Interview with Nancy Matschek Martino (2015)


Interview with Nancy Matschek Martino (2015)


Streaming Media


Nancy Matschek Martino led the Dance Department at Portland State University from 1973 until 1992 and served as the administrative director of the Portland Ballet Company. Her work as a performer, choreographer, and educator is recognized for bringing national attention to Portland dance.

Recorded for the documentary Moving History: Portland Contemporary Dance Past and Present

Interview Date





Nancy Matschek (Martino) was the head of Portland State University’s dance department from 1973 until it was dismantled in 1992. As the department head, she was responsible for bringing Merce Cunningham and other national touring acts to Portland.

Matschek also served as the administrative director of the Portland Ballet Company, which was in residence at Portland State University. During Matschek’s time, PSU’s dance company, The Company We Keep, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help pay dancers’ salaries for the 1986-87 season. Portland State University was only the second dance company in Oregon to receive an NEA grant.

Matschek earned a degree in dance from the University of Oregon. She went on to continue her studies in Washington, D.C. at the National Ballet, as well as George Washington University.

Her talent as choreographer, dancer, educator, and administrator can be seen in the dancers she worked with. Minh Tran, Dance faculty at Reed College, credited Matschek for inspiring and supporting his own artistic accomplishments:

"I would not be doing this without the dance department at PSU and Nancy Matschek," Tran says. Matschek, former head of the department, "is the one who saw things in me I didn't know were there, didn't know I had that potential." (Oregonian, May 11, 1993)

Interviewer Eric Nordstrom is a dance performer, filmmaker and professor. As a director and editor, his interests focus on the intersection of dance, improvisation, documentary, and film. His past and current film work features such prominent dancers and scholars as Ann Cooper Albright and Simone Forti. In Seattle, he has performed with Karen Nelson, and in Portland, Oregon, was a core company member with Oslund+Company. Eric has taught contemporary technique, contact improvisation, and dance film courses in colleges and festivals throughout the U.S., including Macalester College, Kenyon College, Reed College, Portland State University, Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, Conduit Dance, and The Ohio State University, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts. He is on faculty at Lewis and Clark College.


This interview is made available through the Portland State University Library Special Collections and University Archives with the generous permission of Eric Nordstrom, Portland Performing Arts Video and is for educational and non-commercial use only. It cannot be reproduced in any form, distributed or played for commercial purposes. For more information, please contact Special Collections at Portland State University Library at: or (503) 725-9883

Persistent Identifier

Interview with Nancy Matschek Martino (2015)