Ebony Williams

Class of
Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher

Contemporary dancer Ebony Williams B.F.A. ’05, contemporary dance, has done everything from train with the Boston Ballet to perform commercially with the likes of Rihanna, Fergie, and Beyoncé in her 2009 “Single Ladies” music video. 

How have you been keeping yourself busy?

I’ve been with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet for 10 years now, and I’ve also been dancing in the commercial world, performing in live shows, doing videos, assisting and referencing for artists, and choreographing. I’m also teaching, and happy to say that one of my students recently won the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) competition!

How did the Conservatory prepare you for what you're doing now?

I was totally retrained at the Conservatory. Before I attended, I took six years off from dance, so I had to start from the beginning. During my time there, I received amazing technical training and gained essential versatility. I think the best thing about the Conservatory is that the teachers are completely hands on—absolutely no student is invisible.

You've done so many different things in the dance world. Why do you think it's important for a dancer to be versatile?

Versatility is the key to success. The more you can bring to the table, the more opportunities you’ll have.

What inspires you?

I find new inspiration all the time. These last few years that I’ve spent working with young dancers—the future of the industry—have had a deep impact on me. Their curiosity, hunger, and eagerness to learn are amazing to watch. It is a reminder that I'm blessed.

Where is the most interesting place you have danced?

I really enjoyed and found a lot of inspiration performing in Israel. It's a place filled with so much history and tradition, but they are very receptive to modern dance.

You've worked in all areas of the dance word: how do you feel the industry is changing?

The industry has changed a great deal over the years. Sometimes, the changes are amazing, and sometimes they make things challenging. For example, there are fewer dance companies out there, which might make it harder for a dancer to find a job, but because of this, dancers are pushed to start their own companies, which is great. The addition of social media has also been a great resource for the dance world. People who wouldn't ordinarily see dance have so many opportunities to do so with the internet and television. Another great change is that the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) is educating young dancers in the business aspects of dance in a really beneficial way. I think it is really necessary to teach young dancers how to take care of themselves. All we can do is keep moving forward as a community.

This profile is an excerpt from the original story that appears on bostonconservatory.berklee.edu.