In Memory of

Steven

Wilson

Obituary for Steven Wilson

STEVEN WILSON 1984-2023

Norwich, CT – Steven Wilson was born January 17, 1984 to Byron Sylvester Wilson and Debra
Faye Wilson, their first child. On August 25, 2023, Steven answered God’s call and danced his
way home to be reunited with his brother Terell and all the angels in Heaven.

Steven devoted his life to movement: dancing and choreographing the pain, the pride, and the
power into countless productions large and small. His commitment to pursuing social justice, as
well as to teaching and empowering the next generation, began early in his life and never
wavered. Steven created memorable, innovative, breathtaking events and productions that
moved people to tears, laughter, and most importantly action. From El Amor Propio to OASIS,
from Colors of Life to Black Leaves Dance Company, he always recognized the sacred
opportunity he had to engage communities in pursuit of social justice.

Dancing professionally since the age of sixteen, Steven graduated from The Norwich Free
Academy in 2002. While a student at NFA, Steven danced with the “Colors of Life” Dance
Troupe, directed by Gwen Martins, and began his choreography career by choreographing for
the NFA Step Team. He also founded his own dance program (El Amor Propio) for students in
grades four through eight. He made his theatrical debut as The Wolf in NFA Playshop’s
production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s “Into the Woods.” Steven was actively
involved in the NFA Band as well. Upon graduation he received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Scholarship.

Throughout his life Steven wrestled with the experience of being a Black man in America. His
interest in exploring these issues, as well as his desire to continue his dance studies, led him to
attend the historically Black, all-male Morehouse College in Atlanta. He majored in Drama (with
a concentration in Dance) and Business Administration (with a concentration in Marketing). His
years at Morehouse helped prepare Steven for his professional career founding and directing
dance companies.

A teacher of teachers, Steven served on the faculty of Dance Express LLC, DREAM Studios,
and Writers Block Inc. He taught master dance classes for Connecticut College, UConn,
Eastern Connecticut State University, Saint Joseph's College, Clark Atlanta University,
Morehouse College and Spelman College. He served on the boards of The Dance Express
Dance Company, Wanda Alston Foundation, and X Rae Dance Company. Also an
accomplished and noted fashion show director, critic, and model coach, Steven produced and
directed shows for his production company Ovah The Top Productions.

During his years living and working in Washington, DC, Steven fused the two crucial elements of
his life: dance and social justice. While founding and directing the award-winning OASIS Dance
Company (both in DC and in Connecticut), Steven served as Office Administrator for Global
AIDS Alliance, Community Affairs Program Associate for the National Association of People with
AIDS, and Research & Administrative Assistant for the Clinical Alliance for Research and
Education – Infectious Diseases (CARE-ID). These and other activist causes were personal for
Steven. He always infused his work with humanity and empathy. Steven and his company
received numerous awards and recognitions such as NYC Pride Best Dance Performance
2016, Innerlight Ministries Community Award, Community Church of DC Award, and DC Black
Pride Unsung Heroes Award.

After returning home to Norwich for long-term dialysis care, Steven began the process of
fulfilling his life’s dream: founding a modern ballet company whose mission meant everything to
him. Premiering at the 2022 Intersections Festival at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in
Washington DC, Black Leaves Dance Company is an all-Black, all-male, queer-inclusive dance
company specializing in modern ballet, highlighting the stories and perspectives of Black men in
America. They explore themes related to identity and self-actualization: questions of masculinity,
sexuality, religion, and race. Under Steven’s leadership, Black Leaves secured a major grant
from the DC Commission on the Arts, a Resident Arts partnership with The Atlas Performing
Arts Center, and headliner status for its second appearance at the Intersections Festival in 2023
where they presented their modern ballet “Sons of Douglass.” Steven led the Black Leaves
team to create a space where Black male dancers can feel they belong, where they can pour
their pain, their pride, and their power into unforgettable stories told through heart-breaking and
joyful movement. His legacy lives on.

Steven was predeceased by his grandmother Levora Perkins and brother Terell Trent Wilson.
Steven leaves behind his parents Byron and Debra Faye Wilson of Norwich CT; siblings Byron
Jr., Debra Nicole Wilson, Derell Wilson, Britton (Brittany) Wilson, Gilin Wilson, Gilio Wilson, Gilia
Wilson, and Yvdovia Wilson; nephews Britton Wilson Jr., Jaheim Wilson, Braxton Wilson, and
Jaquei Wilson, God siblings Clayton Jennette, Jami Shackles, Xavier Day, ex-husband Dr.
Brandon Wilson, special friend Patrick Barry, and a whole host of family and friends.
Services will be held Tuesday, September 5, at Cornerstone International Church, 248
Broadway, Norwich, CT. Friends may call from 10am-11am. The funeral will start at 11am.
Interment will follow immediately after the service at Maplewood Cemetery. Repast will be held
at the church following interment.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Lester Gee Funeral Home.