Skip to main content
Department Of Dance

Contemporary Dance Theatre Reimagines “King Lear” Through Dance

The Department of Dance Explores Shakespearean Questions Through Contemporary Movement

When designing the BYU Contemporary Dance Theatre’s (CDT) upcoming performance, “See Better Lear” co-director Keely Song and Kate Monson were interested in highlighting all three aspects of the company: contemporary, dance and theatre. This dance performance is inspired by Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and will feature “contemporary works, physical dances and incredible theatrical performances.”

 “Audiences will enter into a community of Shakespeare Club enthusiasts discussing the major plot and theme of King Lear,” said Song. Each dance is a manifestation of a feeling, intention or amplification of “King Lear” passages. The audience members and dancers alike will be guided through the questions “King Lear” invokes and will be prompted to discover how they see themselves in the play.

Regarding the origin of this concert Song said, “It was inspired by my own time as a student at BYU when we created in our apartment the S.S.E.T. (Shakespearean Society of Enlightened Thinkers) Club and my high school Shakespeare teacher Mr. Hintze.”

 Although the performance follows the story of King Lear, Song assures audiences that you don’t have to have read or seen “King Lear” to enjoy or understand the pieces. “We hope the performance will inspire you to do your own deep dive into this great work,” she said.

To assist with this, the performance will have “King Lear” books and quick study guides for the audience to follow along with. Song notes that the CDT company members have been working diligently during rehearsals to highlight and dog-ear pertinent passages.

This year marks Song’s last year directing CDT before BYU Dance faculty Kate Monson and Adam Dyer take over. During her five years as director Song has focused on creating dance narratives that mix storytelling and movement. She did the same for “See Better Lear” by working closely with Music Dance Theatre (MDT) student Thomas Jenson who specializes in dramaturgy. Together with the actors, they created a script to intertwine narration and dance.

Inclusivity is an important aspect within CDT performances. Every performance of "See Better Lear" will offer ASL interpretation and David Schekall, a BYU student and Deaf actor, will join the dancers on stage as part of the Shakespeare Club. The performance will also feature master juggler Matt Love who represents both Lear and the club president.

Bailey Smith
Photo by BYU Photo

All of these elements will make for an exciting, one-of-a-kind contemporary dance performance. Song said, “We hope audiences and performers alike feel welcomed and included to have a transformative journey rooted in the words of King Lear.”

 This performance is suggested for ages 12+ due to the inclusion of death, tragedy, absurdity, confusing motives, abstract storyline, Shakespearean language and the art of debate.

Tickets and Show Details:
Date & Time:
November 16-17 | 7:30 p.m.
November 18 | 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Location: Dance Performance Theatre, Richards Building
Price: $18
Tickets: Available online through