March 24, 2020
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Between their arrival on the Hill and their departure four years later, many Kenyon students change their majors at least once, opting to study fields and subjects they otherwise would never have considered.
Ian Edwards ’17 of Alexandria, Virginia, is one of these students. He came to Gambier believing he would be a drama major, but due to scheduling conflicts during his first year, Edwards enrolled in “Beginning Modern Dance.” By that spring, he declared his dance major.
“This was exactly the thing I wanted to do,” Edwards said. “I wanted to find something that would allow me to be creative and also physical.”
Edwards will continue his dance career after graduation through work with DC Contemporary Dance Theatre in Washington, D.C. In addition to training and dancing with the company, Edwards will help with administrative work.
“It’s very difficult to get a job in dance,” Edwards said. “I didn’t even think that this was something that would have been possible for me four years ago.”
Edwards became acquainted with the company through an internship with the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which funds arts organizations in the city. His ultimate goal is to combine his internship experience with his new work for the dance company to eventually open his own studio and nonprofit arts incubator.
Edwards’ versatility as an artist was on display at Kenyon’s Spring Dance Concert in May. In addition to choreographing an 11-person ensemble piece, Edwards danced in the concert’s closing piece with other senior dance students, including Pankti Dalal ’17, a mathematics major and dance minor from Southampton, Massachusetts, who is teaching mathematics at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire while pursuing a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. The two grew together as performers and friends throughout their time at Kenyon, Dalal said, and their last performance at Kenyon marked a bittersweet moment.
“We have so many intricate duet moments in this [ensemble] piece, and it’s because our bodies kind of breathe together,” Dalal said. “We’re so in sync sometimes, it freaks us out because we’re very different sizes.”
Like Dalal, Edwards had mixed feelings about his final performance at Kenyon, but he is excited for future opportunities to perform and work on his craft. “I’m going to be able to focus on myself as an artist and as a physical performer,” Edwards said.
India Amos ’17 contributed to this story.