Space Grant (2015-2016)
Ms. Williams is a native of Augusta, GA where she began her dance training at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School. Tamara participated in Georgia’s Governor’s Honors Program for dance during the summer of 2001, attended Philadanco’s summer intensive in 2004, and experienced Chicago during the summer of 2005 studying at Deeply Rooted Productions. She fulfilled two years in Dance Repertory Theatre at Florida State University under the direction of Lynda Davis. She earned her BFA in Dance from Florida State University, is a certified GYROTONIC(R) Trainer, Reiki Practitioner and Capoeirista. She received her MFA in Dance from Hollins University in collaboration with The American Dance Festival, The Forsythe Company, and Frankfurt University in Frankfurt, Germany.
Tamara’s performing career includes work with Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company, David P. France Dance Company, Errol Grimes Dance Group, Millicent and Company, Angela’s Pulse, Maverick Dance Experience, and UB2 (Urban Bush Women’s apprentice company). She performed works by prestigious choreographers such as Donald McKayle, Theo Jamison, Kevin Iega Jeff, Jawole Zollar, Rosangela Silvestre, and Fred Benjamin. She also performed at the Ringling International Arts Festival in Sarasota, FL, DanceNow/NYC Dance Harlem, The Houston Black Dance Festival, Rialto Center for the Arts, the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Dance Charlotte!, April Meetings in Belgrade, Serbia, and at Espacio Xisto, Escola da Danca, and Bira Reis in Salvador, Brazil.
Tamara’s choreography has been performed nationally at the 2006 ACDFA Southeastern Concert in Tallahassee, FL, Dance Charlotte!, the Amalgamate Artist Series, the JT Lotus Choreographer’s Showcase, The Boogie Down Series at BAAD!, the DUMBO Dance Festival, DCA’s Women in Dance Series, the Cool NY Festival, Dixon Place, WAXworks, the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, the Smack Mellon Gallery, the Actor’s Fund Arts Center, Fertile Ground Series at Green Space, and many others. Her work has been performed internationally at the Student Kultural Center in Belgrade, Serbia; the Voltahalle in Basel, Switzerland; The National Museum of Trinidad & Tobago; Espacio Xisto in Salvador, Brazil; the Rex Nettleford Conference|Edna Manley College in Kingston, Jamaica; and at Performatica in Puebla, Mexico.
In June of 2012, Tamara produced an evening dance performance entitled, The Makings of You, with Tamara LaDonna Moving Spirits, Inc. and special guests Laurie M. Taylor/Soul Movement and Francine Ott at Dance New Amsterdam. In October 2013, Epic Narratives; An evening of dance, visual art, theater and social commentary, was produced. In February 2015, Tamara presented Moving Spirits to Enlightenment, part of the RESPOND series at the Smack Mellon Gallery in Brooklyn. This event featured Moving Spirits, Inc., Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, Andre M. Zachary/Renegade Performance Group, students of El Puente and students of the Brooklyn Friends School in response to police brutality to Black Lives. In May 2015, Tamara produced Dancing in the Parks: Bushwick Community Festivalwhich presented prestigious dance companies, artists and community programs including Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance, Sydnie L.Mosley Dances, Rakiya Orange, Ruka White, Arts & Literacy, and the Beacon Center for Arts and Leadership.
Tamara has trained intensely in Bahia, Brazil in Silvestre Technique, samba roots and African-Brazilian dance. Her book, Giving Life to Movement: The Silvestre Dance Technique, explores the historical and cultural connections of Silvestre Dance Technique as a movement practice created by Rosangela Silvestre. Her article, Her article, “ Reviving Culture Through Ring Shout”, explores the evolution of Ring Shout traditions and is published in The Dancer-Citizen Journal. She has a chapter in the monograph, Fire Under My Feet: Historical Perspectives on Dance in the African Diaspora and her second book The African Diaspora and Civic Responsibility will be published by Lexington Books in 2022.
Tamara was a 2012 recipient of the Artist Residency Fellowship at the Dance & Performance Institute in Trinidad. She was a 2013 recipient of the Harlem Stage/Aaron Davis Hall Fund for New Work grant, and a 2014 & 2016 Community Arts Fund Grantee by the Brooklyn Arts Council. She was the 2014 Lecturer/Emerging Artist-in-Residence at Penn State University- Altoona. Moving Spirits, Inc. was the 2015 Company-in-Residence at the Jamaica Center for Arts & Leadership in Jamaica, Queens. Tamara, also was 2015 and 2017 Turkey Land Grove Foundation recipient in which she participated in two seven-day dance writing residencies in Martha’s Vineyard. She was a 2015 Fall Space Grant recipient, awarded by the Brooklyn Arts Exchange. In 2016, Tamara was awarded the 2016-17 CoA+A Faculty Digital Making Grant from the College of Arts + Architecture at UNC Charlotte. She has received several UNCC mini diversity grant awards, and a Chancellor’s Diversity Challenge Fund award. Tamara has received two Faculty Research Grants which has support her in depth study and investigation of Ring Shout Dance Traditions and Òrìṣà dances. Tamara was commissioned by the Kaatsbaan International Dance Center to create a new work for Moving Spirits, Inc. in 2018; the new work premiered during her Kaatsbaan UpStream Residency in the Hudson Valley, NY. Tamara has received several Culture Blocks grants from the Mecklenburg County Arts & Science Council. The funding supports Moving Spirits’ ongoing free African diaspora dance workshops throughout the Charlotte community. She is a College of Arts + Architecture faculty recipient of the 2019-2020 Board of Governors Teaching Award. Tamara was commissioned to create a new work for Juneteenth in 2020 by The National Center for Choreography (NCCAkron) through an invitation by Cara Hagan. In 2021, Tamara became an Arts and Science Council Emerging Creative Fellowship recipient to continue her research in Ring Shout traditions in the low country of the United States. In 2021, Tamara was awarded a Cultural Visions Grant from the Arts and Science Council to support the first annual LAVAGEM FESTIVAL! in Charlotte celebrating African diaspora and Indigenous communities, through Black Brazilian arts, history and culture. In 2022, Tamara was presented the Jan Van Dyke Legacy Award by the North Carolina Dance Festival.
Tamara has taught master classes in New York City, San Diego, San Antonio, Atlanta, Tallahassee, Charlotte, Altoona, Trinidad, Mexico, Brazil and Jamaica. She offers free master classes to the general public through Moving Spirits, Inc. She has worked as a Program Director for the Arts and Literacy Program in Brooklyn and is dedicated to continuous work in underserved communities. Tamara is an Associate Professor of Dance at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.