In collaboration with the Atlanta Hawks, Lifetime-TV reality star and dance studio proprietor Dianna Williams, along with her Dancing Dolls, will be conducting the DD4L Buck or Die Training Camp, a two-day camp on Nov. 20-21 at the new State Farm Arena.Participants of the training camp will perform with the Atlanta Hawks Dance Team on Nov. 21 during the halftime show when the Hawks take on the Toronto Raptors.
“Bring It!,” the non-scripted series that features Williams and her Dancing Dolls dance team aired its fifth season finale on Sept. 6. The Lifetime Network series has aired for a total of five seasons, consisting of over 100 episodes. Though a sixth season has been filmed, Lifetime has yet to announce if it will be picked up, as of press time.
Williams, commonly known as “Miss D” or “Coach D,” serves as the founder, head coach and decisionmaker for the Dancing Dolls, a troupe comprised from some of her best talent featured on the show. Williams is a dancer and choreographer, in her own right; in fact, the no-nonsense instructor said began dancing when she was four years old.
As the only dancer in her family, Williams said she naturally developed a knack for dance, without much outside influence.
She said she believes that dancing was a gift from God, and as such, defined her purpose.
“Growing up and utilizing dance (allowed) me to be the best ‘me’ that I can be, “ Williams said.
Williams attended the Angie Luke School of Dance in Clinton, Mississippi, and while a student there, she danced with an assortment of studios and organizations. She became exceptionally skilled in various forms of dance, including ballet, jazz, modern dance and tap.For Williams, the incorporation for her love of dolls, music and dancing was a crucial component behind the creation of the Dancing Dolls.
While teaching a dance class for the City of Jackson’s Parks and Recreation Department, Williams said she witnessed many families’ financial hardships, which often prevented them from enrolling their children in her class.
“In the City of Jackson’s program, the classes were $15 a month,” Williams said. “They could not afford it, even though it was dirt-cheap. Seeing all these things that were happening, I said, ‘There’s got to be something more I can do for the community.’
“I wanted to get young Black girls off the street, so I could give them an opportunity to dance and express themselves.”
So, in 2001, Williams created the Dancing Dolls.
Shortly after, Williams enrolled at Jackson State University to pursue a degree in criminal justice. After graduation, she continued coaching as a recreation aide and dance instructor for several programs on the north side of Jackson.
In 2009, Williams married her longtime boyfriend, Robert Williams, and gave birth to their son, Cobe Williams. “My husband was the one who suggested the first studio,” Willims revealed. “I’m telling him, ‘They took our car, and we need to figure out how we’re going to eat tomorrow.’ In his mind he’s like, ‘Yes, they fired me from my job, but why should I go look for another opportunity when I can create my own?’ In his mind, he already had it handled. ”
Prior to opening the Jackson Dollhouse Dance Factory, Williams moved to Sandy Springs, Georgia due to the relocation of her husband’s job. While living in Georgia, Williams’ family faced many trials and tribulations.
Her husband lost his job, her car was repossessed and her family was evicted from their home. After encountering so many losses, her husband suggested that they move back to Jackson, so she can continue coaching dance and finally open her own studio.
Shifting her focus in 2010 to developing the Dancing Dolls dance team, Williams opened the original Dollhouse Dance Factory in Jackson, Mississippi.
The Dollhouse Dance Factory experienced a significant boost in exposure when videos of the Dancing Dolls went viral on YouTube.
In 2013, a production company, Pilgrim Studios contacted the Dollhouse Dance Factory to scout the Dancing Dolls.
Lifetime Network was also interested in working with the Dancing Dolls. After careful consideration, Williams elected to take the Dancing Dolls to Lifetime.
“It was a matter of taking a chance on a bunch of Black kids that people don’t know anything about,” Williams said. “It was a show they didn’t believe in from the beginning, only giving us eight episodes. But they came back and added more because the ratings kept growing every week. We doubled our ratings every week.”
After developing one of the most successful television shows on the Lifetime Network, Williams created Dollhouse Dance Factory 2 in Birmingham, Alabama in 2015. In 2017, she opened a third Dollhouse Dance Factory in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Williams is currently working on the release of her limited edition “Coach D Doll,” created by Trinity Designs, a Black-owned company in Dallas, Texas.
She said will also continue to develop the Dancing Dolls.
Williams said she plans to publish her biography soon, wanting to give her followers a more honest look into her life.