Beginning in the spring semester, the newly formed Kenyon Ballet Company will host student-led classes for beginning, intermediate and advanced dancers. Co-founders Clare Purdy ’25 and Eve Currens ’25 had the idea for the club early last spring, and they hope to get it approved upon students’ return to campus in January. The goal of the club is to create a space for people of all backgrounds to comfortably engage in the art of ballet.
Purdy has loved ballet since she was introduced to it as an energetic kid. As she grew up, she developed an appreciation for ballet as a genre that encouraged artistic expression and personal discipline while also facilitating community. “Ballet was that step for me to gain back control and discipline while also letting myself be really creative,” she said.
Upon coming to Kenyon, Purdy wanted to share her love of dance with the wider student body. While the Department of Dance, Drama and Film does offer classes of varying levels each year, the founders of the Kenyon Ballet Company want people with an interest in ballet to be able to learn, regardless of their abilities or scheduling conflicts. Purdy feels like the club will make the dance community at the College more accessible to students outside of the department. Classes will be drop-in, so dancers can join at their leisure and come and go as they please.
The club plans to host student-led classes, allowing for experienced dancers to collaborate with those wanting to learn new skills. At an interest meeting on Nov. 13, Purdy and Currens surveyed those wanting to lead a class, and they are planning on creating a robust schedule of classes and instructors. Purdy envisions that the classes will be structured like conventional ballet practices, with warmups, bar, positions, jumps and turns. The beginner classes, especially, will introduce dancers to the basics of ballet, which will give them the technique and confidence to move up to higher levels. The hour- to hour-and-a-half-long classes are planned with enjoyment in mind as well. “We are going to try to have a lot of fun with music options and variations,” said Purdy.
Alongside the student-taught classes, the Kenyon Ballet Company is also planning on hosting movie nights featuring a wide variety of acclaimed ballet and dance films. As the club builds its membership, the founders are hoping to be able to put on performances for the community showcasing their work. Purdy anticipates this happening later in the club’s existence. For now, students who are interested in learning or teaching ballet can find the Kenyon Ballet Company on Instagram @kenyonballetcompany.