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Jessie Williams
Artistic Director

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 Balanchine’s 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 Governor's 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 under the direction of Rebekah von Rathonyi 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, Ms. Lovett in Central Illinois Ballets production of Sweeney Todd, and The Sugarplum Fairy in Central Illinois Ballets The Nutcracker. Jessie is so grateful to have been given the opportunity to stage a production of Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty in 2021 and a production of Giselle in 2022 for Cornerstone Academy’s Student Gala. In 2021 she premiered her first professional full length ballet Sweeney Todd at the Scottish Rite Theater. During Jessie’s time dancing with Central Illinois Ballet she has served two years as academy director and two years as associate artistic director.

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