Misty Copeland may be the most recognizable Black almost-principal ballet dancer right now. But she’s not the first.
Lauren Anderson danced with the Houston Ballet from 1983 until her retirement in 2006. Born and bred in Houston, she began training at the company’s Ben Stevenson Academy (named for the company’s artistic director, now emeritus) before joining the company itself.
In 1990, Anderson was named principal dancer. She was the Black woman to achieve the rank within the Houston Ballet, but also became one of the most visible Black classical ballet principal dancers within a major company.
The above photo shows Anderson dancing with Carlos Acosta in the Houston Ballet’s 2006 production of “Don Quixote.”