Madeleine Andress: Accidental Board Member Steps Up to the NBT Plate

BEFORE SHE GOT INVOLVED with Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT), Madeleine Andress had done more than her share of community service. Andress’s family moved to Las Vegas from New Orleans when she was high school age. As a freshman at Bishop Gorman High School, Andress got involved in academic clubs, student government, and sports. In senior year she represented Bishop Gorman at the Sun Youth Forum—a collaboration between the Las Vegas Sun and the Clark County School District founded in 1956 to gather high school students to discuss current events.

When Andress’s children were young she was actively involved in the parent-teacher association at their elementary school, St. Joseph’s, as well as at Bishop Gorman. She chaired major projects and fundraisers and served as PTA president. Andress also coached girls’ volleyball and softball and taught cooking classes to junior high school students. In between all this, she majored in English and history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

In 1973 Andress accepted an invitation to join the Junior League of Las Vegas (JLLV), further reinforcing her lifelong commitment to community service. She is a JLLV Sustaining Member and in 2012 received the organization’s Lifetime Community Achievement Award at the annual Paint the Town Red gala. She has been lauded for her work on the Advisory Board of the Junior League’s Community Garden.

Thank You, Wendy

In 2011 Andress was not in the market for more volunteer work, but her friend and NBT Board Co-Chair Wendy Plaster, who was very familiar with Andress’s many talents and ability to get things done, was keen to recruit her to the board. When the Andresses sent a large donation in support of NBT, Wendy mistook it as a headsup that Andress was interested in joining the board. Not long after Andress was surprised to receive a “Welcome to the NBT Board” letter—and thus began her inadvertent membership on the board.

Though dance fans, Andress and her husband, Don, had not been big on ballet, until now. The exposure has cultivated an appreciation for the genre; she and Don attend all performances. “It morphed into a whole other thing than what we anticipated, it has been a real growing and learning experience,” said Andress.

True to form, Andress is a hardworking board member. She has served as board president for the past two years and she and Don have sponsored performances. In addition, since “accidentally” falling into the role of development committee chair, she is busy recruiting other sponsors to help support NBT.

Bikes & Ballet

Andress and Don own Red Rock Harley-Davidson and Las Vegas Harley-Davidson. As part of her mission to get more people interested in ballet, Andress was instrumental in staging an event at one of their Harley stores—Bikes & Ballet—and it was there that NBT debuted its 4×8 series that takes the ballet to the people.

The 4×8 series was inspired by a donation from Celine Dion: A pressed board and neoprene sub-floor that dancers need installed to minimize risk of injury when performing on pointe. Artistic Director James Canfield came up with the idea of choreographing short pieces for a small, portable (4 feet by 8 feet) floor that could easily be laid down virtually anywhere in the city—greatly enhancing NBT’s ability to reach into the community and raise awareness of its art form. Learning to perform in such a small area was a challenge for the dancers—but James was confident in his troupe’s skill and talent. The series showcases both classical and contemporary ballet and has been very well received.

Bikes & Ballet turned out to be part of NBT’s 2009-2010 season promotion. And at another event at the Brett Wesley Gallery in downtown Las Vegas, the photos from the Harley shoot were displayed and offered for sale. For more information about these events and to get some insights into Madeleine’s valuable contributions to NBT, click here (

Previously published by diamondcake. Updated by smallTALK. Archived for Madeleine Andress.