Dance Theatre of Harlem (1977-2004) Royal Ballet: Guest
Donald Williams studied under Larry Long at the Ruth Page Foundation in his hometown of Chicago, IL and later the Dance Theatre of Harlem school on scholarship. In 1977, he joined the company and became principal in 1983.
Over his 27-year tenure with the company, Williams performed in the original DTH casts of Robert North’s Troy Game (1978); George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments (1979) and Stars and Stripes (1984); Carlos Carvajal’s Secret Silence (1979); Carmen de Lavallade’s Sensemaya (1979); John Taras’ Firebird (1982); Valerie Bettis’ A Streetcar Named Desire (1982); Geoffrey Holder’s Banda (1982); Domy Reiter-Soffer’s Equus: The Ballet (1982); David Lichine’s Graduation Ballet (1983); Glen Tetley’s Voluntaries (1984) and Dialogues (1991); Claude Debussy’s La Mer (1985); David Gordon’s Piano Movers (1985); Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free (1985); Billy Wilson’s Concerto in F (1986); Garth Fagan’s Footprints Dressed in Red (1986); Michael Smuin’s Medea (1992), A Song for Dead Warriors (1993), and St. Louis Woman: A Blues Ballet (2003); Arthur Mitchell and Rachel Sekyi’s Bach Passacaglia (1993), Alonzo King’s Signs and Wonders (1995) and Ground (1996); Robert Garland’s The Joplin Dances, (1995), Return (1999), and New Bach (2001); Kenneth MacMillian’s Las Hermanas (1996); Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe’s Sasanka (1997); John Alleyne’s Adrian (Angel on Earth) (1997); José Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane (1997); Louis Johnson’s Soul on Pointe (1998); Dwight Rhoden’s Twist (1999); Robert La Fosse and Robert Garland’s Tributary (2000); and Augustus van Heerden’s Memento Mori (To Remember Death) (2000).
In 1993, The Baltimore Sun praised Williams’ and his partner Christiana Johnson’s “magnificent sense of timing and strong vibrant technique” in Glen Tetley’s Dialogues and their “nearly flawless performance” in Le Corsaire.
Williams has performed as a guest artist with the Royal Ballet and the International Ballet Festival, Cuba.
His film credits include The Cotton Club and PBS’s Dance in America recording of A Streetcar Named Desire and Firebird. Williams also appeared in the Broadway cast of Ragtime and The Phantom of the Opera’s national tour.
He has been an instructor at Ballet Academy East, The Ailey School, Dance Theatre of Harlem’s school, and the Cedar Lake Ensemble, among others.
Williams is now a member of the dance faculty at Tulane University.