Debra Austin joins the New York City Ballet  at the age of 16


In 1974, Debra Austin  joined the New York City Ballet at the age of 16 becoming the company’s first African-American female dancer.






Debra Austin began dancing when she was eight years old. At the age of twelve, she was awarded a scholarship to dance at the School of American Ballet in New York City. While a dance student at the School of American Ballet, she attended the Professional Children’s School for academics. She was handpicked by George Balanchine at age sixteen to join the New York City Ballet, officially becoming the company’s first African-American female dancer at age nineteen.

Anthony Bassae co-founds the Trockadero de Monte Carlo

In 1974, Anthony Bassae co-founded Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo, an all-male drag ballet company in New York City.









Arlene Croce, dance critic of the New Yorker, recently praised the Monte Carlo company as “dead on target and hilarious,” and went so far as to describe one member of the troupe, Anthony Bassae, as “a great ballerina.”

Source: 1975 New York Times Drag Ballet: Can Men Make It In a Women’s World? By


Anthony Bassae

Other Happenings


  • Mar 9th The last Japanese soldier surrenders 29 years after WWII ended.
  • Mar 29th Chinese farmer finds the 8,000 Terracotta Warriors guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.
  • May 18th India becomes the sixth nation to explode an atomic bomb.
  • July 1st Argentine President Juan Peron dies and his wife, the vice president, becomes the first female in the world to ever hold the title of “President.”
  • Dec 22nd The second cease-fire between Britain and the Provisional Irish Rebuplican Army lasts until April 1975.


  • Jan 2nd President Nixon imposes 55 MPH speed limit.
  • Jan 4th President Nixon refuses to give up the Watergate tapes.
  • May 2nd Former US Vice President Spiro Agnew is disbarred; prohibited from practicing law.
  • June 26th The Universal Product Code is first used to sell a package of Wrigley’s Gum in Ohio.
  • Aug 9th Richard Nixon resigns as US President and Gerald Ford is sworn in as the 38th President.
  • Sept 28th President Ford pardons Richard Nixon of all federal crimes.
  • Nov 21st The Freedom of Information Act is passed by Congress over President Ford’s veto.

Arts & Science:

  • Jan 12th The song “Joker” by the Steve Miller Band peaks at #1.
  • Jan 15th “Happy Days” tv show starts in 11 year run on ABC.
  • Jan 25th Christiaan Barnard performs the first heterotopic heart transplant, also known as the “piggyback transplant” where the donor heart is added without the removal of the original heart.
  • Feb 27th “People” magazine starts selling.
  • June 1st The Heimlich Maneuver is published in the Emergency Medicine journal.
  • June 23rd Earth sends the first message into space directed at Extraterrestrials.
  • Nov 16th ABBA starts first European tour, first tour outside of Sweden.

Human & Civil Rights:

  • July 29th The Episcopal Church ordains its first female priests.
  • Oct 9th Frank Robinson is hired by the Cleveland Indians as the first black baseball team manager.
  • Oct 9th Race riots in Boston occur because of busing desegregation.
  • Oct 29th Discrimination of gender or marital status in credit applications is banned by law.


  • Mar 26th George Foreman TKOs Ken Norton in the 2nd round for the heavyweight boxing title.
  • April 6th Yankees play their first game in Shea Stadium.
  • April 8th Hank Aaron hits his 715th home-run, beating Babe Ruth’s record. His career total is 755.
  • May 4th The 100th Kentucky Derby takes place.
  • Aug 7th Philippe Petit tightrope walks between the Twin Towers.
  • Oct 18th Nate Thurmond is the first NBA player to achieve a quadruple-double: 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, and 12 blocks.
  • Oct 30th Muhammad Ali KOs George Foreman in the 8th Round of The Rumble in the Jungle.

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