chapman University in 1986 as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Theatre and Dance. She came to Chapman with extensive teaching and performance experience. She was a member of the dance faculty at Golden West College in Huntington Beach for seven years. She also taught jazz, modern dance, and choreography at several other colleges and studios in southern California.

Professor Dickson-Lewis received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of California, Riverside, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Modern Dance from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. In 1982 she became the Artistic Director of Dance Theatre West, a modern dance company based in Orange County. Her choreography for that company was chosen for many regional festivals and showcases.

As a freelance choreographer, Professor Dickson-Lewis’ work has been featured at the Riverside Dance Festival in New York City, in Chicago, Indianapolis, and all over the Western United States. Her piece
Through the Trees
, a work choreographed to the music of famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, was performed in Segerstrom Hall of what was then the Orange County Performing Arts Center, and her piece 
was selected to close the 2003 gala concert of the American College Dance Festival. She also choreographed
for Orange County’s acclaimed Backhausdance company.

In 1999 Professor Dickson-Lewis became a member of the full-time dance faculty at Chapman and has taught Modern Dance, Ballet, Jazz, Choreography, Improvisation, Music for Dancers, Dance in World Cultures, Introduction to Dance Studies, Dance Teaching Methods, and performance classes. She has received two awards for excellence in teaching at Chapman. She has served as program coordinator and prospective student coordinator. In 2012, she was appointed chair of the Department of Dance.

Professor Dickson-Lewis’ daughter Allison is a graduate of Chapman University and teaches elementary school in Oklahoma. Her daughter Whitney is a graduate of Brown University and works in admissions at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA. Professor Dickson-Lewis lives in Irvine with her husband, David.

The College of Performing Arts will hold a special reception on April 20, 2016 to honor Professor Dickson-Lewis as she enters this new adventure in her life, and to celebrate her extensive and lasting contributions to the Department of Dance, its students and parents, the College, and Chapman University. All are invited to attend the reception, which will be held in the Argyros Forum Faculty Athenaeum at 5:00pm.

Dance Works by Nancy Dickson-Lewis

  • Original choreography of concert dance work The Garden Path (Revisited). Music: Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony “Pastoral”, second movement,. 10 dancers, 15 minutes
  • Original choreography of concert dance work in collaboration with Dale A. Merrill entitled Cheatin Hearts. Music: Hank Williams, Kitty Well, and Patsy Cline; 16 Dancers, 24 minutes
  • Original choreography of concert dance work entitled We’re All In This Together. Music: Steve Reich Music for Mallet Instruments, Voice, and Organ; 10 dancers, 18 minutes
  • Original choreography of concert dance work entitled Next to You. Music by the Temptations; 12 dancers, 18 minutes
  • Original choreography of concert dance work entitled The Blue Bench. Music: Seven fugues from The Well-tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach; 10 dancers, 22 minutes