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Dance show explores body, soul

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While they won’t be on pointe the whole evening, the dancers taking part in ‘Mixed Bill 3: Sole to Soul ‘will demonstrate a range of styles, from the classical to the contemporary. The production will be the innaugural dance performace in the new Troutt Theatre.

Fierce musical theater tap dancing, African movements to Middle Eastern music and professional ballet steps will all be gliding across the same floor on the same night.

In a few weeks, the department of theatre and dance will present its fourth annual spring concert entitled “Mixed Bill 3: Sole to Soul.”

“We try to have something for everyone,” head dance instructor Debbie Belue said.

Students can get free tickets to attend the performance at 7:30 p.m. on March 14 and 15 or at 2:30 p.m. on March 16. Thirty-four Belmont students will be performing the 12 pieces, with the majority of them being dance minors or musical theater majors.

The theme of this year’s concert, “Sole to Soul,” is a play on words referencing the sole of a dancer’s foot and the spiritual soul.

“From some deeper place comes the dancing, and that comes out of your body and hopefully touches [the audience] in a meaningful way,” said Carrie Gerow, an adjunct dance instructor who choreographed two dances for the concert.

Tap, modern, jazz and ballet dance styles will all be represented.

“There are a lot of variations in what you’re going to see so that you will hopefully see something that appeals to you,” Belue said.

Eight guest professionals from the Nashville Ballet will perform a piece on the first two nights. Epiphany Dance Company will also be sharing the dance that was filmed as a part of Christmas at Belmont.

“It’s interesting to see those conversations happen on stage,” Gerow said. “It’s almost like different languages. How does modern and ballet style compare to tap, compare to African dance? It’s fun to see them next to each other in one night.”

In past years, the concert has taken place in Massey Performing Arts Center. This will be the dance department’s first performance in Troutt Theater.

“Troutt is narrower and deeper,” Gerow said. “I think it draws the audience in a little more.”

Choreographing for the different space has been an adjustment, but there are advantages to having the new theater.

“Scheduling is so difficult in Massey,” Belue said. “It’s a nice situation now because we have time to rehearse in the theater. The dancers can be comfortable in there. They have a sense that it’s their space.”

Getting There

The Department of Theatre and Dance will present ‘Mixed Bill 3: Sole to Soul’ March 14 and 15 at 7:30 pm and March 16 at 2:30 pm in the Troutt Theatre. The recital is free to the public and Culture & Arts convo will be available.

The audience can expect a more advanced level of dancing and a broader range of styles.

“Every year the dancers become stronger so we’re able to push them to a new level,” Belue said. “I think it is something people who have been coming for the past four years have seen and look forward to.”

The dance program is in its fourth year as a minor, and the directors are making progress so that it may eventually grow into a major.

“We have more dance minors than ever before and more dancers participating in the concert than ever before,” Gerow said. “The rising juniors and seniors are stronger, and we are drawing stronger incoming freshmen dancers.”

Sophomore religion and the arts major Claire Warner will dance in three pieces for the concert. She hopes Belmont students who are typically more interested in music will come support the budding dance program.

“Some people might have no clue about dancing, but even if you’re a soccer player or math major you can somehow be connected to this art form or at least receive something from it,” Warner said.

The dancers, who auditioned last April to be a part of this concert, have been practicing since September. Gerow expects the concert-watchers to be just as touched as the performers.

“I think discovering dance as a powerful communicative art form is exciting,” Gerow said. “Many people who don’t expect themselves to be affected by dance come away surprised. It is such a visceral, physical art form.”

February 28, 2008

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