Anna Edwards

Anna smiling against a brick wall
Adjunct professor at Johnson C. Smith University and Dance Teacher for the City of Belmont Recreation Department and Gaston Dance Theatre

BA in Dance with concentration in performance, choreography, and theory, UNC Charlotte (2018)
Master of Fine Arts in Dance, Hollins University (2019)

Hometown: Gastonia NC

Anna started dancing when she was three years old and continued through her senior year of high school. By that point, she felt it was time to take a break. “I was very burnt out and did not think I would continue. I enrolled at UNC Greensboro as an undecided major and tried so many new things (nutrition, history, political science, etc), but I would still find myself choreographing as I went to sleep. I decided to transfer to Charlotte in the middle of my sophomore year, and it was the best decision I have ever made.”

After transferring to UNC Charlotte, she found that her passion for dance was reignited, and she was shown a whole new world of opportunities, research, perspectives, and challenges. “I am infinitely grateful for the guidance and encouragement I received from all my professors, specifically Professor Tamara Williams.”

Anna made many memories while at UNC Charlotte. One of the most impactful was her research and participation in reconstructing the Ring Shout with Professor Tamara Williams. “During this semester, we participated in a field study in Charleston, SC over our Spring Break. This trip jump started my interest in the Ring Shout and in dance research. From there, I participated in Charlotte Research Scholars, and went on to take a few more field study, conference, and teaching assistant trips with Professor Williams. I am so thankful for those opportunities!”

Her choreography was also chosen to be a part of New York City's 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center for the program "College is Not a Dry Run." “It was such an honor to be chosen for this opportunity at such a historical venue! Another memory is participating in an Independent Study under the direction of Professor Tamara Williams that culminated in a performance in Rob 118 called Reactions of Resistance featuring visual and performance artists from the Charlotte area. I feel so lucky to have been involved in so many amazing opportunities!”

After graduating from UNC Charlotte, Anna anntended Hollins University and earned her MFA in dance. Currently, Anna is an adjunct professor at Johnson C. Smith University and has also taught at Coker University, Winthrop University, and recently at UNC Charlotte! She teaches a variety of classes including Modern/Contemporary Technique, Composition, Dance Appreciation, Intro to Dance, and Performance Practicum courses. She also teaches youth and adult dance classes for the City of Belmont under their Parks and Recreation Department. Through this organization, she has developed an adult performance company called City Dance Project that performs in and around the Belmont community. This organization has also allowed her to found an annual event, The End of Summer Dance Intensive, that includes free master classes and a professional performance for the greater Belmont Community featuring local artists. She also teaches classes and helps with administrative work at Gaston Dance Theatre, a non-profit and non-competitive studio in Gastonia. Her newest engagement is developing dance classes for senior adults that will start with two groups of seniors located in Belmont in September. 

two dancers in redWhen Anna made her way back to UNC Charlotte, she choreographed a wonderful piece for the 2023 Spring Dance Concert. Her piece is entitled A Moment Alone, which is a duet that explores an uneasy internal landscape that emerges from a dialogue with the voice in the back of your head. “It was an incredible experience to be back on campus and getting to work with the amazing production crew at Charlotte!”

Her advice for current students: “Surround yourself with friends who push you and celebrate your accomplishments. I would not have been as involved in the Dance Department without the endless love and support of my friends who encouraged me and participated in my projects. Also, try things that seem uncomfortable! Take that elective, audition, apply, and introduce yourself to as many people as you can!”

See more photos of Anna's piece and the rest of the 2023 Spring Dance Concert on our Flickr account!