Sheri “Sparkle” Williams

Sheri “Sparkle” Williams is a role model for defying stereotypes for women of all ages. Williams began her professional dance career as child and has continued to dance professionally well into her 50s with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.

Despite the average dance troupe member being half her age, she continues to be the premiere dancer of the group, in addition to being the strength and fitness coach. Writes her nominator: “Even a career-challenging injury a few years ago did not keep Sheri out of dancing for long. She underwent months of grueling rehab to make her way back onto the stage. It is this ‘can do’ spirit that makes Sheri a role model for women of all ages to keep pushing through life’s obstacles and to never give up.”

In addition to dance, Williams is very involved in the community as a mentor to children and physical fitness trainer for many. She has mastered the training of her own body and now unselfishly shares the knowledge she has acquired with others. She works tirelessly in schools and as a choreographer for youth-based creative arts programs in the community.

“Sheri doesn’t allow herself to be defined and she truly does not embrace others through any predefined lens. She often says her life, like dance, is a continuous choreography. She is open to and embraces all people with her bright smile and willingness to engage. I often say the only person who doesn’t consider Sheri ‘Sparkle’ Williams great is Sheri ‘Sparkle’ Williams. It is her humility despite her incredible talent that makes her so endearing and has enabled her to capture the hearts of this community.”

Williams has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the JOSIE Award, Fisk University’s Excellence in Artistry Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District, the coveted New York Dance and Performance Award, and the 2014 Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts.