headshot photo of Nancy Dickson-Lewis

Nancy Dickson-Lewis

Professor Emeritus of Dance
College of Performing Arts; Department of Dance


Nancy Dickson-Lewis is Professor Emeritus of the College of Performing Arts at Chapman where she taught in the Department of Dance for 30 years. After many years serving as Chair of the Dance Department, Nancy retired in 2016.

Nancy earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of California, Riverside, and a Master of Fine Arts in Modern Dance from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. In 1982 she became the Artistic Director of Dance Theatre West, a contemporary dance company based in Orange County. Her choreography for that company was chosen for many regional festivals and showcases including the Riverside Dance Festival in New York.

Teaching and mentoring young artists has always been Nancy’s passion. At Chapman she taught many courses in the Dance curriculum and instituted courses in the department such as Choreography II, Music for Dancers, Dance in World Cultures, and Dance Improvisation. She also taught Modern Dance, Ballet, Jazz, Introduction to Dance Studies, Dance Teaching Methods, Dance History, and Dance Performance. She created new works for dance concerts annually including pieces selected for the Gala Concert of the American College Dance Festival and the Dance Festival at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Nancy currently serves as an artistic advisor to Backhausdance and mentors emerging choreographers. She continues to write and is working on a new dance history project focused on connecting young performers to their dance heritage.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

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 Dean Dale 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