An established studio in Williamston focused on the art of dance formed a new company this summer that offers additional performance opportunities.
Elizabeth Williams Dancers will augment the courses and education provided through Elizabeth Williams School of Dance.
Membership is by audition, with company members performing at multiple locations around the community throughout the year.
Owner and founder Elizabeth Williams opened her school 22 years ago in Williamston after years of experience as a professional dancer and teacher on the East and West Coasts, Lansing Community College, Michigan State University and studios around Greater Lansing. Her Williamston studio excels in teaching and annual performances of ballet, tap and jazz. She says community interest and demand led her to start the separate dance company.
"My dancers keep getting better and better," Williams says. "We realized we had everything all set in place, and decided that we were pretty well good to go."
The non-profit Elizabeth Williams Dancers held auditions in early June. Williams says she hopes to build the company to about 40 members—including family members.
"If you don't dance, you can do things behind the scenes," Williams says. "Members can make costumes, do marketing, or other things."
Williams says she has always encouraged family members to get the full experience of dance, and invites parents and siblings of dancers on stage during year-end performances.
"It ends up turning on a lot of kids and parents to the art of dance through nothing more than just being on stage in a costume with their son or daughter," says Williams. "I've opened up a lot of eyes that way, and it's a great way to find related talents—from videography to sewing."
The Elizabeth Williams Dance Company is planning to perform at various festivals, community centers, and other venues throughout the year. The Elizabeth Williams School of Dance averages about 70 students a year and offers 24 classes taught or overseen by Williams, her general director, and a dance instructor. Williams also hopes to physically expand the 40-by-20 foot studio located at 128 W. Grand River in the coming year.
Source: Elizabeth Williams, Owner, Elizabeth Williams School of Dance
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.