Shelby Williams

The American Shelby Williams studied at The Washington School of Ballet and at the Houston Ballet Academy. In 2007 she started her career with the Houston Ballet II, and went on to dance with the Semperoper Ballett in Dresden, the Ballet d'Europe and Corella Ballet/Ballet de Barcelona. In 2012 she joined the Staatstheater Mainz and then, from 2014, the Hessisches Staatsballett. During that period, she danced in works by Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin, Johan Inger, Douglas Lee, Alexander Ekman, Richard Siegal, Marco Goecke and Cayetano Soto. Williams has been a member of the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen company since 2016, where she has been a soloist since 2018. Here, she has danced works by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, William Forsythe, Akram Khan, Martha Graham, Pina Bausch, Hofesh Shechter, Andonis Foniadakis and Meryl Tankard, among others. She also danced the title role in the opera performance Rusalka directed and choreographed by Alan Lucien Øyen, danced the role of Myrtha in Akram Khan's Giselle and worked with Alain Platel on C(h)oeurs 2022. As a choreographer, Shelby Williams has created pieces for Choreolab and the 10th European Lotteries Congress. In the magazine Dance Europe (October 2017) she was nominated in the category outstanding performance of a female dancer for her performance in Approximate Sonata 2016 choreographed by William Forsythe and Café Müller by Pina Bausch in which she danced the original roles of both Malou Airaudo and Pina Bausch. Shelby Williams was also a guest speaker at the P(our) Symposium at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and at the 10th European Lotteries Congress at the Koningin Elisabethzaal in Antwerp.

Repertoire at OBV

  • Rusalka (Alan Lucien Øyen): Rusalka*
  • Café Müller (Pina Bausch)
  • Giselle (Akram Khan): Myrtha
  • Ma Mère l’Oye (Jeroen Verbruggen) Alma*
  • Chronicle (Martha Graham): Lead
  • Secus (Ohad Naharin): Final solo
  • Exhibition (Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui): Solo*
  • Faun (Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui)
  • Approximate Sonata 2016 (William Forsythe)
  • Le Sacre du printemps (Pina Bausch)
  • C(h)oeurs 2022 (Alain Platel)*
  • Mozart/Concert Arias. Un moto di gioia (Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker)
  • Tempus Fugit (Johan Inger)*
  • Noetic (Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui)
  • Palmos (Andonis Foniadakis)*
  • Pond Way (Merce Cunningham)
  • Kaash (Akram Khan)
  • The Heart of August (Édouard Lock)*
  • Workwithinwork (William Forsythe)
  • In your rooms (Hofesh Shechter)
  • Furioso (Meryl Tankard)
  • Fall (Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui)
  • JOY (Alexander Ekman)
  • B.R.I.S.A. (Johan Inger)
  • Spartacus (Yuri Grigorovich)
  • Faust (Jean-Christophe Maillot)
  • De Notenkraker (Demis Volpi): Crazy Aunt
  • Les Noces (Edward Clug)
  • L’Après-midi d’un faune (Vaslav Nijinsky)
  • Selon désir (Andonis Foniadakis)
  • Memento Mori (Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui)
  • Bach Studies (Benjamin Millepied)*
  • Cantus Firmus (Jeanne Brabants)
  • RASA [after La Bayadère] (Daniel Proietto)*
  • Creature (Akram Khan)
  • Perspectives on Bach (Nicola Wills, Shane Urton)*

*originated the role

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