Meet Ian Baxter: Driven to dance

By Kathleen Walker


Photo by Tim Goldman

Although freshman dance major Ian Baxter discovered his passion later than most students—he didn’t start dancing until the summer after his freshman year of high school—his drive to learn all he can about his art is just as strong. “I was thrown into dance while doing theatre and discovered I really liked it,” Ian says. “I took one dance class and basically taught myself after that. Anywhere I could find a space I was doing turns or leaps and practicing to get everything right.”

Ian’s desire to be a better dancer led him to choose Kennesaw State for his undergraduate studies. “I found out KSU had a dance program that was just starting and I thought I could grow with it,” Ian says. “The teachers here are amazing and I can’t wait to learn more from them.” Assistant Professor of Dance Emily Yewell Volin enjoys teaching Ian. “He’s a great student,” she says. “He applies direction well and he has immersed himself in the program. Some freshmen take awhile to get settled, but Ian dove right in and he has a real presence when he performs.”

One aspect of being a dance student that Ian enjoys is having the professors and the other students encouraging him to do better. “When I first started, I got better because I pushed myself to do it,” Ian says. “At KSU, other people are pushing me, too, which is why I love it here.” Ian also enjoys working on both group and individual pieces because of the different dynamic each one brings to the final product. “I like solo dance because I can express myself, but with group dance, I can really bond with others and we grow and learn from each other. That’s exciting, too.”

During his time at KSU, Ian hopes to “grow as a dancer and take everything I learn so I can dance professionally and always keep evolving.” After graduating, he would like to go to Chicago and do a more in-depth study of jazz dance. “Eventually, though, I would love to own my own studio,” Ian says. “I’d also like to try teaching at colleges and choreograph and just find myself, find out who I really am.”

Volin knows that the future is wide open for Ian. “When he leaves here, he will not only be a performer, but a performer-scholar,” she says. “It will be fun to see what sparks his interest here and what he will do with what he learns at KSU.”




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