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About Me:

My name is Olivia and I am a senior at Butler University. I spend most of my time in Lilly Hall as a BFA Dance Performance major. When not in rehearsal or ballet class, I write papers for my English Literature second major. In my super-abundant, never-lacking, this-is-highly-sarcastic spare time, I attempt to cook in my apartment kitchen, watch Youtube videos of ballet, knit sweaters that never seem to come to an end, and read books both silly and serious. If I could take any class at Butler just for kicks, I'd go for DiffyQ.

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Archive: November 2010

In mourning: NaNoWriMo

I have mentioned Nanowrimo. I can’t explain it again. I’m too heart-broken.

I have decided against participating in National Novel Writing Month this year: I have too much to do with my Irish Lit class’ huge paper (which I am started to panic about a wee bit). This kills me, as my little sister is doing it, and I’ve done it for the past four years, and… and…. Grrr. I’ve dubbed this November NaPaWriMo: National Paper Writing Month. The idea is that I write a page and a half of my Irish Lit paper each day. My progress so far? Negligible.

Still, I couldn’t resist writing a little before breakfast this Monday, on November 1. For your reading pleasure, my completely unedited, auspicious, to-be-unfulfilled Nanowrimo. Call it a tribute to a Nano novel unwritten. Don’t judge. I hadn’t had caffeine yet.

The ancient Peruvians were known far and wide for their hot air balloons. This is a little known fact nowadays, but in their time they were quite famous. Ballooning can be quite technical; ballooning manufacture can be quite complicated. Above all, ballooning requires no small measure of bravery: A single man, aloft in the sky, at the mercy of the winds, with only ballast and fuel supply to determine his way. Ballooning requires a certain, shall we say, sensitivity. Once up, you cannot push off and steer too much. You have only the power to influence the forces already acting on her. Ballooning is above all learning to cope with what you have, learning to go with the air flow, as it were.

That is what our hero was telling himself as he floated high above the trees of his hometown in a stolen air balloon with very little ballast. It had been a quick getaway; he had not had time to outfit his chosen ship properly with sand. Sand was heavy. Very, unexpectedly heavy, even. A man on the run is not going to place much sand in a stolen hot air balloon. A man on the run with a rather, shall we say, lofty figure, is not going to stop and check over each supply of ballast.

He had made a quick getaway, at least. Little ballast, a blast from the fuel flare, and he was up above the canopy cover of his hometown, floating free as a bird.

Freer even, since he had not idea how he was going to descend.

When bloggers meet…

The other student Butler Bloggers this year are Stephanie, Andre, Cathryn, and Justin. Naturally, I read all the blogs that are posted on this site, so I generally have an idea of what my fellow bloggers are doing. That doesn’t sound creepy at all.

We have all met each other, of course, but we cover a wide range of majors and interests, so I don’t see anyone on  a regular basis. When we do meet now, it’s funny: We feel we know each other from reading the blogs, yet we have not actually talked much face-to-face. Imagine the excitement when I realized Andre was in the First Year Seminar version of my Contemporary Irish Literature class (a senior English course), both taught by the same professor and using the same readings.

We met at a movie viewing for the class on Monday night. (It was Once, if you are interested, and it was excellent.)

So, what happens when bloggers meet?

They get very excited and take extremely awkward photos.

Awkwardness = glare on glasses + my face

Awkwardness = red eyes + too much exposure

Halloween, sort of: alternatives to drinking

Demetri Martin has a thing about adding “sort of” after certain phrases. The case of “Halloween” does not actually fit in with the joke, but we did have Halloween sort of, so I thought… Actually, never mind.

Halloween was this past Sunday, as I’m sure you know, but everyone seemed to celebrate on Saturday–except Butler University. Last year on Halloween, I went to Lambda Chi Alpha‘s fairly terrifying haunted house. Afterwards, my this-year-roommate and I went to Atherton Union to watch the scary movies and eat the free candy. Well, we mostly just pretended to watch the movie for a bit and smuggled Reese’s Pieces out in her babushka costume head scarf.

This year? Nada. Sure, there are parties, but I don’t drink, and as nice as it is to see everyone and admire all the creative costumes, I’m not going to hang around once people start up with all that. So we minced off to Atherton, hoping to fulfill our “we have to do something–it’s Halloween!” expectations. And there was nothing.

I’m not sure whether turnout last year was poor, or if all University-sponsored programs were earlier in the day (but it was before midnight), or if there were no programs because it was not actually Halloween on Saturday, but I was disappointed there were no late-night, non-alcoholic programs. Maybe I just missed it?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t feel pressured to drink. There are plenty–plenty–of things to do that don’t involve alcohol. Butler generally does a good job of programming these sorts of events: In fact, some think we are over-programmed. But still. It was Halloween sort of.

However, we still had cute costumes:

I went as Y Ball Eiffel Tower, of Laban Movement Choir fame. Very low key. Mildly witty, if you are in on the joke (as all dance majors are). Perfect.

Nancy Drew and the Case of the Missing Emeralds by Star Fountain.

Afterwards, I hung out with a friend. There might have been apple cider involved.

Prime Real Estate

Butler’s Dance Department performs The Nutcracker annually at Clowes Memorial Hall, which is right next to the fine arts college in Lilly Hall on Butler’s campus.

Last Friday was Nutcracker poster hanging day. Members of Sigma Rho Delta (the dance service fraternity) disperse all around the town to hang Nutcracker posters. I’ve actually only ever been assigned to the campus crew, which means we just hang posters in Butler’s bookstore, Irwin Library, Jordan Hall, and so on.

However, before we compete for best spots on the bulletin boards (the prime real estate), we eat pizza together. This has sort of evolved into a tradition of the older members of Sigma Rho telling stories about the department to the new students. I remember laughing and laughing as a freshman, and now I got to share memorable departmental moments with the pledges who helped out with poster hanging. It’s a fun tradition.

My friend Anna helped during poster hanging as well. And when I say “helped,” I actually mean “took pictures of everything.” With photography skills like hers, the urge seems perfectly natural. She was kind enough to let me use her pictures, so I shall let the rest of post speak for itself.

Student Choreography: It never ends

Actually, Student Choreography is over, so my title may not be entirely accurate. I feel like I have so much more time now that it’s over. Of course, I should be writing my long Irish Lit paper. But, you know. I needed one weekend to chill out, right? That’s what I’m telling myself.

Back to the Student Choreography report. I’ve told you what Student Choreography is and a bit about the music I used. Now to the dancing:

I’m not completely happy with the final result. I learned quite a bit in the process of choreographing this first piece, and I think certain choices were successful. But. If I had to do it over again:

  • I would maybe chose different music. The Art Pepper Quartet’s version of “You Go To My Head” proved to be an ambitious choice for someone with not the greatest musical acuity.
  • I would try to work more efficiently. I called so much rehearsal, and I really am grateful for my fifteen dancers for putting up with me. They were all very cooperative, so I definitely owe them a big thank you!
  • I would not be so stiff. I realized half-way through that my choreography tended to be walk-to-a-place. Dance-in-one-place. Walk-elsewhere. Repeat. I needed more moving phrases and more formational shifts that were not so arbitrary.
  • More dynamics. There were moments with different moods, but it tended towards doalotofmovements,oneoneachcount and hold. Repeat.
  • I just didn’t like some of it. There was no time to revise, however, so onto the stage it went.

Despite all that, I’m really glad I participated in Student Choreography. The very fact that I can pick apart my dance ’til the cows come home proves that I got a lot out of the experience, right?

My piece was called “All the Stars’ Eyelids,” by the way, which is the literal translation of the first few words of the Welsh song “Ar Hyd Y Nos.” The Welsh title actually translates to “All Through the Night,” but the first few words start, “Holl amrantau’r sêr ddywedan,” which is “All the stars’ eyelids say.” My piece was an ode to odd people, and I thought the title was fitting.

And that was the story of my first choreographed work in the Student Choreography showcase. It was not entirely successful, but I learned a lot from the experience.

Dancers from my piece on the Student Choreography flyers!

Student Choreography: My Frankenstein

The Student Choreography report continues…

I used music by Art Pepper called You Go to My Head. I have been trying to choreograph something for an embarrassingly long time, and this music is actually a vestige from another idea I had involving the ideal of femininity right after World War II, since there seem to be some contradictions in there. The music is part of the cool jazz genre right around that time.

(At least, it’s cool jazz as far as I know–I suppose I should ask some of my jazz musician friends for an analysis. I already got a wonderfully entertaining analysis of the chord progressions…. There was something about a dejected E-flat finally finding resolution just when he had given up. If you think you have a musical ear, why don’t you listen to the music and tell me if you agree?)

YouTube Preview Image

If you can’t see the video above–because I can’t, and I wonder if I’m going about embedding it the wrong way–follow this link to the Youtube page. [Edit: I think I’ve got it.]

So that was the music I used. I had three soloists and twelve corps members, and though I would have loved to have colorful costumes, there were so many people that for cost reasons I could not make or buy anything. They all wore white t-shirts and black tights, and the marvelous lighting designer made the white look pretty darn good in purples and greens.

Because the music is so evocative of a certain period and mood, I had to be really careful not to slip into that style. Much of the movement ignores the melody and tries to work off the baseline, though I honestly had a pretty hard time picking this piece apart. I’m not incredibly knowledgeable about music, and jazz compositions tend to be very complex. I think so, at least.

So I tried not to Mickey Mouse the music.

Click the picture for source.

More later?