Assistant Professor of Dance Tamara Williams is one of six recipients of the 2021 Emerging Creators Fellowships from the Arts & Science Council. The $5000 grants support “creatives with evolving practices that are at a pivotal moment in launching sustainable careers in the creative sector.”
Williams has received the grant for her continued research of ring shout, a traditional dance and music form that originated among enslaved Black Americans particularly in the Low Country regions of South Carolina and Georgia. Williams’s research on ring shout traditions has been disseminated at several colleges and universities in the United States and Brazil, and her article, "Reviving Culture Through Ring Shout," was published in the scholarly journal, The Dancer-Citizen.
In Fall 2020, she and local filmmaker Marlon Morrison created the ring shout dance video Remembrance, featuring UNC Charlotte dance students, which debuted in November in the student dance concert and has been screened in programs hosted by the NC Museum of History and the Charlotte Museum of History. In 2017, Williams taught a course, “Reconstructing Ring Shout,” in which UNC Charlotte dance majors studied and performed ring shout movement vocabulary, traveling to South Carolina to visit praise houses to learn about the ring shout tradition and perform at the McLeod Plantation. Learn more about that field study in this video.
With the Emerging Creators Fellowship, Williams will travel to Savannah, Georgia, and Beaufort, South Carolina, to visit museums and historical sites in the area, including the Penn Center on St. Helena Island.