You may recognize Dianna “Miss D” Williams from Lifetime’s hit television series Bring It— a reality show which documents Williams’ career as the founder and dance coach for The Dollhouse Dance Factory.
Williams (or Coach D as her dance team calls her) is a successful, self-made businesswoman. She is a graduate of Jackson State University and a multi-talented dancer and choreographer.
Training over 2,000 dancers, Coach D has paved the way for elite hip-hop majorette competition. The businesswoman has even expanded her dance company to Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia.
Dancing has always been a great passion for Coach D. She started dancing when she was a little girl and pursued the sport as a career by age 21.
“People don’t even know Dianna’s story,” she said during our phone interview. “They don’t know my story because Lifetime only shows you so much. My full story is one that is mind-boggling and will blow your mind.”
“I’ve been homeless before. I’ve had my car repossessed before. I’ve been on food stamps before. I’ve lost everything before, but I took nothing and literally prayed hard and made it into something. Lifetime just came by accident. I wouldn’t even say that that’s an accident because God makes no mistakes.”
Coach D’s passion for dancing and mentoring young women became a journey that she believes has blessed her life and humbled her greatly. “I was just doing something that I felt like was good in the community and literally following a path that was laid out for me by my grandmother and the strong women in my family before me,” she said.
“I just followed their footsteps and did what I was supposed to do, stayed humble, and continued to do what I love and out of nowhere I got a phone call from Lifetime.”
Now in its fifth season, Bring It! highlights Coach D’s The Dollhouse Dance Factory, the hip-hop majorette community, and competitions in which the dancers compete. This summer, Coach D and the dancing dolls are going on a 34-city tour and it’s one she promises fans are going to love!
I caught up with Coach D to learn more about the Bring It! dance tour and her hit television show. Check out the interview below!
GOOD LIFE DETROIT (GLD): What do you love about dancing?
COACH D: “What is there not to love?! Everything about dancing is a way for you to release– to have a spiritual connection with yourself. It’s kind of like crying but just through movement. It gives you an opportunity to express yourself. Expression in dance is everything. That’s why there are so many different styles of dance. You have some styles of dance that make you think, that tug on your emotions, that make you cry, [and] that make you excited. There’s so much to dance to love. Dance is a well-rounded sport and I wish people would look at it like a sport.”
GLD: Why do you think it’s important to have reality television shows that feature successful African American women?
COACH D: “I think it’s important to showcase women in a positive light period. No matter the race that you are, I think that it’s important that women are showcased as the beautiful, dominant creatures that we are because men wouldn’t be walking this Earth if it wasn’t for a woman, to begin with.”
“I mean, understanding that women are the most amazing creatures they are to be able to give life, we should be celebrated in every way humanly possible. Reality TV shows always show women arguing, throwing drinks, and fighting and yelling, but showcasing a woman that is doing something amazing, such as creating an organization, building a business, and being a humanitarian, a philanthropist, a mom…people need to see how hard that it is, but how fulfilling and rewarding it can be and why it’s important to be able to impact our youth. Because our youth are the ones that are watching us.
“To be honest, our millennials and this generation of kids that are growing up, they’re crazy right now– walking into schools and shooting people There’s fight videos posted everywhere There’s always something going on, but we need to see adults that are out there showcasing positiveness so our kids have something to look forward to…like Bring It! that showcases real life. Real life things that are happening with these kids in school, graduating struggling with grades, struggling with puberty, struggling to make the cut for something they want to do so bad. Even though dance is not something that everybody wants to do, it’s important just like anything else.”
GLD: Teaching self-confidence and self-love are very important for young women, especially teenagers. How do you encourage the dancers to have self-confidence and self-love?
COACH D: “I just remind my team and tell them how amazing they are. Sometimes you need to be consistently reminded of what it is that you’re doing in this world and why you’re here.”
“You know, God gives us all a gift and a talent. Some people are born with it and some people– they learn how to do the thing they should do. [I remind] the girls that no matter what happens…keep pushing. Motivating them in a way that makes them feel like they are the most amazing human being on the face of this Earth. Every single they that they walk through The Dollhouse, no matter what happens outside of the dollhouse, know who you are when you walk in.”
“There’s not going to always be times where the girls walk away from The Dollhouse feeling great because they’re going to be sad whether they didn’t make the cut for something or they didn’t get the position in line that they wanted.”
“A lot of times I feel like the parents play a big factor in that, too. Because if the parents do not back up what the coaches are saying and continue to motivate their child and turn around and speak negatively about the coach and negatively about the coach’s decision, it makes the situation ten times worse. Kids need to be encouraged and motivated every day!”
“I don’t want the girls to be soft. I don’t want them to think that the world is just raining a bunch of gumdrops or just eating Skittles every day and skipping through fields of sunflowers. It’s just not real. You have to be honest with these kids and tell them that life is going to kick you in the face. You have to be ready to handle the world and how are you going to get up from it. You’re going to get cut from a lot of things in life, but it’s [about] how you bounce back from that.”
Special thanks to Coach D for taking the time to interview with Good Life Detroit! The Bring It! LIVE Tour comes to Michigan this fall, making a stop in Flint on July 17th!
Coach D says the show is going to be different from previous shows. Fans can expect a more interactive experience and will have the opportunity to participate in a dance battle. The Dancing Dolls will also perform a huge grand opening number and fans will see “choreography you have never seen before.”
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All photographs are courtesy of Dianna Williams