Hartford Ballet: Principal (1968-1970)
Dance Theatre of Harlem (1971-1977)
Scottish National Ballet (1977, 1980)
San Francisco Ballet (1981-1986)
Born in Mineola, Texas on March 2, 1947, Paul Russell trained at the Dance Theatre of Harlem School and the School of American Ballet, both in New York City. Before beginning this ballet training, he attended Pasadena City College and UCLA. He first performed with the Hartford Ballet and the following year, Russell joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem. He moved to Leningrad in 1977 to train with Natalya Dudinskaya and soon after, performed the role of Siegfried with the Scottish National Ballet. He is thought to be the first Black man to perform this role in a full-length production of Swan Lake. He danced with San Francisco Ballet starting in 1981 until his retirement in 1986/7, after which he became the artistic director of the American Festival Ballet of Boise, Idaho.
On February 15, 1991, Russell died of AIDS at age 43 in San Francisco, in the company of his longtime companion Randy Griffin.
Dance | 1980-1-12, Routes: A Guide to African-American Culture
Paul Russell, 43, Leading Dancer for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, The New York Times
Paul Russell, Variety
Paul Lawrence Russell, Texas State Historical Association
Le Corsaire with Susan Lovelle (photo)
The Black Ballet Barrier, The Washington Post