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Theatre and Dance Preview

Graphic by Zach Watkins

With a new semester comes new performances from Belmont University’s Theatre and Dance departments. In store for February is “Blue Stockings,” followed by both “Hamlet Devised” and “Mixed Ballet XX: Reflections,” in April. 


First up is “Blue Stockings,” a play written by Jessica Swale originally published in 2013. The play follows the story of the first college in Britain to allow admittance to women, Girton College at the University of Cambridge. 


These women don’t take this opportunity for granted and work endlessly, matching their male classmates in academic rigor and success. Yet, once they’ve graduated, they are not faced with equal post-grad opportunities and are left to be ostracized by society. 


“Blue Stockings” is a story from a very different time than now, so the performers have needed to adapt. 


“The task of doing a women’s empowerment piece set in 1890’s Britain is a welcomed challenge,” said sophomore Jay Diestelkamp. 


“Blue Stockings” performances land between Feb. 20-25.  


Once “Blue Stockings” has concluded the Department of Theatre and Dance has “Hamlet Devised” next up on the list.  


When a work of theatre is “devised,” that means that the story comes from the actors themselves and is based on real life experiences.  


This devised work will focus on depression, climate change, and anxiety in young peoples’ lives and uses Shakespeare’s iconic “Hamlet” as a bouncing off point. 


Sophomore Ceirra Burdyck, a member of the ensemble cast, said that these issues will not be told not from the time of Shakespeare. 


“You'll see them through a different perspective of modern times,” Burdyck said. 


Alongside these modern themes, the show and its performers emphasize movement. 


“We are doing it through viewpoints, which is basically telling a story through movement,” Burdyck said. “Using kinetic energy with architecture around you and different lines, shapes and stuff to tell the story without using words.” 


Because of the intricacies of the movement that this piece requires, the ensemble must work together. 


“We take a while to do this so that we all are in sync with each other. So that when we move on to the rest of rehearsal, we’re connected,” Burdyck said. “We have to be in unison.” 


“Devised Hamlet” performances will take place from April 5 to April 13. 


Closing out these performances is “Mixed Bill XX: Reflections,” which celebrates 20 years of dance at Belmont.  


The performance features the Belmont University Dance Company — with dances by students, faculty, and guest artists. The dance company also have a partnership with a professional dance company, Nashville’s di Mossa. 


Sophomore Eliza Cook, a performer in “Mixed Bill XX: Reflections” is ready for the opportunity. 


“I am so thrilled for my first time performing in ‘Mixed bill’! We are working hard learning incredible modern, tap, ballet, and jazz pieces right now. All of which have their own story to tell or are intended to evoke some type of emotion from the audience,” Cook said. “Even if you know nothing about dance, I think you should most definitely come to ‘Mixed Bill’!” 


Catch “Mixed Bill XX: Reflections” performances on April 12 and April 13. 


The spring season is gearing up to be a big one for Belmont University’s Theatre and Dance departments. Make sure to catch these shows before the curtains close. 

This article was written by Abby Thomas


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