“Boxed In, Boxed Out”, The Senior Dance Capstone

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The Senior Dance Capstone put on by the Utah Valley University Dance Department offered seniors a chance to present a synthesized display of everything they have learned in a powerful and moving performance entitled “Boxed In, Boxed out.” The concept behind the performance drew from the negative feelings many have experienced during these times of self-distancing and self-quarantining because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Instead of letting pandemic restrictions prevent them from expressing their creativity, they utilized beautiful cinematography to stream it to the comfort of viewers’ homes. At times it was as if the camera itself had become one of the dancers, enhancing the experience and drawing attention to certain aspects of each piece. Editing tricks were also used in clever and imaginative ways.

The performance was split into two parts, “Boxed In” and “Boxed Out,” consisting of seven performances each. “Boxed In” focused on the hardships of isolation and feeling trapped. “Boxed Out” focused on facing the unknowns of the outside world and the doubt and anxiety that accompanies it.

They all offered their own unique style and showed a range of different talents across the genres of dance. A general, overarching mood throughout was that of darkness and oppressiveness, utilizing jerky movements to describe feelings of fear and depression. Heart-wrenching music accompanied the routines. However, they were not without moments of peace and hope. Both parts ended with the same piece entitled “Center,” which reminded viewers to take a deep breath.

This was a truly moving experience that was able to tap into a visceral form of expression that other mediums cannot. The dancers opened up and offered a raw and heartfelt look into the inner turmoil people usually hide. It was a great opportunity not just to showcase their talent to their fellow students, but to connect on a deep and profound level.