This past weekend, Dance and Stepping at Amherst College (DASAC) performed their spring show in Keefe Campus Center’s Friedmann Room titled “DASAC Gets Out.” DASAC, Amherst’s student-run dance group focused on hip-hop, Caribbean and other dance styles originating from the black diaspora, celebrated its 15th anniversary with this show. The group was founded by black and brown students disappointed at the lack of representation of black dance. Each semester, the show is given a culturally relevant theme (last semester, the show was an homage to Beyonce’s newest album “Lemonade”).
The faculty in the English department took steps last year towards a connection with the theater and dance department by allowing playwriting classes to be counted for English course credit. This semester, their relationship has grown even further. The Green Room, a student-directed theater group that is not part of the theater department, brought these two departments closer together by hosting a playwriting competition.
“Being a Human in STEM” is a project-based course designed by students and chemistry professor Sheila Jaswal. The course, offered as a Chemistry special topics class, aims to foster a more inclusive, supportive STEM community and develop a framework for students and faculty to both understand and navigate diverse identities in the classroom and beyond.
On Good Friday, living rap legend Kendrick Lamar released his fourth studio album entitled “DAMN.” The album has already received rave reviews, despite being a significant departure from the heavy 70’s jazz vibe of his last project, “To Pimp a Butterfly.” His first song, “BLOOD,” is a narrative over a calm yet chilling beat. He tells the story of an interaction with a blind woman, who tells him he has lost his life, before a gunshot is heard. A Fox News audio clip disparaging lyrics from Kendrick’s other songs follows up the narrative.
All the world is a stage, and identity is a performance. Each instance of our lives is a dynamic reaction between our personal microcosms and macrocosms, which manufactures memories, histories and our perceptions of ourselves and others. The tradition of the American stage has been, in theory, defined by free agency and personal choice. America tells us that we decide what personas we want to perform, that we get to decide how we relate to individuals and society. Our identities are an improvisational piece largely perpetuated by our desire, personal choice and commitment.
Alexander Pushkin is Russia’s national poet, and “Eugene Onegin” is his most resonant masterpiece. It is no easy feat to transfer the life of poetry to the stage, but it was the burden director Rimas Tuminas had to bear in his much-anticipated and much-acclaimed reimagination of Pushkin’s seminal poem. The production, shown in Amherst Cinema, lasts a little under two hundred minutes, and in that time presents a jarringly contorted vision of the world of “Onegin,” one in which regret mangles its chronology.
Before Polina Barskova began to read her poems this past Sunday afternoon at the Jones Library in Amherst, she said something very wise: “Poetry is not to be understood but to be dealt with.” This comment proved to be especially fitting, at least for me, as she continued to read three of her wonderful poems in the original Russian — a language completely foreign to me — along with the accompanying English translations.