Although Nora Orphanides has built an illustrious career in dance, she didn’t start out in the field. It was only after she became a speech pathologist that she realized her passions lay elsewhere. Inspired by her uncle, who danced with Fred Astaire, she began to pursue dance professionally and fell in love with it. Ms. Orphanides joined the staff of the Princeton Ballet School in 1983, and remained there until her retirement in 2012. The school honored her with the title of trustee emeritus in 1992 and faculty emeritus in 2012, and she holds both to this day. She is also presently lending her expertise to her role as an adviser for the American Ballet Studio Company and as the president and CEO of Orphanides and Associates LLC.
With a deep personal commitment to the arts, Ms. Orphanides has given her time and experience for the benefit of various arts programs. She has been the fundraising gala chairman for the Princeton Ballet, chairman of the Nutcracker Ballet, and the dinner chairman for the Nassau Church Music Festival and the Handel Festival. She also served as the chairman of the Christmas Boutique at the Princeton Medical Center, the choreographer for the Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, the co-chairman of the American Ballet Theatre Spring Gala, and the benefit chairman for Dancing Classrooms of the American Ballroom Theatre Company.
Ms. Orphanides is active in Seeds of Peace, a leadership development organization that brings youth and educators to a camp in Maine, where they learn to empower youth from areas of conflict in the world, like the Middle East and Israel, to work for a better future.
Recognizing the powerful role that the arts can play in helping people develop critical life skills, Ms. Orphanides joined the National Patrons Council of Americans for the Arts in 2008. Through her years of dedicated service to a range of arts and health care institutions, and experience as a teacher and businesswoman, she has a deep understanding of the importance of individual connections. This understanding led her to host Americans for the Arts first National Patrons Council Salon, bringing together artists, business leaders, patrons, and nonprofit leaders to talk about the critical importance of the arts and art education. Ms. Orphanides works tirelessly to support the arts in all their forms and seeks to inspire others to follow her example.
In recognition of her accomplishments in the arts, Ms. Orphanides was named an honoree of the Princeton Ballet in 1999, and was a recipient of the Edward R. and Irene D. Farley Community Stewardship Award from the Eden Institute Foundation in 2003. She also received the Eden Dreams Visionary Award in 2013. Additionally, Ms. Orphanides received the 2017 Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award and is listed in numerous editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in Entertainment, Who’s Who in the East, and Who’s Who in the World.
Ms. Orphanides prepared for her endeavors by earning a Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College-CUNY in 1973. She also studied at the American Ballet Center, the official school of the Joffrey Ballet, from 1970 to 1975, and completed postgraduate studies at the Princeton Ballet School from 1976 to 1986. She is a master teacher of ballroom dance and is certified as a speech and hearing handicapped teacher.
When she is not out promoting the arts, Ms. Orphanides enjoys playing the piano and golfing.