WRA Dance Program presents “On The Box”
Rose Vardell

Our 2022 Winter Dance Performance is a telephile’s dream come true.

All are welcome to join us for the 2022 Winter Dance Performance, On the Box, in our Knight Fine Arts Center auditorium.

Friday, Dec. 2 | 8 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 3 | 8 p.m.


Binge. A funny five-letter word that keeps cropping up in conversation, specifically on the topic of television! To binge, in its traditional definition, means to indulge in an activity to excess — naturally, it’s a perfect verb to describe the way we consume content quickly and voraciously. We binge TV shows, gobbling up episodes or even seasons of a program, and we shelve shows like books, overwhelmed and excited by choice and access to so many viable options.

Television — and our love of content — reigns the stage at this year’s 2022 winter dance performance. Titled “On the Box,” the production takes audience members on an episodic journey. Each piece is an ode to a specific show and sitting inside the Knight Fine Arts Center, you may feel transported back to your sofa, surfing through channels and fighting over the remote.

“There’s something for everyone,” said Director of Dance Katie Velbeck, and it’s true. Fans of sitcoms, sci-fi, comedies, cartoons, drama and/or mock-documentaries will be delighted to hear familiar themes as student-dancers take the stage.

“When we were making our selections, it was important that we had TV shows from multiple generations,” shared Assistant Dance Director Ali Anzaldi ’13. “First I picked shows that I personally had watched. I consulted my mom to pull shows from her generation, and our students, of course, gave us their input on shows from their generation.” Student-requested shows include The Office, Pretty Little Liars and something called Life in the Dreamhouse. (“I guess it’s a Barbie show? Every student knows the words to the song. Like, all of them.”) Apparently, we need to check that one out.

Velbeck and Anzaldi faced a unique challenge with this production. How do you design choreography around television shows? Do you recreate scenes and assign characters, or do you pull from more general themes and overall vibes? The answer, in short, is a little bit of both — and entirely dependent on the show!

Take Law and Order, a show that focuses on ”two separate yet equally important groups” — for this one, Velbeck designed modern choreography, dividing her dancers in red and blue, representing the district attorneys and the police. Scooby Doo, on the other hand, features one of the most iconic and recurring scenes from the show — a montage of running back and forth on stage, mystery gang members and spooky figures taking turns opening a series of doors in a wild pursuit. Jinkies!

Just like you’d expect from your television guide and streaming services, there’s a wide variety of content to explore — giving our choreographers a chance to delve into different moods, interpretations and styles. There’s a Downton Abbey ballet, a piece set to Stranger Things, an X-Files number (Anzaldi and Velbeck had to explain this one to mystified students), an exploration of Euphoria.

“When you’re choreographing so many dances, it’s very easy to just want to keep doing the same thing — so we tried to do as much variety as possible,” shared Anzaldi. “If you focus on the music and themes, then this can drive the movement, the emotions and visual experiences.”

There are 81 students in the dance program, and that’s how many will be featured in this show. Our dance program, always popular, offers so much to our students — the opportunity for athletes to work on their flexibility and coordination, for seasoned dancers to improve their skills, for inexperienced students to try something new, for shy students to be a little brave. Each and every one of them has been working hard to put together a spectacular, cinematic show — as well as the crew behind the scenes. 

We can’t wait to settle into our seats and binge this live performance. See you all there!