Senior dance major modify capstone performance into unique virtual experience

By Christian McCarville

Spring 2020 will certainly be remembered as a time where life as we knew it was flipped upside down. As the semester comes to a close, professors must be creative in the ways that they modify and assign their final projects. 

Fully utilizing online resources and incorporating a variety of student talents, Associate Professor of Dance Kim Vaccaro has put together a unique Capstone performance for her dance students. This Capstone project is titled “The Untold Stories of Growing Up,” and can be accessed virtually on May 1.

Senior dance major Emma Kasper explained the centric theme of the show that will be seen within each performance.

“The theme, especially with the given circumstances, is about just growing up and having life throw unexpected things your way,” said Kasper. “All of the seniors have recorded and edited their pieces so we can have a virtual show via Youtube. We want to have a release party with our peers so we can take our time watching and really enjoy and immersing ourselves into their dances.”

“The Untold Stories of Growing Up” features performances by senior dance majors Alexa Boone, Gabriella Ann Boes, Rose Conroy Voza and Xiomara Quinones. This performance will demonstrate the seniors’ cumulative knowledge and skill in the art of dance. 

(From left to right) Gabriella Boes, Xiomara Quinones, Kim Vaccaro, Alexa Boone and Rose Conroy-Voza all prepared for this year’s capstone to be moved online. Photo courtesy of Kim Vaccaro.

“The seniors, and their production team, are responsible for the development of the idea, creation, rehearsal, direction of dances, marketing, promotion, social media and all technical aspects such as lighting, costumes, space, filmmaking, editing, presenting and producing,” Vaccaro said.

This performance is not limited to seniors, however, as several junior dance majors will play a role in producing and choreographing the show. Guest choreography will be done by junior dance major Victoria Kreutzer. Producers of the show include junior dance major Alexa Goldblum, alongside Kasper and Kreutzer.

Goldblum spoke on her role in the performance as a production manager. 

“I created and run the social media accounts and YouTube page,” said Goldblum. “I have been advertising the show for the past four weeks on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. I also edited one of the pieces and I could not be more proud of the work that these girls have provided for us. Being a junior, this really helped me gain knowledge and experience for my capstone and has even inspired some ideas that I might use next year.”

The creation of a Rider Dance YouTube page also opens the opportunities for viewers to gain more insight into each senior’s process in completing their capstone performance.

“You can view not only their piece but their rehearsal videos, performance reels, interviews and inspiration videos all on the YouTube page,” said Goldblum. “And since all of these pieces will be pre-recorded and uploaded to YouTube, they will remain there forever and the seniors can use their pieces as a part of their portfolios in the future.”

These dance majors, under the guidance of Kim Vacarro, used online resources to coordinate their online capstone performance. Here they are pictured using the popular web application Zoom to video chat and discuss their plans for the performance. Photo courtesy of Kim Vaccaro.

Developing this type of performance in a remote learning setting certainly requires admirable coordination and communication skills. It is evident that both the cast and crew worked extremely hard to complete this capstone despite the difficult circumstances caused by the coronavirus crisis.

“There was no set guideline on how to run a show like this because it’s never been done before,” said Kreutzer. “As a result, we had spent just as much time strategizing as we have to execute. With the three weeks that we had, every tech member buckled down and dedicated all of their time to make this year’s senior capstone memorable. I couldn’t have asked for better help with the show.”

All those interested in viewing this senior capstone performance can log on to the Rider Dance YouTube page starting May 1.

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