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  • Nicole (Johnson) Williams

12. Inspired

Artist Statement - February 2020

I am a woman. I am an artist. I am a mother. I am a teacher. I am a dancer. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I choose to identify myself and the journeys that have led me to each of these specific components of my identity. Each element of Self has come as a natural result of my relationship to the world around me but has still required effort to be cultivated into something complete. Training to become a great dancer, one works tirelessly to perfect her technique, her alignment, her performance. The perfect image of the perfect body on pointe shoes. Always on her leg, always graceful, always telling the stories her audience loves to hear. This has been my truth for as long as I have been dancing. Working hard to achieve the unachievable: perfection. Over time, it can become exhausting. It’s only now, after studying and performing so many different genres of dance, that I realize that MY truth is what has been missing. What is connecting me to this movement? I’m interested in discovering the connections between the technical dancer, her movement, and the stories she tells. I’m interested in reading between the lines and experiencing the dance in the soul of the performer.

I’m deeply inspired by the work of artists like Toni Morrison (my favorite author of all time). Work that breathes life into stories of romance, friendship, tenacity, heartache, joy, and pain. Work that validates the Black experience in America as distinctively American. Work that says, “Yes, I am here. This is who I am and this is where I come from. This is where my mother comes from. These are the stories of my grandfather. This is my community through my own eyes. Spoken in my own language. This is ME. Unapologetically.”

In life, I strive to see myself in others. I practice empathy; compassion. As an artist, I want the same. I want to continue to work toward technical excellence, training my body and understanding the intricacies that make it work. I want to understand who I am and how I choose to identify myself. In my art, I want all of these things to live together, pouring out a true translation of the choreographer’s vision through my own finely tuned instrument. Speaking in a language that marries together so eloquently the message and the speaker.

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