THE 13TH MEMORIAL TRIBUTE for DANCE PIONEER
LAVINIA WILLIAMS YARBOROUGH
June 25, 2017 at 3-6 pm
Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company Studio
70 East 4th Street, NY NY
This year we will not have a Master class but will gather to view video images, photos, share personal memories of the legendary lady, and a repast. Please bring any photos or artifacts of Mme. Williams you would like to share. Attendees are asked to contribute a dish of your choice, snacks or a beverage for the reception following the afternoon’s planned event.
Please contact Noel Hall 718-857-4643, email firstname.lastname@example.org
or Jill Williams at Clarkcenternyc@gmail.com to register your intent to attend.
Born Grace Lavinia Poole Williams in Philadelphia, Lavinia Williams was a leading dancer with the Katherine Dunham Dance Company from 1940-45. Through the use of stick figures, Mme. Williams was instrumental and visionary in notating the emerging Dunham Barre Technique that Ms. Dunham was developing. She appeared with the Dunham Company in the Broadway musical “Cabin in the Sky” and in the films “Stormy Weather” and “Carnival of Rhythm.” Post Dunham, Mme. Williams toured Europe with the Noble Sissle revival of “Shuffle Along,” dancing the role originated by Josephine Baker. She also appeared on Broadway in a revival of “Show Boat,” “My Darling Aida” and “Finian’s Rainbow” choreographed by Michael Kidd. Her teachers included Kyra Nijinsky, Martha Graham and Anna Sokolow.
In 1953 Mme. Williams went to Haiti to work with the National Folkloric Troupe and a year later founded and directed the Haitian Institute of Folkloric and Classical Dance, which conducted extensive research.
A luminary in the teaching of Haitian dance, Mme. Williams shared her expertise in Antigua, Bahamas, Germany, Jamaica, Trinidad, and the United States, including the “original” Clark Center, on 8th Ave. between 50th and 51 St. in Manhattan. A home and an aesthetically nourishing and nurturing haven for dancers, choreographers, teachers and emerging artists and companies, spearheaded by visionary Alvin Ailey. She also taught at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and STEPS Studio.
“It is true that Lavinia Williams was a great dancer…But for me, Lavinia’s greatest gift to the world was her teaching…she loved her profession and humanity in general.” (“Miss D”) – Katherine Dunham