Lauren Anderson (dancer)

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Lauren Anderson
Born (1965-02-19) February 19, 1965 (age 55)
OccupationBallet dancer
Former groupsHouston Ballet (1983–2006)

Lauren Anderson (born February 19, 1965)[1] is an American ballet dancer and a former principal dancer with the Houston Ballet. In 1990, she was one of the first African-American ballerinas to become a principal for a major dance company, an important milestone in American ballet.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Lauren was the only child of Lawrence Anderson, a school administrator, and Doris Parker-Morales, a classical piano teacher. From the age of seven she trained at Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy. She is a Houston native and graduated from Lamar High School in 1982.[4]


Anderson joined the Houston Ballet in 1983 and became a principal dancer in 1990.[5] She was the second African-American female ballet dancer to be promoted to principal dancer at a major American ballet company, eight years after Debra Austin was promoted at the Pennsylvania Ballet.[2]

Her performance of the title role in Cleopatra gave her international recognition. She has also performed works by George Balanchine and Sir Kenneth MacMillan, among others. Ms. Anderson originated the role of Cleopatra in the ballet of the same name created by Ben Stevenson, and her performance received reviews; the Boston Globe called Ms. Anderson "a powerhouse in interpreting the role that Stevenson created on her." Anderson was the first African-American principal dancer at Houston Ballet and the only African-American prima ballerina at the head of a major ballet company anywhere in the world.

Anderson retired from performance in 2006.[5] In January 2007, she became an outreach associate in the Houston Ballet’s education department. In that capacity, she teaches ballet classes at Houston Ballet’s academy and conducts master classes at schools in the Houston area. She is also in demand as a lecturer on the subject of ballet.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Anderson was married to jazz saxophonist Kyle Turner. They have one son named Lawrence. Anderson is a strong Christian, and attends St. James Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, where she is involved in forming the dance ministry ensemble, Holy Spirit Dancers. She often teaches at a professional school called "The Link School of the Arts" in Michigan. She calls The Link her "second home".[7]


  1. ^ "Lauren Anderson." Contemporary Black Biography. Gale, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Debra Austin sets record straight: She was the first African American woman to be the principal dancer with a major US ballet company | News & Observer". July 13, 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  3. ^ Kourlas, Gia (May 6, 2007). "Dance: Where Are All the Black Swans?". The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  4. ^ "Distinguished HISD Alumni". Houston Independent School District. Archived from the original on May 15, 2012. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Cosgriff, Gabrielle (November 26, 2006). "Houston Ballet's Lauren Anderson readies her final bow". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  6. ^ "Lauren Anderson, Outreach Associate". Houston Ballet. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  7. ^ Wozny, Nancy (October 24, 2008). "Shining Star of Texas: Lauren Anderson lights up classrooms at Houston Ballet and beyond". Dance Studio Life. Archived from the original on September 25, 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2012.

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