Heidi Anna Williams has over 17 years of professional experience as a dance instructor, educator, coach, and choreographer. In addition to her training in the dance dept. at WMU, she has received instruction from many of the industry’s top choreographers/teachers and trained frequently in LA, California. Her choreography has been awarded frequently on both regional and national levels, often winning national titles. In addition to being nominated for Best Choreography, several of her pieces were chosen to be performed at Disney in Orlando, Florida.
She has helped choreograph and perform in pieces that were featured at the Berlin Music Festival, opening for acts such as Jake Miller, SoMo, Far East Movement, and Mike Posner. She, along with other Detroit area dancers was featured in the original release of Flo Rida’s promo video for the song My House.
Heidi also choreographs for film, having worked with Courageous Lion Cinema on several short films, one of which went on to win 1st Place in the international competition 48 Hour Film Project, and her work on this film received the Best Choreography award for all of Michigan.
Currently, Heidi teaches classes, workshops, and choreography throughout Michigan at a variety of studios, as well as university dance teams. In the categorization of “street” vs. “studio” she is a rare combination of both, having trained and taught extensively in a wide variety of styles including hip hop, breaking, jazz, tap, ballet, acrobatics, tumbling, modern, contemporary and musical theatre. She is known for her creativity and unique choreography. For her, teaching dance and working with her competition team is not so much a job as it is a calling, and has often quoted the saying, “I train future superheroes.”
Articles by Heidi
For many of us, simply thinking of leg warmers might resurrect memories of the 80s, the movie Fame, or any number of dance class moments we experienced personally. Maybe you never experienced the 80s or have no idea what leg warmers are.
Improving transitions and technique is something that every Acro dancer can make improvements on, even when they’re at home. You don’t have to be an expert to be able to notice when their transitions aren’t as smooth as they could be, or to notice that how they’re doing it doesn’t reflect good technique. Sometimes Acro dancers get overly focused on what they’re doing, instead of how they’re doing it. That’s where you come in!
Waacking is a style associated with street and hip hop dance that is characterized by intricate fast arm movements and vogues or freezes. Much of the movement originates in the shoulders and some moves look similar to a person dancing with invisible nun chucks.
Voguing is a style of dance, fashion, and subculture that originated in Harlem, New York, developing between 1960-1980, evolving from drag competitions and pageantry balls within the Affrican-American and Latinx LGBTQ communities.
Popping is considered to be one of the original Hip Hop dance styles and has come to describe a variety of movement types. Underneath the giant umbrella term that is Popping, there are many different sub-styles and off-shoots, and what is considered definitively to be popping is still being debated.
Locking emerged from the West Coast in the 1970s, and was created by Don Campbell. This style of dance is usually performed to funk music, and the movement is characterized by locks, wrist rolls, Uncle Sam points, high fives, the hambone, The Scooby Doo, Scooby Walk, Scoobot, and sudden stops inside fluid grooves.
Krump is a style of street dance affiliated with Hip Hop that began in Los Angeles in the early 2000s, and is known for it’s intense rawness and controlled power, giving it an aggressive and almost combative appearance.
Breaking/Bboying/Bgirling is a form of street dance that was born from the Bronx, New York in the 1970s, and is the first original form of Hip Hop dance. The B in Bboying/Bgirling is said to refer to the breakdowns or breakbeats that the dancers would go off to. DJ Kool Herc would lengthen these sections by using two records of the same song, so he could loop the breakdown portion giving the dancers more time to do their thing.
Failure or rejection as a young dancer can feel so all-encompassing and life-altering. What are some ways we can help motivate our dancers after rejection?
With the increasing amount of Acro-related skills and tricks packed into mainstream competitive dance shows and competitions, it can be confusing for people to understand what differentiates an Acro dance routine from a dance routine of another genre that has Acro moves in it.
In this article dance teacher and Dance Parent 101 writer Heidi recalls and takes us on a competition day journey, where we get to experience the day just as she does – but from the comfort of a cosy chair!
Most people can easily recognize the street style of dance commonly referred to as breakdance by moves such as people spinning on their heads, acrobatic tricks and basic rocking movements.
When we use the term Hip Hop it is often in reference to music or dance, but what needs to be emphasized and understood is that Hip Hop is a culture, “a way of life,” as many put it. What we often see on TV or social media today when Hip Hop dance is being performed is the commercialized, streamlined, and often diluted form of what it was at its origination.
The 3 original and most well-known styles of Hip Hop Dance are Breaking, Popping, and Locking. Within these types are different forms of dance such as TopRock, Footwork or DownRock, Freezes and Power Moves. You also have the Hip Hop Party Dance genre which is where a lot of the more popular commercial hip hop moves are derived from today!
As more and more dancers delve into learning, and more studios offer hip hop classes, you will undoubtedly have a hip hop dancer in your life soon if not already. Inevitably, the question will arise: what kind of gift do you get a hip-hop dancer? What do they even need? Have no fear, that’s why we’re here.
Acrobatic Dance or Acro Dance is a style of dance that combines nearly any style of dance, but usually lyrical, contemporary, or jazz with acrobatic skills and tricks. It is safe when skills are taught incrementally and with an Acrobatic Teacher certified in safe training practices.
By Heidi Williams / Edited by Samantha Bellerose, B.Ed, Dip.Dance(Performing Arts) Improving your ballet technique is easier said than done. Every dancer knows it and tries continuously to get better in ballet with varying degrees of success (or lack thereof). Improving ballet technique is an ongoing challenge that requires ongoing effort. It isn’t a place…
By Heidi Williams / Co-Authored & Edited by Samantha Bellerose, B.Ed, Dip.Dance(Performing Arts) The dance world today is ever-evolving and always advancing. Dancers and Ballerinas everywhere strive every day to push themselves to new heights, to achieve new goals, gain skills, to level up, to be stronger, to become more flexible –to be the best…