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Ann M. Williams
Ann M. Williams founded Dallas Black Dance Theatre in 1976. She is a founding member of the Dance Council of North Texas, the Advisory Board of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and The International Association of Blacks in Dance.
She received her early dance training under Barbara Hollis (a member of the Katherine Dunham Dance Company), Edith James, Doris Humphrey, and Charles Weidman. She received additional training under Alvin Ailey and Arthur Mitchell. Ms. Williams is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University and the first African American to earn a Master of Arts Degree in Dance and Related Arts from Texas Woman’s University. She was honored as a “distinguished alumna” by both Universities in 1990. She holds a certificate in Arts Management from Texas A&M University, received an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Northwood University, and in May 2008 was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Dance from TWU. She served six years on the Texas Woman’s University Board of Regents. She is a 2002 inductee into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame; and in April 2005, she was honored at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. as a part of the Masters of African–American Choreography series.
She has received many awards and honors for her support and commitment to the arts and service organizations including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Phi Delta Kappa, Sankofa Foundation Legacy Award of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Dallas Dance Council, NAACP, the Dallas Historical Society, The Real Estate Council’s “Dreamers, Doers & Heroes,” Award, TACA (The Auction for the Cultural Arts) Award For Excellence in the Performing Arts.
Ms. Williams is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Trinity Chapter–The Links, Inc., The Society, Inc.–Dallas Chapter, Charter 100, Dallas Chapter Associates of Jack and Jill of America, Lifetime member of NAACP, The Dallas Holidays Bridge Group, Bridge Interest Group, and the 13 Hearts Bridge Club.
For 40 years, Ms. Williams directed Dallas Black Dance Theatre from a community-based organization and a semi-professional organization to a full professional dance company. The company performs in the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre located in the AT&T Performing Arts Center and tours yearly throughout the State, Nationally and Internationally. During its 40 year history the Company has performed in 31 States, 15 Countries and on 5 Continents. The Dallas Black Dance Academy serves over 550 students weekly in classes of Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap, African and Hip Hop. Additionally, Ms. Williams founded four performance ensembles—DBDT: Encore! and three Ensembles of the Dallas Black Dance Academy. DBDT is located at 2700 Ann Williams Way, located in the Dallas Arts District, its newly renovated building formerly the Moorland YMCA.
She is an active dance consultant and has served as a panelist for many city, state and national agencies. Presently she serves on The International Association of Blacks In Dance, Ursuline Academy of Dallas and the Dallas Summer Musicals Management Group. She is also a fine arts consultant to the Houston Energized for Excellence STEM Academies.
For 44 years, she was married to the late Nathaniel Williams, a retired administrator of the Dallas Independent School District. They are the parents of Angelia Williams Chancellor, a graduate of Florida A&M University School of Business and Industry and The University of Dallas School of Business Management.
In May of 2014, Ms. Williams officially retired as Artistic Director of the organization. She remains actively involved with the dance company as an emeritus member of the Board of Directors.
Photo by: Brian Guilliaux