An American Icon: Ballerina Lauren Anderson in Conversation

Lauren Anderson in Firebird costume
September 14, 2022 - 7:00 PM
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African Arts + Culture

The UNC Charlotte Department of Dance, in partnership with Charlotte Ballet and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, presents a community conversation with ballerina Lauren Anderson, former principal dancer at Houston Ballet.

Ayisha MacMillan Cravotta, who studied with Anderson in Houston, danced with Houston Ballet and Charlotte Ballet, and is now the director of the Charlotte Ballet Academy, will lead the discussion. Anderson will be joined in conversation by UNC Charlotte dance alumni Chandra McCloud Glover, dance department chair at Northwest School of the Arts, and Dedrick Perkins, founder/owner of Dedrick’s Dance District.

This free public event is part of Anderson’s residency, co-hosted by Charlotte Ballet and the UNC Charlotte Department of Dance and funded by an Inclusive Excellence Grant from UNC Charlotte’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. During her time in Charlotte, Ms. Anderson will teach classes at UNC Charlotte and Charlotte Ballet, including a public masterclass on Saturday, September 17. 

Registration is required; please register here.

About Lauren Anderson

Lauren Anderson headshotLauren 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. 

In 1990 Anderson 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. That same year, she received The Special Jury Award in the USA International Ballet Competition and in 1996, the International Critics award in Chile.

In April 1999, Anderson was featured on the cover of Dance Magazine and has also been featured in People and Pointe magazines, as well as on the television programs "A&E Breakfast with the Arts," "CBS News Sunday Morning," “Top Chef” 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, the Texas Legislature, and the United States Congress.

In January 2007, 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.

Above: Lauren Anderson in "Firebird." Photo by Geoff Winningham.