LISBON - Cindy L. Williams is reluctantly retiring from a 45-year career as a dance teacher and owner of Cindys Twirlers, a career which saw several hundred children from across the county learn how to dance and twirl the baton.
Mrs. Williams moved from Lowville to Canton in the early 1970s when she went to SUNY Canton and stayed in the region after marrying Ralph Williams in 1974.
Ever since high school Mrs. Williams, whose mother taught dance, had a passion for the arts.
I used to teach tap dancing in Lowville where I grew up, she said.
In the 70s and 80s Mrs. Williams taught dance classes at the Lewis Dance Studio in Ogdensburg, owned by her sister, Vicky Lewis.
It was in the early 1990s after her sister sold her dance studio that Mrs. Williams branched off and started the dance group that is familiar to parade and performance attendees across the county.
Cindys Twirlers focused on the baton, ribbon work, glow sticks and drum majorettes, technics she said she learned while working with her sister.
Over the years the attendance to her classes, which were held at local schools, increased. Mrs. Williams said she often had classes that were packed with close to 100 students.
That kind of blew me away, Mrs. Williams said of the numbers of students who turned up to learn from her.
Over the years Mrs. Williams taught students from Lisbon, Ogdensburg, Canton, Heuvelton, Potsdam and DeKalb.
Looking back Mrs. Williams said she has mostly loved making the kids happy. They enjoyed coming and I enjoyed teaching them.
Mrs. Williams said Cindys Twirlers made a habit of turning up to parades including the Canton Dairy Princess Parade and the Lisbon Homecoming Parade as well as the Ogdensburg Seaway Festival Parade.
If someone wanted to take [my classes] I would never say no, she said. Even if it was days before the recital I let them in.
In 2013 Mrs. Williams was given the Distinguished Service Award from the Lisbon Lions Club for her work in the community.
Throughout her career Mrs. Williams has also worked in local schools in the cafeteria when she wasnt teaching students how to dance. She currently works at Madrid-Waddington Central School.