The AGMA Black Caucus is excited to host “Black Dancers Across Generations: A Panel Discussion” on Wednesday, January 26, at 7:00 p.m. ET. Lauren Anderson, former Principal Dancer with Houston Ballet, and Ashton Edwards, Apprentice with Pacific Northwest Ballet, are joining as special guest panelists! More panelists may be announced before the event.
Join the AGMA Black Caucus for a panel discussion with these professional Black dancers as they talk openly about their careers and how the pandemic has affected their artistry. There will be time for a Q&A!
All Black AGMA Artists in good standing are encouraged to attend this special event. Register here. The Zoom details will be sent in the days leading up to January 26.
About the Panelists
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 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.
Anderson is also an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Anderson was awarded the Jefferson Award for Community Service in 2011. Most recently, Ms. Anderson received the Barbara Jordan, Breaking Barriers Award from the Harris County Democratic Party. She has been honored by numerous organizations.
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 National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Ashton Edwards, originally from Flint, Michigan, started their training at the Flint School of Performing Arts. Ashton has attended summer ballet intensives at Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago, Houston Ballet School, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. In 2018, Ashton represented Flint in the NACCP National ACT-SO competition. In the Performing Arts, Ballet dance category, Ashton came in 3rd place, winning a bronze medal. Ashton competed again in 2020, coming in 2nd place, winning a silver medal.
In 2019, they began training at Pacific Northwest Ballet as a Professional Division student. The following year, Ashton started training en pointe at PNB in addition to his “Men’s” training. In the fall of 2021, Ashton joined Pacific Northwest Ballet Company as an apprentice with the intention of performing all roles regardless of gender. Ashton is a 2021 recipient of the Princess Grace Award for Dance. Ashton was also featured on the cover of the July/August 2021 issue of Dance Spirit Magazine.