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Dance Instructor
Performing in Louisville Showcase

La Grange dance instructor
to perform in Louisville Showcase

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LA GRANGE, Ky. (May 2003) – A dedication to her craft has kept Susana B. Williams dancing since age 9. Her enthusiasm for this art form has led her to perform and instruct others worldwide.
Originally from Guatemala, Williams, 54, has lived in Oldham County for the past 20 years. She learned ballet from an older sister and at age 11 began dancing with Ballet Guatemala. She stayed with this company for 10 years. Early in her career she had won scholarships to train under major ballet companies in Mexico and France.

Susana Williams

Susana B. Williams

After living in Europe for five years, Williams returned to her homeland in 1974, where she met her future husband, Larry. He was a college student studying Mayan culture. Larry’s family was from the Louisville area, and that is where the couple settled in 1982.
Relying upon years of experience as a professional dancer and choreographer, Williams instigated the International American Choreographers Showcase in 1994. Because of its international theme, previous showcases were presented abroad.
From 4-6 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. on April 28-May 1, the showcase will be presented at the Kentucky Center for the Arts Boyd Martin Experimental Theater. Williams, who will also be performing in this showcase, said she is excited to integrate this event with the Kentucky Derby festival and the National Dance Week celebrations.
“The Derby Festival is one of the most important international celebrations in Kentucky,” she said. “The Derby Festival puts many people in motion. I feel presenting the showcase during this celebration is right.”
Williams said that many Kentucky residents might not have the opportunity to view the extraordinary work of dance artists unless they travel abroad. The four-day performance will feature choreographers and dancers from six countries, including Seoul, South Korea, France and both U.S. coasts.
“It’s tough for an artist to perform oversees,” said Williams’ husband. “Because of Susana’s language abilities and the many professional contacts she has acquired throughout her career, she makes it happen.”
For many artists, these networking contacts have led to engagements, which otherwise would have gone undiscovered, he said.

Dancers

The first showcase premiered at the Festival Off d’Avignon in Avignon, France. The showcase has also appeared at festivals in Austria, Germany, Guatemala, Lithuania, Mexico, Monaco and the Netherlands. Each showcase is a unique blend of distinguished choreographers and dancers from around the world.
In addition to this time-consuming project, Williams is also director of Dance-Forms Productions in La Grange, Ky., which she began in September 1984. Williams said she created this company “to provide professional dance instruction as well as performance and theatrical experience for dance students from Oldham County.”
Classes for Dance-Forms Productions were first held at Immaculate Conception School before moving into her own studio on Walnut Street. For a decade, Williams provided dancers and dance students professional performance preparation.
Williams said her mission is to provide emerging, professional and distinguished choreographers with the opportunity to benefit their professional development and to present their work at international festivals and dance events.
This is only the second time the showcase has been held in the United States. The first was in 1998 at the Youth Performing Art School (YPAS) in Louisville. In 1982 Williams had received an invitation from then YPAS director, David Thurmon, to offer a dance residency for advanced level students.
Thurmon said he wanted his “students to have the benefit of her experience. She has had such a variety of international experience and she brings that depth of experience to any teaching situation.”
Williams plans three to four yearly international events, similar to this showcase.
They provide an opportunity for participants to benefit professionally, while allowing participants the freedom to express the creative side of choreography.
Eight to ten choreographers are present in each showcase, with a focus on modern dance. Other forms of contemporary dance may also be featured, including classical ballet, jazz and ethnic styles.
Williams provides a complete production package for showcase performers. She takes care of all details relating to sound, lighting, technical assistance, publicity, pre-show rehearsals and booking excellent theaters.
Her husband contributes to the planning stage of each showcase. After his wife has implemented her plans, he assists her as a consultant. Relying upon his own talents as a freelance writer and businessman, he handles programs, articles, reviews and publicity.
Although Williams began her professional career as dancer, she turned her attention to choreography upon reaching adulthood. “I love dancing, but choreography is what I like the best. I didn’t have to decide to become a choreographer, it was natural to me to want to express myself through movement and dance,” she said.
This petite woman practices daily for one and a half hours in the basement studio of her home. Williams and her husband have two children, Brenda, 21, and Jonathan, 28.
“Working with the dancers, space, time, themes, music, creating my own movement language, is my passion,” she said.

• For more information on Dance-Forms Productions or Williams, call her at (502) 222-2273 or go to her website at www.danceformsproductions.com.

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