Clifford Williams began his dance training at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. He attended The Ailey School and The School of American Ballet, both on scholarships. He was a first-level recipient of a National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts award in 1998. In 1998, he attended The Juilliard School, where he danced works by many choreographers including Lar Lubovitch, Igal Perry, Hans van Manen, José Limón and Mauricio Wainrot. In 2001 he was invited to join the Dance Theatre of Harlem, where he danced until 2003.
In 2004, Williams joined Complexions Contemporary Ballet (New York). He has danced works by Dwight Rhoden, William Forsythe, Nicolo Fonte and Jae Man Joo. Since 2004, Williams has assisted director and choreographer Dwight Rhoden on numerous projects including ballets for the North Carolina Dance Theater, Pittsburgh Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and The Diana Vishneva Project as well as for the television show So You Think You Can Dance. He has also set Dwight Rhoden’s works for schools such as The Ailey School and the NYU Tisch School for the Arts. In addition to setting works for Dwight Rhoden, Williams is certified in teaching the official Contemporary Ballet technique of Complexions Contemporary Ballet and he continues to be involved in educational outreach for Complexions. In 2008, Williams left Complexions to perform as a Principal Dancer with the Compañia Nacional De Danza under the direction of Nacho Duato. Since then, he has danced many principal roles and was featured in creations by Duato. Williams returned to Complexions in 2009, where he danced as a Principal until 2012 before being appointed to Artist-in-Residence.