‘Houston Ballet: Season Preview and Community Impact’

October 13, 2016

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Join us to preview highlights from Houston Ballet's current 2016-2017 season, including the world premiere of The Nutcracker.  Also hear about Houston Ballet's extensive education and community outreach programs, which last year impacted over 54,000 students from across the city of Houston.



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 the Houston Ballet Academy from the age of seven. She joined Houston Ballet in 1983 as a member of the Corps de Ballet, was promoted to Soloist in 1987, 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 January 2007, Ms. Anderson assumed her new role in Houston Ballet’s Education and Community Engagement program where she 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. 

In the fall of 2016, a collection of mementos from her career became a part of the permanent exhibition in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.


Jennifer Clagett Sommers holds an MFA in Dance, Performance and Choreography from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.   She has performed with Laura Dean Musicians and Dancers, Street Signs Center for Literature and Performance, and the Albany Berkshire Ballet, where she also served as Ballet Mistress.  
Her dance honors include a scholarship to Jacob’s Pillow Choreography Workshop, a Durham Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant, and a Lake Region Arts Council grant in support of new work.  From 2000-2005, she served as the Associate Director of Raleigh Dance Theatre (a Southeastern Regional Ballet Association Honor Company) and on the faculty of Meredith College.  From 2005-2008, she served on the faculty of the University of Minnesota Morris and taught both dance and interdisciplinary courses.  
She relocated to Houston in 2008 and launched a dance program at KIPP Sharpstown College Prep.  She joined the Houston Ballet Education Outreach department in 2010 where she teaches dance and dance integration classes to students and teachers throughout Houston and greater Harris County. She also teaches for Houston Ballet Academy, and has served on the faculty of and choreographed for the University of Houston.