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Q&A with alumnus and dancer Edward Rice ’04

Cast photo for Edward Rice's original choreographic work.

The cast of dancers selected to perform Edward Rice's original work during the 2018 Spring Dance Concert.

Dance teacher education major Stephanie Naumowicz interviewed dance performance alumnus Edward Rice ’04 during his February and March visits to campus as part of a guest artist residency within the dance program.

From your time as a student to your visits now, what differences or similarities have you noticed in your return to campus?

The thing that I was the most struck by in returning to the School of Theatre and Dance was how much the dance program has grown. It is amazing to see that the program has so many majors. The studio space in Centennial is beautiful and puts many of the rehearsal spaces in New York City to shame. I really enjoyed seeing the changes to the campus and having a chance to meet new faculty members, but a lovely balance was seeing the familiar faces and the sense that the soul of the school has remained the same.

What was your major takeaway from the School of Theatre and Dance at Illinois State University?

The experiences that I accumulated during the pursuit of my degree at ISU have served me very well. There is a rigor expected of the students in the School of Theatre and Dance that I believe set me up for my graduate work and my professional career. A lot of doors have opened for me because I was used to working very hard.

What advice would you give to students wanting to pursue a career in the fine arts?

It is hard work, but good work. There will be moments in your career for saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way and there will be moments where you will have to be more discerning about what you put your energy toward. Knowing when to change from one tactic to the other is not always easy, but it is an important question to keep asking. Be as kind as possible to everyone you meet. Our creative world can be surprisingly small, and you never know when you will run into someone again.

How would you describe your teaching style?

Edward Rice teaching during his guest artist residency.

Edward Rice teaches during his guest artist residency.

It is important to me that the studio has an atmosphere where people can slip into a state of concentration and feeling centered. I hope I help create a space where people can feel supported in moments of making mistakes and learning from them, feeling awkward while exploring something unfamiliar and sticking with the process of refining. In the world of fine art, I don’t believe that the words rigor and play are antithetical, I think they work hand-in-hand to create work that is engaging.

Describe what it was like to work with the college students during your residency at Illinois State University? 

It was an absolute pleasure. I had a lovely time in every class, rehearsal, and meeting. The students are attentive, smart, and talented. I very much look forward to seeing the Spring Dance Concert performance in a few weeks.

The piece that you set on the students during your residency will be performed at the Spring Dance Concert April 26 through April 29 in Westhoff Theatre. What would you like to say about the piece?

Not much actually. I hope the piece itself does the telling.

Edward Rice’s choreographic work will be presented at the Spring Dance Concert in Westhoff Theatre. Witness the athletic artistry of our dancers in an intimate thrust space for yourself. The concert runs from Thursday, April 26 to Sunday, April 29. Tickets are available at the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts Box Office (309-438-2535) or at ticketmaster.com. Prices are $12 for adults and $10 for students/seniors/faculty/staff.

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