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Ann Williams Still Being Recognized for Continuous Contributions to the Arts

SL Drew, Zenetta, Nasher, Nancy, Williams, Ann
Zenetta Drew, Nancy Nasher and Ann Williams

From the depths of Africa to the soul of America, dance has been a rich part of the African- American culture. The vibrant movements and depth of the rhythmic beat have been a strong source of expression throughout history. As we celebrate Black History Month, this cultural richness is shared by the founder of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre (DBDT), Ann Williams.

Although it has been almost 8 years since she retired from DBDT, Williams remains active on the Board of Directors of DBDT. She is also actively involved with the International Association of Blacks in Dance, Prairie View University Alumnae Association, Board of Directors of Ursuline Academy of Dallas and Advisory Board Member of The Martin Luther King Center in Dallas.

Ann Williams
Ann Williams

Williams as a Dallas History maker recently received the Lifetime Achievement Arts Award presented by the Business Council for the Arts. The Business Council for the Arts encourages, inspires, and stimulates businesses and municipalities to support the arts in the workplace, in education, and in the community.

She was a member of the first arts leadership class in 1988, founded by the late Raymond Nasher, who was a well-known and respected art collector, real estate developer and banker.

Williams said, “It has been my life’s work to build a lasting institution with its foundations in choreographic excellence and the talents of Black dancers. Now in our 45th anniversary year, Dallas Black Dance Theatre continues to change lives and impact communities, buoyed by new generations of artists and supporters. I am so pleased of the present leadership team at DBDT, Melissa Young, Artist Director and Zenetta Drew, Executive Director.”

Williams grew DBDT from a community-based organization and a semi-professional organization to a fully professional dance company recognized as the fourth largest black dance company in the nation. DBDT tours annually throughout the state, nationally and internationally. During its history, the company has performed in 31 states, 16 countries, and on five continents.

Zenetta Drew, the executive director of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, nominated Williams for this prestigious award. Drew said, “Ann Williams is a visionary extraordinaire who inspires everyone and everything she touches. She taught me that with passion, commitment, and hard work, your dreams are just unrealized realities.”

Williams is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Trinity Chapter of The Links, Inc., Dallas Chapter Associates of Jack and Jill of America, Lifetime member of NAACP, and the Black Chamber of Commerce.

Throughout her life, Williams has placed a high value on education. She is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University and was the first African American to receive a Master of Arts Degree in Dance and Related Arts from Texas Woman’s University.

She holds a certificate in Arts Management from Texas A&M University, she has received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humanities from Northwood University, and in May 2008 was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Dance from TWU.

At the age of 84, Williams enjoys playing bridge and is currently working on her autobiography.

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