|Born and reared
in New York City, Dudley Williams became interested in dance after
observing classes at a local arts school while waiting for an uncle who
was studying voice. He began training at age twelve with Sheldon Hoskins
in Harlem, then attended New York's High School for the Performing Arts.
Williams graduated in 1958 after winning a dance award and received a
scholarship to the Juilliard School. He attended Juilliard at intervals
for the next several years while taking time off to dance with various
companies, including those of May McDonnell, Donald McKayle, and Talley
Beatty. In 1961 Williams joined the Martha Graham Company. He also began
to appear with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In 1964 he left
Martha Graham to become a member of Alvin Ailey.
Passionate leading performances in Donald McKayle's "Rainbow Round My
Shoulder" (1959), Ailey's "Reflections in D" (1962), Lucas
Hoving's "Icarus" (revived 1968), and Louis Falco's "Caravan"
(1976) made Williams a central member of the company. He galvanized
audiences with his virtuosity in performances of Ailey's 16-minute
solo "Love Songs" (1972); his comic "backwoods huckster" role in Ailey's
"Blues Suite" (1958); and his moving, deeply felt solo "I Want to Be
Ready" in Ailey's renowned "Revelations" (1960). In 1984 he
celebrated his 20th anniversary with Ailey in a gala performance at
the City Center in New York City. In the early 1990s he remains a
performing member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as well as a
-- Thomas F. DeFrantz