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Transcript of interview with Nancy Houssels by Claytee D. White, March 19, 2014







Nancy Claire Houssels, co-founder of Nevada Ballet Theater and board member of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the UNLV Foundation, International Women’s Forum, and the Women’s Leadership Council United Way, first arrived in Las Vegas in 1966 as a 31-year-old to dance in Frederic Apcar’s Casino de Paris show at the Dunes. After nearly two years in Las Vegas, she left and vowed to never return. However, Maynard Sloate, producer of the new Folies Bergère at the Tropicana came to New York to entice Nancy and her dance partner to return to Las Vegas in 1968 to open the show. Her relationship with Las Vegas took an unexpected turn after she had dinner with the man who signed her paycheck, hotel owner, J. Kell Houssels Jr., and his divorce lawyer. J. K. Houssels fired Nancy and they married in her home town of Piedmont, California, in 1970. Since that time the Houssels have lived in Ward 1’s Rancho Circle. Houssels shares the history of Rancho Circle, which began in the 1940s as a racially restricted area. Rancho Circle has its own security and homeowners draw water from the Rancho Circle Water Cooperative, but there are no CC&Rs because homeowners have not agreed on them. Formerly a volunteer at Childhaven Nancy co-founded the Nevada Dance Theater (now Nevada Ballet Theater) with Vassili Sulich in 1972. The group performed at the Judy Bayley Theatre and Artemus Ham Hall at UNLV but extensive community outreach and grants from Summa Corporation and the Don Reynolds Foundation earned the group a permanent home facility in Summerlin. See “Downtown Las Vegas Living: Tour Nancy and Kell Houssels estate!”

Digital ID



Nancy Houssels oral history interview, 2014 March 19. OH-00896. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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AN INTERVIEW WITH NANCY HOUSSELS An Oral History Conducted by Claytee D. White West Charleston Neighborhoods: An Oral History Project of Ward 1 Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©The West