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Black British Ballet

Evan Williams

Ethnic heritage: Black British (Jamaican parents)

Year of birth: 1971

Training: Royal Ballet Upper School 1987-1990

Ballet career: Evan Williams started dancing at age 12. A friend of his mother’s, seeing how much he loved to dance, encouraged him to take a jazz dance class at his local community centre on Stonebridge Park Estate. He was then further encouraged by his dance teacher Desiree Collins at Willesden High School to pursue classes in Contemporary Dance and Classical Ballet at The Young Place and The Weekend Arts College.

At age 16 he auditioned for and received a place at The Royal Ballet’s Upper School. After graduating in 1990, he was asked to join The Birmingham Royal Ballet, becoming the first black British dancer to work with the company. He left the company in 1994 to join The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in New York, and then went on to join Geneva Ballet in Switzerland.

Willaims returned to The UK in 2000 to re-train as a physiotherapist at St. George’s Hospital Medical School in London. He received his Doctorate Degree of Physical Therapy from Regis University in Denver, Colorado and now lives in the US.

The focus and discipline I acquired from my dance training and career has allowed me to achieve not one but two degrees, become fluent in Spanish, and start my own business. It has taken me around the world and opened me up to worlds and cultures I would never otherwise have been exposed to! The magic felt when onstage dancing, is how I imagine a bird feels when it flies through the air.
- Evan Williams