NED WILLIAMS, JR. • DUNHAM TECHNIQUE
Ned Williams Jr. was born in Walterboro SC. At the early age of 13, he migrated to New York with only $2, and a steadfast determination to make someone of himself. In his early 20s Ned Williams decided to pursue dance and began attending classes at Katherine Dunham School. His diligence would soon earn him a scholarship to continue studying with Dunham. Before long, Mr. Williams would secure his place in the Dunham Experimental Group, continually earning high praise from his teachers—Emile Faustin, Syvilla Fort, Marie Bryant and Katherine Dunham—who remain his mentors to this day.
After the Dunham days, Mr. Williams decided to share his wealth of dance knowledge by teaching. His vast teaching experience include renowned centers as Dance Theatre of Harlem, Syvilla Fort School, The Ballet School of Puerto Rico and his own dance school which he operated for 35 years without grants. Mr. Williams refused grants because “they tend to be controlling and make you feel weak.” Through the doors of Mr. William’s school passed an elite student body that included Alvin Ailey—who Mr. Williams gave a chance at becoming a dance genius when no one else would—Myrna White, Andy Torres, Lou Gossette Jr., Catherine Battle, Alice Ghostly, Kate Ballard, Della Reese, actor Canada Lee Jr., Lorraine Hansbury, author of A Raisin in the Sun and Rex Harrison. Today, at the tender age of 76, Mr. Williams still teaches 10-12 classes per week and attributes his longevity to his fervent love for dance.
Throughout his illustrious career Mr. Williams toured extensively in Europe, the Caribbean and the US. Mr. Williams has also been successful in putting his work on Broadway. A career like Mr. Williams’ never goes unnoticed. He has won 7 dance awards, which include Best Dance Teacher in 1999. A humble Mr. Williams in his own words “is still learning how to be a good teacher.” Mr. Williams was recently immortalized when a film documentary was made featuring his life story aired twice on PBS.
Despite his old-school style of teaching and his unflinching candor, Mr. Williams remains a sold rock for his students. It is quite a unique experience witnessing the incessant thanks and the “you’ve changed my life” testimonies his students after class. Teaching Dunham technique is very serious for Mr. Williams, who was asked by his former teacher Syvilla Fort—before her death—to continue to carryout Dunham Technique. Mr. Williams teaches Dunham as taught to him by Syvilla Fort. Students come from all over the world to study Dunham Technique with him.
Famed Dunham dance Levinia Williams, said to her daughter, “if you don’t know Ned Williams, you don’t know Dunham Technique.”
Ned's Teaching Schedule
Open Dunham Technique
Saturday 2:30 - 4:00 pm
Students taking this class must be of the level and experience to take it. Ned's teaching style is strict, critical and not for people unfamiliar with Dunham or not accustomed to this method of strict instruction common to Dunham.