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. In January 2007, Ms. 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. She joined Houston Ballet in 1983 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. In addition, Ms. Anderson received the Special Jury Award at the 1990 International Ballet Competition as well as the International Critics Award in Chile.
Ms. Anderson danced leading roles in numerous classical ballets. Her repertoire included works by George Balanchine, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Christopher Bruce, James Kudelka, and Trey McIntyre. Ms. 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 on her.” Ms. Anderson performed across the world as a guest artist, appearing in New York, Chile, Moscow, and Chicago. In April 1999, Ms. Anderson was featured on the cover of Dance Magazine. She has also been featured in the magazines People and Pointe, as well as on the television programs “A&E Breakfast With the Arts,” “CBS News Sunday Morning,” 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, Delta Gamma Foundation, Texas Woman’s Chamber of Commerce, Houston City Council, and the Texas Legislature. Ms. Anderson is also an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Ms. Anderson was awarded the Jefferson Award for Community Service in 2011. She is also on the Board of ARTS IN MOTION and helps with DANSCAPE each year at the hobby center in Houston raising awareness for Can-Care, Ovarian Cancer and Ronald McDonald house of Houston. Ms. Anderson is the proud parent of Lawrence Bell Fitzgerald Turner.
Brittany Lyn Hazen is a recent graduate from the University of Houston with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. She began dancing at the young age of three. She danced competitively with Jamie’s Dance Force for eleven years in Boardman, Ohio. In addition to dance, Brittany spent many years participating in musical theatre at the play house in her home town. Some of her favorite performances include Godspell, Little Shop of Horrors and an off-Broadway tap show through Break The Floor productions in New York City. She has taken class from choreographers such as Tavis Wall, Napoleon and Tabitha, and Mandy Moore from So You Think You Can Dance. Her favorite style of dance is tap. This will be Brittany’s third year teaching and choreographing at Instep.