Debra received a scholarship to the School of American Ballet when she was 12. At 16, she was handpicked by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet. While at New York City Ballet, Debra danced many principal roles by both Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, one of which was filmed for a PBS television special, Live From Lincoln Center. She later joined the Zurich Ballet in Switzerland where she danced principal roles in works by all of the major choreographers. Ms. Austin toured with the company throughout Europe. After her return to the United States, she was invited to join Pennsylvania Ballet as a principal dancer where she danced roles in Swan Lake, Coppelia, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Giselle and La Sylphide. She went on to assist Lynne Taylor-Corbett in Ms. Taylor-Corbett’s ballet The Dancing Princesses, and in Florida was a preliminary judge for the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts.