Uptown Dance Academy

UDASince opening its doors in 1996, Uptown Dance Academy is considered the premiere dance school for urban youth interested in making dance their primary focus. The Academy has been dedicated to providing high-quality dance disciplines, training and professionalism for youth ages 3-19. The well-rounded curriculum designed by founder and director Robin Williams exposes children to the diverse world of dance as they prepare for the professional stage.

No one does it better than Uptown Dance Academy in providing structured training programs and performance opportunities that reinforce the principle of dance as well as the physical, artistic and creative skills inherent in learning dance. Its mission is to train students in the performing arts while instilling a higher level of cultural enrichment, self-discipline, and personal achievement.

No other theatrical dance school in New York City offers as many performance opportunities or dance disciplines as Uptown Dance Academy. Offering professional training in ballet, tap, modern, jazz, acrobatics, hip hop and African dance, students of Uptown Dance Academy perform about 40 times a year outside of their regular calendar schedule. Currently located at 167 East 121st Street, (between Lexington & third Avenues) in East Harlem, Uptown Dance Academy caters to minority youth, introducing them to the world of professional dance and theater. Students train and perform with some of New York City’s top dancers and choreographers, giving them a unique experience not found anywhere in New York.

Robin WilliamsRobin Williams 
Professional Dancer/Choreographer

Robin Williams started dancing at the age of 5 and hasn’t stopped dancing yet.   Born in Detroit, Michigan, Ms. Williams is recognized as one of New York’s highly respected choreographers and dance training principals.  She is credited for exposing classical dance to school children in the Harlem area.  Performing abroad and throughout the United States, Ms. Williams was a principal dancer with Dancer Theatre of Harlem's Ensemble, Gallman's Dance Theatre, Nanette Bearden's Contemporary Dance Theatre, and Ballet Long Island.  Her most rewarding performance to date, however, is fulfilling the dreams of young people everyday at the Uptown Dance Academy which she founded in May 1996. 

Ms Williams an American Ballet Theater certified Project Plie Partner Teacher is NYC’s most diversified African American classical ballet teacher having studied with Tanaquil Leclerc, wife of George Balanchine, Clifford Fears and Talley Beatty from Katherine Dunham Company, Ilya Gaft from the Kirov Academy.  She also studied with Patricia Wilde, Nancy Shaffenburg (Ballet Russe),Vicky Simon and, Willie Burman (New York City Ballet) Elena Kunikova (Top Russian Choreographer from Vaganova school, and David Howard (World’s Top Ballet teacher). She is also
Certified in Acrobatic Arts.

Ms. Williams’ teaching career began to flourish as instructor for the Harlem School of Arts, Bernice Johnson's, Ruth Williams, Charles Moore Dance Theatre, Mind Builders and Alvin Ailey American Dance Center.  Realizing that young dancers, especially minorities, needed more than the principals of dance to survive in the world of the arts, she formed the Uptown Dance Academy in 1996.  Since opening its doors, Ms. Williams and her  staff are dedicated to assisting urban youth as they embark on careers in dance and the arts, giving advice on additional education and dance training skill development. Ms. Williams’ students give over 40 performances a year and are sought after for special performances in the New York area.  Under her guidance, students of the Academy’s Uptown Kids Urban Dance Theatre have been selected for commercials, movies and Broadway Shows.  Performing for such notables as Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. Arnold Schwartzennegar, and Gov. Patterson, they have also won beauty pageants and talent contest and have been featured on National television.  In 2011 the Academy was awarded a grant in the amount of $250,000 from the artist Prince recommended by ABT African-American soloist Misty Copeland. Her students have been accepted in Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Laguardia, Professional Performing Arts School, Julliard, American Ballet Theater, Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Dance Theater of Harlem and the Lion King.

As a choreographer, she has created an innovative style of dance which is a collaboration of ballet, modern, acrobatics, and jazz.  Most recently her choreography won the 2009 McDonald’s Gospelfest, and an Audelco Award for Innovation in choreography and Black Theater.   Her Black Nutcracker has been performed at Harlem’s World Famous Apollo Theatre. In 2012, she performed at the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin’s Birthday party.  She is a member of the Harlem Arts Alliance, Harlem Business Alliance, Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, National Black MBAs, NY Chapter of 100 Black Women, AFP, and Arts and Business Council.