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Black British Ballet

Dr Patrick Williams

Ethnic heritage: Welsh biracial (Welsh Mother/Trinidadian Father)

Year of birth: 1956

Training: The Ailey School, New York

Ballet career: Dr Patrick Williams auditioned for the Royal Ballet in 1965/1966 but he was rejected because they did not train ‘coloured ‘children. This didn’t stop him from wanting to pursue a career in ballet even though he had no professional training.

In 1971, while visiting his father’s country Trinidad, the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater company was touring, and Williams auditioned for Alvin Ailey who was impressed with his natural movements. Ailey recruited Williams to train with the company in New York and in 1976 he joined the company for two years. Rudolf Nureyev often visited the company and invited Williams to perform with the Paris Opera Ballet as a guest Principal dancer in 1989. When he returned to the UK after four years in Paris, he joined English National Ballet.

Dance career: Williams has performed in Michael Jackson’s video Thriller, danced with Madonna in Manchester, toured with Janet Jackson on her Rhythm Nation tour, and Grace Jones, and worked with many professional artists. He was also the Head of dance at North Tyneside College in North Shields and has led a diverse and international career in the dance world.

Never give up on your dream, no matter how many doors are closed to you, one will open somewhere.
- Dr Patrick Williams