Jessie Williams, a graduate of Butler University with a BFA in Dance Performance, was born and raised in Suwanee, Georgia. She began training at a young age at Northeast Atlanta Ballet under the direction of Jennifer Gordon and shortly after accepted a traineeship with Next Generation Ballet under the direction of Peter Stark. While at Butler, Jessie was given the opportunity to perform corps, soloist, and principal roles in full-length ballets including The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle, Cinderella, and The Four Temperaments. She was also given the opportunity to perform soloist and principal roles in various contemporary works including a work by David Ingram showcased at the Indiana Governors Arts Awards. Jessie found her love of choreography after spending a summer training alongside Sidra Bell working on a premiere piece titled “Middle Prayer.” During her later years at Butler she was able to tour Eastern Europe with two of her own contemporary works which premiered at the National Opera House in Warsaw. Soon after college Jessie accepted a company position at Central Illinois Ballet and within a year was promoted to Soloist. During her time at CIB she has had the pleasure of performing many soloist and principal roles alongside the company. Jessie's favorite roles include Phlegmatic in Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Dracula in Central Illinois Ballets production of Dracula, and Sugarplum Fairy in Central Illinois Ballets The Nutcracker. This will be Jessie’s fourth season dancing with Central Illinois Ballet and her first season as Academy Director.