I am soooo excited to present to your Mr. Clifford Williams. Clifford is someone I have looked up to for many years. As a young dancer at LaGuardia High School, I was lucky enough to watch him in class and rehearsals. Even then, he was already exceptional. We even got to dance together a few times. I remember lots of laughing in the studio and on tour. Once I moved to Europe I didn’t see him for quite some time. As the years went on I would catch a glimpse of his beautiful dancing on a Youtube video and can you believe he is even better than I remember! I got to see him on stage a few years ago when Nacho Duato’s company visited Germany on tour. He was as beautiful as ever! It was so nice to see him on stage after so many years of just watching videos.
Clifford Williams began his dance training at F.H. LaGuardia High School of Art and the Performing Arts. He attended The Ailey School and The School of American Ballet, both on scholarship. He was a first-level recipient of a National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts award in 1998. In 1998, he attended The Juilliard School, where he danced works by many choreographers including Lar Lubovitch, Igal Perry Hans Van Manen, Jose Limon and Mauricio Wainrot. In 2001, he was invited to join Dance Theatre of Harlem, where he danced until 2003.
In 2004, Clifford joined Complexions Contemporary Ballet (New York, NY). He has danced works by Dwight Rhoden, William Forsythe, Nicolo Fonte and Jae Man Joo. Since 2004, Mr. Williams has assisted Director/Choreographer Dwight Rhoden on numerous projects including ballets for North Carolina Dance Theater, Pittsburgh Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet , The Diana Vishneva Project, Ballet San Jose, Israel Ballet , Teatro Dell’Opera Di Roma as well as for the television show “So You Think You Can Dance.” He has also set Dwight Rhoden’s works on schools such as The Ailey School/ Fordam University , Boston Conservatory , Harvard University Marymount University and NYU Tisch School for the Arts. In addition to setting works for Dwight Rhoden, Clifford is certified in teaching “Nique” the official Contemporary Ballet technique of Complexions Contemporary Ballet; and continues to be a part of educational outreach for Complexions.
In 2008, Clifford left Complexions to dance as a Principal dancer with Compañia Nacional De Danza under the Direction of Nacho Duato. During that time, he danced many principal parts and was featured in creations by Mr. Duato. Clifford rejoined Complexions in 2009, where he danced as principal until 2012 before being appointed to artist in residence. In 2014 Clifford was featured in Debbie Allen’s “The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” as the Title character which aired on BET Network. He is also part of cast of the up coming Starz Network Mini-series “Flesh and Bone” due to air November 2015. Most recently, Clifford performed as Meyer Wolfsheim in an international production of The Great Gatsby , Choreographed and Directed by Dwight Rhoden.
Recently Clifford has been nominated for the Benois de la Danse award. Thank you Clifford for your inspiration.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you always want to do what you’re doing now?
I grew up singing , in fact I went to LaGuardia for voice , so I always thought I’d be a singer. I also loved math and science so I wanted to be a doctor too. But alas , here we are !
Favorite Things to eat?
I have a severe sweet tooth for gummy candy. I also have a penchant for dark leafy green vegetables ! Go figure
I love murder mysteries and gay romance novels.
I have so many ! Love action sci-fi.
Favorite Dance Piece or Show/Musical or both?
Again, so many! A Chorus line is a real depiction of what it’s like for a dancer “God ,I hope I get it !”
I like dancers who…
…Who are extremely detailed without loosing the freedom of movement and expression. Dance for me is all in the transitions!
I am afraid of…
…I’m afraid of fear! It has the capacity to stop us from exploring ourselves to be better. Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there and deal.
A dance piece should…
…Evoke an emotional response. You can love it or hate it . Have an epiphany or be totally lost . But if you feel nothing, ask for your money back!
Something you like to do other your current job?
I’m apparently very good at making thing out of ribbon.
One of the happiest moments in your life?
When any of my goals are achieved . It breeds this aha moment where as though all the hard work you’ve done has payed off.
One of your most unusual or coolest experiences?
Visting Egypt was amazing! Truly a once in a lifetime experience!
One of the most embarrassing moments in your professional career?
I’ve tripped, slipped and fallen umpteenth times. But I did take a lovely tumble at Summer Stage at Lincoln Center one year and almost rolled off the stage. That was memorable!
Who has been the most influential person/people in your life? or Career? and why?
It would have to be Dwight Rhoden . we have worked together closely for most of my career thus far. Not only as a member of his and co-artistic director Desmond Richardson’s company Complexions. But assisting Dwight and setting his work all over the world. He’s provided me with countless vehicles that have challenged all sides of my dance personality. Hence making me the artist that I am. His style is now my style , I’ll always be a Complexions Dancer.
One of the hardest things about your job?
It never ends. Just when you think you’ve got it down. You realize there is so much more to learn , more to find of yourself. I suppose this could be the best part as well.
Do you have any goals you still wish to achieve?
Umm…Rule the world! Joking aside , I’d love to continue to bring my dancing to as many stages that’ll have me. I miss singing , so that. And I’ve enjoyed working a bit in Television recently. So pretty much everything!
If you could change one thing in the dance world, what would it be?
I’d love to see a more inclusive community. We all get stuck in our own bubbles .How great would it be if we could all learn from what’ s great around us .
If you could change one thing in the REAL world, what would it be?
Again Inclusive!! We’re all the same. We should really love each other as humans .
A piece of advice for aspiring artists?
Find what makes you unique . Self discovery is probably one of the most important parts of being an artist. In a world over run with the technique of technology . Remember why we do this … to make Art !