The history of Breaking Boundaries at houston ballet

Breaking Boundaries is a series conversations with the Black dancers of Houston Ballet, both past and present, that took place on Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic. These conversations provide an intimate look into the experiences of Black men and women in ballet as well as discuss the BIPOC movement that has made an impact on America and the Houston community since the summer of 2020.


Breaking Boundaries Live

In celebration of Black History Month in February 2021, Houston Ballet hosted a groundbreaking live conversation with a panel of current and former Black dancers to continue the conversation around “Breaking Boundaries” in the world of dance. Hosted by ABC 13’s Melanie Lawson, with co-hosts Lauren Anderson and Harper Watters, the illustrious panel was composed of dancers across multiple generations of Houston Ballet fame, including Adrian Vincent James, Sandra Organ, Kiya Sturm, Caleb Mitchell, Ayisha McMillan, Cleopatra Williams, Daniel Durrett, Kellen Hornbuckle and Naazir Muhammad.

Catch up with Episodes 1-4


Episode 1

Join Moderator Melanie Lawson, news anchor with ABC13, as she moderates a conversation with the first Black dancers in Houston Ballet's history: the first Black dancer to join the Company in 1976, Adrian Vincent James, the first Black female dancer, Sandra Organ, and the first Black Principal dancer, Lauren Anderson. 

Watch Now


Episode 2

After talking to the "firsts" in Houston Ballet history, this episode features the Company's three current Black dancers - Soloist Harper Watters and Corps de Ballet members Kellen Hornbuckle and Naazir Muhammad. Led by Harper, the conversation covers their paths to becoming professionals and explores the differences and similarities in each of their stories as Black dancers. 

Watch Now

"Through an Educator's Lens"

Episode 3

In the 3rd episode of our Breaking Boundaries series, moderator Lauren Anderson discusses the Black experience in the world of ballet through the eyes of dance educators with former Houston Ballet dancers Ayisha McMillan Cravotta, Caleb Mitchell, and Katlyn Addison.

Watch Now


"Through the Male Dancer's Lens"

Episode 4

In the final episode of the series, moderator KPRC's Khambrel Marshall dives into the Black experience in ballet through the lens of male dancers. Former Houston Ballet dancers from three different eras, Chavo Killingsworth, Daniel Durrett and Rupert Edwards, discuss how being Black in ballet effected their careers and what makes them excited for the long-awaited progress they've seen in 2020.

Watch Now