Donald Williams, a Chicago native, studied first with Larry Long of the Ruth Page Foundation, then accepted a scholarship to Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York City and subsequently joined the DTH company. He became a principal dancer in 1983 and ended a 27 year company career as Premier Danseur in 2004.
Known for his versatility, Mr. Williams’ repertoire encompasses ballet, jazz, African and contemporary idioms. His leading roles include Balanchine’s “Allegro Brilliante”, “Agon”, “The Four Temperaments” and “Who Cares”; Jerome Robbins’ “Fancy Free”; Glen Tetley’s “Voluntaries” and “Dialogues”; Iago in Jose Limon’s “Moors Pavane”; Baron Samedi in Geoffrey Holders “Banda”. Albrecht in “Giselle”, Siegfried in “Swan Lake”, “Le Corsaire” Pas de Deux, Dwight Rhodens’ “Ave Maria”(original cast) and “Twist”.
As a principal guest artist, Mr. Williams has performed with London’s Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, the International Ballet Festival in Cuba, partnered Cynthia Gregory in the “Gala of Stars” in Bilbao, Spain and starred in many international galas. He has worked with Complexions, Dances Patrelle and Fugate/Bahiri Ballet NY, creating critically acclaimed, original roles with them as well.
Mr. Williams made his film debut in “The Cotton Club” and starred in the Emmy nominated “A Streetcar Named Desire” which was broadcast over the PBS series Dance In America, as well as the Peabody Award winning “Firebird”, which was broadcast over PBS in the Kennedy Center Tonight Series. He was also featured in the Motown 30th Anniversary Special as well as numerous other television appearances and commercials.
In 1998 Mr. Williams made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award winning musical “Ragtime”. In 2000 he was principal guest artist in the New York City Ballet/Dance Theatre of Harlem collaboration for their Diamond Project dancing the principal roles in Robert Garland and Robert LaFosse’s “Tributary” and Balanchine’s “Agon”. He was featured in the national tour of “The Phantom of the Opera” and most recently with “Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular” at the Venetian Resort and Casino.
Mr. Williams’ teaching credits include; Company teacher for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cedar Lake Ensemble, Celine Dion: A New Day, Nevada Ballet Theater and Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater. School instructor for Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey, Ballet Academy East(NYC) and The Dance Center@ Keith Kleven Institute(Las Vegas). Guest Teacher for Marymount College and Florida State University among others. He was also personal trainer for Keanu Reeves for the film, “Devil’s Advocate”.