NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Let Armando Belliard-Harmon entertain you

Armando Belliard-Harmon, 3rd semester theatre major at NECC, got involved with theatre at a
very young age, bonding with his grandmother watching golden age movie adaptations of musicals.
“Singing in the Rain,” “White Christmas,” and works by Ben Crosby is what sparked the fire for him to become a multi-dimensional singer, actor and dancer. Inspired by these icons, Harmon began participating in middle school theatre. “I’ve gotten comfortable with both singing and dancing. In high school, I did show choir as well as all 3 [singing, dancing, and acting] but primarily it was singing and dancing. I can say that helped me a lot, skill-wise and also just overall being comfortable with myself,” said Harmon.
At NECC, Harmon has been a part of the production of King Lear, playing the role of Edmund, the scheming and malicious illegitimate son of Gloucester. “I’ve participated in the [Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival] KCACTF, which is more oriented around the individual, where they have a lot of workshops for the entire week at a select campus. This time it was at Western Connecticut State University and I was blown away by all the energy and the talent. Each day was crazy because you wake up, workshop-workshop-workshop-show. You auditioned for several different professional companies that were there, and also there were some shows that were being judged,” said Harmon.
Two students from NECC succeeded past the preliminary auditions, Hunter Gouldthorpe and Abigail Seabrook.
Harmon became involved in dance at NECC while getting his general education requirements satisfied. “I really didn’t know where I wanted to put my time in outside of the general education requirements and I thought to myself, what do they [NECC] have to offer… dance, theatre… I couldn’t get into any dance classes with my schedule,” said Harmon.
Serendipitously, he met Nina Cabral in a theatre class. Cabral is a dance major at NECC who started helping Harmon hone his ballet skills one-on-one. “As time went on, we thought, well why don’t we start adding people to this small kind of class,” said Harmon. The class is a beginner ballet class that started at NECC’s dance studio and has traveled to Cabral’s studio where she recreationally dances and teaches other classes. “It’s really grown into something and I can definitely say I’ve learned a lot from her. I just feel more confident now if I were to go to an audition that required dancing,” Harmon.
Harmon said that he doesn’t often feel any stigma attached to being a male dancer, partly because it is not as uncommon in his social circle, but that he simply doesn’t supply information to people about his dancing if they don’t ask. Hip-hop is a more popular style of dance for the guys, and more modern styles of dancing, which all relate back to the foundational aspects of ballet. “I realized that ballet was one of the harder things, it’s kind of like the grammar of dance. Once you get a good basis you understand the whole thing which is the vocabulary, and you go to all these auditions and they say ‘oh you need to do a pirouette. It could be a jazz or modern audition and I’ll get it. I wish there was a stronger support all around for other guys to feel comfortable. I always tell my friends who are also in the theatre department to come to the ballet class because it is challenging.” said Harmon.