Ann Williams of DBDT to Retire

Photo: Brian Guilliaux
Photo: Brian Guilliaux

WOW! I take a couple of months off to have a baby and I miss big news like this. Sorry for the delay.

I spoke to Ms Williams back in February (Click here to read my Q&A) and she kind of hinted at this, but I can’t believe she took the leap. While she will be missed I am excited to see who will be stepping into her shoes.

Here is the press release from the beginning of July:

Ann Williams, Founder and Creative Director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT) announced her plans to retire at the meeting of DBDT’s Board of Directors held on May 23.  Williams plans to make 2013-2014, the 37th Season of the company, her last at the creative reigns.

In addressing the board, Williams said, “I always wanted for DBDT to be an institution in the city of Dallas.  My goal was for it to always be here serving the community.  I think that we have done that.”

Williams began her vision 40 years ago with the creation of the Dallas Black Dance Academy – a training program to teach children and youth in the community fundamentals of dance.  Several students graduating from the program convinced Williams to create a dance company so that they would not have to leave the program or the bond that they had established with her.   Williams eventually yielded to their request and created Dallas Black Dance Theatre in 1976.

In 36 years, Dallas Black Dance Theatre has impacted the city, state and the nation.  It has served over 3 million arts patrons and over 2 million arts students have attended DBDT performances worldwide.  Dallas Black Dance Theatre has performed in 30 states, 14 countries and 5 continents; the Company has toured Peru, South Africa, Austria, Uganda, Japan, Great Britain, Italy, Canada and many other countries elevating its international reputation. DBDT has been designated as an “American Masterpiece Touring Artist” by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In 1999, DBDT purchased the historic Moorland YMCA (a Texas Historical site) on Flora Street which now serves as its permanent home for studio and office space.  In 2009, DBDT helped open the AT&T Performing Arts Center as a resident company of the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre.

A national search will begin to name a replacement for Williams.  A committee has been designated to review candidates for the prestigious position.

“It is time to pass the reigns,” said Williams.  “It was never my intent to die in this position,” she added with a smile.


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