Doris M. Driver died Nov. 24 at Waveny Care Center after a five-year battle with Alzheimer's.

Mrs. Driver was born in Ottawa, Canada, on Jan. 12, 1924, where she began her ballet training at a young age. She fell in love with dance and moved to New York City in the 1940s to pursue a professional career. Mrs. Driver appeared in numerous productions, including Broadway's "Kiss Me Kate" and Radio City Music Hall's "Christmas Spectacular" as a Rockette. She marrying Donald Driver in 1953 and retired to Lewisburg, N.Y., to start a family.

Ballet remained Mrs. Driver's true love and passion, so she founded The New Canaan Academy of Dance, now known as New England Academy of Dance, in 1968. Over the years, she trained dancers of all ages and staged numerous recitals. In 1985, she produced the studio's first annual "Nutcracker" performance, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in December. In the mid-1990s, Mrs. Driver hired professional dancers from New York City to perform principal roles in the studio's productions, which is how she met Ted Thomas and twin sisters Ginna and Frances Ortiz.

In 2003, Mrs. Driver retired from her position as director of New England Academy of Dance, passing the role to Ginna, Frances and Ted. She maintained an active presence at the studio until illness kept her at home.

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She lived at her home in New Canaan with her beloved cat, Sashi, under the care of Ted and Frances. She permanently moved to Waveny Care Center in 2008.

Survivors include her daughter-in-law, Olivia Driver, and granddaughter Juliana, of Brazil; sister, Mary Ramsay, of Calgary, Canada; and brother Bill Atkinson of Oceanside, Calif.

She was predeceased by her husband and two sons, Shan and Dion.

A celebration of Mrs. Driver's life will be held at the New England Academy of Dance in New Canaan April 3 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. NEAD welcomes members of the community to join in remembering Mrs. Driver. New England Dance Theater company members will perform, and a short video about her life will be presented.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Doris Driver Scholarship Fund at New England Academy of Dance, 231 Main Street, New Canaan, CT 06840.