Nancy Norman Lassalle, a lifelong summer resident of Woods Hole and avid supporter of dance, died Monday, April 26, of natural causes at her home in Manhattan, New York. She was 93.
Ms. Lassalle had served on the board of directors of the New York City Ballet and of the School of American Ballet.
For the past several years, Woods Hole Public Library had been hosting the Lassalle Dance in America Series as part of the library summer lecture series, thanks to Ms. Lassalle’s connections in the dance community. Because of her contacts, nationally and internationally known dancers, choreographers, and historians joined the lecture series in the village.
Born in New York City, she was the daughter of Dorothy Norman and Edward A. Norman, a homeowner on Penzance Point, where she and her brother, Andrew E. Norman, spent the summers of their youth.
She was educated at The Dalton School in Manhattan.
Over the years Ms. Lassalle had been a patron, trustee, and benefactor of the School of American Ballet and the New York City Ballet. After serving on both boards for many years she continued as trustee emerita.
She also had published a book of her photographs of George Balanchine intensively teaching and demonstrating. An artistic director, Mr. Balanchine was one of the major figures in 20th-century ballet.
Most recently Ms. Lassalle become involved in various education projects for young artists. One of her goals was to communicate the wide world of the arts to young dancers through digital media.
In October the School of American Ballet announced the newly named Lassalle Cultural Program in honor of Nancy N. Lassalle, “longtime member of the school’s board of directors who helped found the program and who has dedicated her life to supporting Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine’s vision for classical ballet through decades of work and advocacy at both SAB and New York City Ballet.”
Fulfilling her vision, the goals of the cultural program are to help students explore the history of ballet within the larger context of classical and contemporary art and to ensure they “have opportunities to experience New York City’s vast cultural landscape in ways that are educational and enriching for their developing artistry. Participants receive free access to theater, dance, and musical performances and curated visits to museums and other NYC cultural institutions.” Further enrichment includes discussions and explorations with artists and scholars around each activity to deepen students’ understanding and discovery of the broader arts landscape.
A house at the end of Oyster Pond Road that Ms. Lassalle purchased in 1958 was in the local news in 1966. In late October that year, the unoccupied home was ravaged by a fire of unknown origin, one of three suspicious fires in town that weekend, the Enterprise reported. Ms. Lassalle had spent the summer there with her three young children and their governess.
The next year she bought the main house and 1.5 acres at Miramar on Church Street in Woods Hole; her brother had bought the gatehouse in 1960.
Ms. Lassalle also owned a cranberry bog in Hatchville for a time. She acquired the 1.13-acre abandoned bog in 1985 and renamed the parcel Quanaumet Bog, after the Native American version of Coonamessett. She applied to the conservation commission and got approval to rehabilitate the bog for light commercial use.
Ms. Lassalle purchased the bog property along with five home lots, which were subsequently developed.
Arthur M. Handy reactivated the bog for Ms. Lassalle in 1987 after it had been dormant since 1950. His son, Brian Handy, farmed and managed it for her after taking over the business from his father.
She sold the bog to Camille M. Romano in 2003.
Ms. Lassalle was among the individuals featured in an exhibit of the Woods Hole Historical Museum several years ago, “Woods Hole Women of A Certain Age: A Snapshot in Time.”
She leaves her children, Honor Lassalle, Diana Turner and Philip E. Lassalle; five grandchildren, and extended family.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Edmundo Lassalle; and by her brother.
A memorial gathering will be at a date to be determined.