Darnell Williams was born in Altus, Oklahoma to Leslie and Natasha Williams and sister, Briana Williams. Shortly after his family moved to Japan where they would reside for two years before returning back to the states. At the age of 5, Williams found a love for dance and began training at Sharon’s Star Dance Team taking a recreational Tap Class. The next year Williams would join the dance company at Sharon’s Star Dance Team and start his training in Jazz, Acro, and Ballet. He later began to take classes and compete with Dance Depot of Waldorf, MD in Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, and Ballet under the direction of Sheila Jedlowski. Williams would spend the bulk of his competitive dance career with this studio earning Top Score Awards and Title Awards from Showstoppers American Dance Championships, Starquest Dance Competition, Beyond The Stars Dance Competition, Groove Dance Competition, On Stage America, Starpower National Talent Competition, and many more.
In 2008, Williams applied and was accepted into North Point High School for Science, Technology and Industry as part of their Engineering Program. While attending Williams was a part of the Jazz Ensemble as Trumpet player, Marching Band, Men’s Choir, National Technical Honor Society, National Honor Society, and President of Tri-M Music Honor Society. In 2010, he joined Woodbridge Dance Company, a pre-professional company based out of Virginia, while competing with Dance Depot. However, while attending North Point High School Williams found a love for theatre which led him to join Thespian Troupe 7040 as well play multiple roles in school theatre productions including Ensemble/Dancer in Joseph in the Technicolor Dreamcoat, Steward in Anything Goes, Judge in Tom Jones the Foundling, and the Judge and Assistant Choreographer in Legally Blonde The Musical. In his senior year, Williams auditioned and was accepted into Towson University as a Dance Major with a Talent Scholarship. Throughout his time as a competitive dancer Williams was granted opportunities to perform in the Showstoppers American Dance Championship Webcast Opening Number multiple times, DC Tap Festival to perform a piece set by Chloe Arnold, The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, and Dancing With The Horry County Stars as a member of E’clatez Dance Company. He won multiple scholarships to dance programs and conventions as well as worked with many choreographers and teachers including Mary Ann Lamb, Haley Mac Cooper, Dena Rizzo, Chloe Arnold, Noble Potts, Shannon Nichols, Sheila Jedlowski, and more.
In his freshman year at Towson, Williams would join VTDance Company directed by Vincent E. Thomas. Williams would stay with the company for the remainder of his time at Towson as well as join Ballet ADI under the direction of Runqiao Du. While at Towson, Williams was also a part of the Towson University Dance Company for 5 semesters as well as part of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts and was President of Sigma Rho Delta Beta Chapter. While at Towson, Williams choreographed every semester and taught at multiple studios in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. Through teaching he was able to present his choreography at multiple dance competitions at a regional and national level. In 2016, he was granted the opportunity to present one off his pieces at the Mid-Atlantic Region American College Dance Association Conference. He was also asked to choreograph for the College’s 150th Anniversary Celebration Dance On Bones. However, the highlight of his collegiate career was attending The Ailey School Summer Intensive in the summer of 2015 which allowed him to train for an entire summer in New York City. During his summer in New York, Williams took multiple classes at the Ailey School everyday, however he would walk ten streets down 9th avenue to also take class at Broadway Dance Center. This granted him the opportunity to work with choreographers and teachers such as Hannah Frederick, Derek Mitchell, Karla Garcia and Tom Richardson. Throughout his collegiate career Williams has performed works by Stephanie Powell, Trent Williams, Christopher K. Morgan, and Nicholas Villeneuve. He has also had the opportunity to be mentored by Tom Richardson, Karla Garcia, Runqiao Du, Linda Denise Fisher Harrell, and Vincent Thomas, who he refers to sometimes as his dance father. Williams has also received many awards such as the Frank and Alice Cooley Scholarship for Fine Arts, First Place in the Towson Media Arts Festival for Dance For the Camera, Alexander E. Sidorowicz Memorial Fund Scholarship, and the Towson University Department of Dance Award for Outstanding Choreography.
Williams now holds a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Towson University. Since graduating he has taught at multiple studios in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia Area including Turning Pointe Dance Academy, Heart Beats Music and Dance, and Urbana Dance and Performing Arts Center. Williams was most recently seen performing the Tony Award Winning broadway show After Midnight under the direction of Warren Carlyle as a Tap Brother. Currently, Williams is in New York City dancing with ELSCO Dance Company under the direction of Ellenore Scott. Williams works as a freelance dancer and choreographer sharing his philosophies and his love of dance to his students and other he meets along his dance journey.