United States of America
Native Houstonian Lauren Anderson danced with Houston Ballet from 1983 to 2006, performing leading roles in all the great classical ballets, appearing across the world to critical acclaim, and in the process, becoming one of Houston Ballet’s most beloved stars.
She trained exclusively at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy from the age of seven. She joined Houston Ballet in 1983 as a Corps de Ballet, 1987 was promoted to Soloist and in 1990 became the first African-American to be promoted to principal dancer at Houston Ballet – and was one of the few African-American ballerinas at the head of a major ballet company anywhere in the world.
Ms. Anderson danced leading roles in all the classics. She created the title role in Ben Stevenson’s Cleopatra, and her performance as Cleopatra received accolades from international critics. Anna Kisselgoff, dance critic for The New York Times compared her to the great Italian actress Eleanora Duse, and Christine Temin of The Boston Globe pronounced her “a powerhouse in interpreting the role that Stevenson created on her.” Ms. Anderson has performed across the globe as a guest artist.
In 1990, Ms. Anderson received The Special Jury Award in the USA International Ballet Competition and in 1996, the International Critics award in Chile. In April 1999, she was featured on the cover of Dance Magazine. She’s been featured in the People magazine and Pointe, as well as on the television programs “A&E Breakfast with the Arts,” “CBS News Sunday Morning,” and the game show, “To Tell the Truth.” She has been honored by The Martin Luther King Foundation, Coalition of 100 Black Women, YWCA, by the Urban League, Asian Chamber of Commerce, Delta Gamma Foundation, Texas Woman’s Chamber of Commerce, National Council of Jewish Women, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Houston City Council, Texas Legislature, and the United States Congress and the list goes on. In 2000, Ms. Anderson was chosen to be an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She has received 2017 Texas Medal of Arts Award for contribution to the dance world. Most recently, Ms. Anderson received the Barbara Jordan, Breaking Barriers award from the Harris County Democratic Party, and she was inducted in the Texas Woman’s Hall of Fame.
In January 2007, Ms. Anderson assumed her present role in Houston Ballet’s education department where she conducts master classes at area schools, and lectures to students on dance and her historic career. She also teaches Master classes at conservatory dance academies around the world. Her pointe shoes are on display in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.