Lauren Anderson, a native Houstonian, 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 January 2007, Anderson assumed her new role of outreach associate in Houston Ballet's education department where she teaches ballet classes at Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy, conducts master classes at area schools, and lectures to students on dance and her historic career as one of America's most distinguished African-American ballerinas. She trained exclusively at Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy from the age of seven. In 1990 Anderson 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. In addition, Anderson received the Special Jury Award at the 1990 International Ballet Competition as well as the International Critics Award in Chile. Her repertoire included works by George Balanchine, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Christopher Bruce, James Kudelka, and Trey McIntyre. Anderson created the title role in Ben Stevenson's Cleopatra, and her performance as Cleopatra received accolades from international critics. Anna Kisselgoff of 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 for her." Anderson’s ballerina shoes from the 2006 Nutcracker, which would be her last performance in the historic Wortham Theater, now lives in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. Anderson is the proud mom to Lawrence Bell Fitzgerald Turner.