Sheri “Sparkle” Williams is a 49-year old dancer in Ohio. She has been dancing for 38 years—making her one of the oldest female pro dancers in the country. When she was just 11 years old Williams began dancing for Jeraldyne Blunden’s Dayton Contemporary Dance Company—one of the first dance companies to support African American dancers. Williams grew over the decades in front of her audiences from a child to a woman, and the dance company grew from a small town group to a national, competitive dance troupe.
Williams never had a traditional dancer’s body and worked hard to overcome her physical limitations in order to compete and perform incredible moves—challenging steps for women half her age.
Williams has dealt with many tragedies in her personal life and uses dance to help her through her personal challenges. Her goal has moved from being a good dancer to tapping into her audiences’ pain—taking them on an emotional journey of dance—where they, too, can heal through her performances.
Early on, Williams used intense conditioning to stay healthy and dancing, but she recently suffered an achilles ankle injury. She is now trying to recover and come back 100% to form in her unprecedented 39th season. But the community and outside dancers wonder—at her age and in her condition—can she really still compete?