Houston Treasures

Lauren Anderson

Houston Treasure for 2020

Photo by: Evin Thayer Studios

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, in 1987 was promoted to Soloist, and in 1990 became the first African-American to be promoted to principal dancer at Houston Ballet – and one of the few African-American ballerinas at the head of a major ballet company anywhere in the world.

Lauren has performed across the globe as a guest artist. 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.”

Lauren is also an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and was awarded the Jefferson Award for Community Service in 2011.  She has been honored by numerous organizations and recently received the Barbara Jordan, Breaking Barriers Award from the Harris County Democratic Party.

In January 2007, Ms. Anderson assumed her new role in Houston Ballet’s education department where she conducts master classes and lectures to students on dance and her historic career as one of America’s most distinguished African-American ballerinas. Her pointe shoes are on display in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.  Her greatest production to date is her son Lawrence Turner, who is not a dancer but a musician!

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