Evan Williams

The Birmingham Royal Ballet

Photo via The Guardian, June 1991.

Evan Williams, from North London, England, was inspired to dance by the character of Leroy in the 1980 film Fame. Though he began taking modern dance at age 11, it wasn’t until he was 13 that Williams began his ballet training. Williams later auditioned for the Royal Ballet School, the Rambert School of Ballet, and London Contemporary Dance and was accepted into all three schools, reportedly the first and only Black man to do so. He accepted his offer from the Royal Ballet School and trained there for three years. He then caught the eye of Birmingham Royal Ballet director Peter Wright. After touring with the company in New Zealand, Williams was offered a contract to become a permanent member of the company. In 1991, Williams became the first Black Brit to join the Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Williams’ repertoire with the company included the roles of Orion in David Bintley’s Sylvia, the Moor in Petrushka, and Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet.


Narratives in Black British Dance: Embodied Practices. Germany, Springer International Publishing, 2018.
Birmingham Royal Ballet/Sylvia, The Guardian
Fame decided dancer’s fortune, The Guardian
In love with a mug in a rug, The Observer

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