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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: February 2011

Midwinter schedule II

Ever wanted to know what production week is like for a dance major? The schedule summary continues.

Wednesday:

  • Arrive at Clowes at 9 am to warm myself up.
  • Get an email retroactively saying our spacing rehearsal would not actually be starting until 11 am.
  • Read Moby Dick. (At least three people have mentioned this news story to me.)
  • Warm up again.
  • Space Walpurgisnacht.
  • Eat lunch.
  • Have ballet class on stage.
  • Run a tech rehearsal in costume.
  • Go to night class–Literature of the American Renaissance. Realize Moby Dick fits brilliantly with Jacques Derrida’s whole language-has-no-source thing. Sense a paper in the offing.
  • Plan out my summer schedule/BSI issues/senior year schedule/life in general.
  • Sleep.

Thursday:

  • EN 185 class: Q&A with Mark Halliday of the Visiting Writer’s series.
  • Mark Halliday

    Mark Halliday: Click for photo credit

  • En 366: Odes.
  • Leave English early to get to Clowes.
  • Take warm up class.
  • Run dress rehearsal.
  • Rejoice over the fact that our shoes did not have to be pancaked.
  • Do choreography homework. Do dance history reading.

Friday:

  • Attend dance history.
  • Get a zebra hot chocolate from Starbucks and read Emily Dickinson when choreography was unexpectedly canceled.
  • Take ballet class with auditioners.
  • Something happened next, but I cannot remember what it was. Did I do homework? I feel like I hung out with a friend instead.
  • Warm up at 6:30 pm.
  • Performance at 8 pm!! So much fun! My one correction? “Smile more,” Ms. Wingert told me. “Enjoy yourself.” That was easy enough to fix: I felt like I had been grinning like a fool, so I was trying to tone it down. Not so! I love Balanchine.
  • Sleep.

Midwinter schedule

Why have I not blogged in about a week? Midwinter Dance Festival! You are coming, correct? Here is Midwinter production week in list form:

Monday:

  • Meet with the head of Butler’s English department
  • Help load-in at Clowes Memorial Hall
  • Rejoice because the previous class finished installing the floor already
  • Take ballet class
  • Rehearse Walpurgisnacht in the studio
  • Work on choreography homework
  • Do other assorted homework/make pasta with butternut squash bits in it
  • Sleep

Tuesday

  • EN 185 class: discuss the poems of Visiting Writers Series guest Mark Halliday
  • EN 366: discuss the poems of John Clare
  • Take ballet class
  • Rehearse Walpurgisnacht in the studio
  • Do choreography homework
  • Help a student from EN 185 with her paper
  • Dinner, homework, sleep

To be continued…

Interested in the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series? Take a gander at a poetry reading I attended last semester:

YouTube Preview Image

Midwinter Dance Festival program

Come to Midwinter Dance Festival! The Butler Ballet is performing this Friday and Saturday, Feb 25 and 26 at 8 pm at Clowes Memorial Hall. Buy tickets here or at the box office up to two hours before the show starts.

What will you see?

1. La Bayadère, staged by professor Marek Cholewa. My roommate from last year is the soloist–very neat! Also very much a classical ballet piece–it shows the importance of corps work to great effect.

2. Church Song, choreographed by professor Susan McGuire. When I saw this the first few times, I did not know what it was about; having heard it was intended to be a tribute to the victims of the tsunami in Indonesia, I watched it again with a more focused eye. Tears, I tell you.

The soloists all offer something slightly different in this modern piece. Professor McGuire did a wonderful job displaying the dancers’ best qualities, and the whole piece reads–to me, at least–as being very sincere. Brilliant.

3. 1st of 3 in 17, choreographed by professor Cynthia Pratt and revived for this performance. Set to classical Mozart, the dancers in bare feet and quirky red costumes (see picture above) begin by shaking their hips. The piece is lighthearted, offering a great sense of humor without sacrificing any integrity.

4. Karelia Suite, choreographed by professor Stephan Laurent and revived. Originally choreographed about Finland’s gaining independence from Russia (I THINK. I’m not entirely certain on this one.), the dance has been newly dedicated to the protestors in Egypt, making this dance both traditional and timely.

5. Hong, or Swan Goose, choreographed by professor Tong Wang. This piece is about birds, so I am bound to love it. The narrative that runs through it is quite sad; the music, costumes, and choreography make the piece stunningly beautiful.

6. Walpurgisnacht, staged by Deborah Wingert, a former NYCB soloist. I’m rather partial to Balanchine, and I am dancing in the piece, so my perception will naturally be skewed… but I very much enjoy it. Like I said, you should come.

Clowes. Feb 25 and 26. 8 pm. Be there.

All the small things

Loads of little things have been happening. And I promise there will be neither weather nor cooking/baking represented in this post.

1. I was in an advertisement in Dance Magazine with some other students from the Dance Department. (Come to Midwinter!)

The piece depicted is Professor Cynthia Pratt’s work “1st of 3 in 17,” which is set to Mozart and very cool, in my opinion.

2. My Interlibrary loan books came. So much Welshness! Butler students have access to the extremely cool WorldCat Union database that lets you search for books worldwide. So many libraries! So many books! I get really excited!

3. Midwinter Studio Dress is this Saturday. I have no photos to show you… I suppose you will simply have to watch a performance February 25 or 26 at 8 pm in Clowes Memorial Hall.

4. In pas de deux class on Wednesday, my dance professor lifted me above his head. Never having done a Bluebird lift before, I listened to his explanation. Then, without completely understanding the process, I was balanced on his shoulder, suddenly much, much taller than normal. Just a day the life, etcetera etcetera.

It just surprised me, since I did not at the time realize quite how I had gotten there.

A break from February

Last Thursday, I wore three pairs of pants. Butler’s campus remained mostly covered in ice and snow, and the weather website listed the recorded low as negative 8 degrees. Fahrenheit.

One week later and students are walking around in shorts. I didn’t go quite that far–I still had a scarf and coat–but it was wonderful to ride my bike again. I don’t understand the Midwest. We were all:

And now it’s springtime!? What happens next week? (Besides the Dance Department’s Midwinter Dance Festival, of course.) Sometimes I miss the East Coast.

Right, I promise my next post will not be about the weather or food. I’m been quite busy lately and have loads to tell you.

A Midwinter plug, plus food pictures

What does one do after a long day of dancing? This week, our rehearsal schedule was relatively light, but last week was fairly typical. The dance department is in the thick of preparations for our Midwinter Dance Festival.

If you are in the area, please come and support us! Not only will you see a piece by one of the biggest names in American choreography (though Balanchine was Russian, true), but you will also find new works choreographed by Butler’s faculty. The Clowes box office is open from 10-5 on weekdays, 10-2 on Saturday, and 2 hours before ticketed events begin… hint hint.

Tickets you will buy aside, what does one do after a long day of dancing? One embarks on a spice adventure!

  • Gather most every spice in the apartment’s kitchen.
  • Add lemongrass, olive oil, and onion to fish.
  • Add spices at will. Mix and match
  • Bake in a foil packet for 20 minutes.
  • Eat.
  • Consider the spice adventure a success, but wish you had not added quite so much paprika.

Afterwards, I fried a banana in cinnamon sugar. My friend kindly arranged it for me to optimize the photo shoot.

Come to Midwinter!

Valentine’s mail

The front desks of all the residence halls (be it Schwitzer, Ross, ResCo, University Terrace, or the Apartment Village) have rows of mailboxes. In Schwitzer, I memorized a combination and turned a little dial to open my mailbox, which I shared with another random person. In ResCo, I had a special mailbox key. This year in the Apartment Village, my door key serves as my mailbox key as well. Because every person in an apartment has a key that will open the front door (obviously) (though the bedroom doors are only opened with one’s own key), the mailboxes are shared among an apartment.

This is the reason my roommate knew to tell me I had a package slip waiting in our mailbox. “Thank you!” I told her and went to pick up my package.

It was a Valentine’s Day package from my family, filled with wondrous things inside. (I actually opened it straightaway, instead of waiting like I usually do for the actual day to arrive. What has gotten into me?) (Thank you so much; I love the cupcake mix idea!) I quickly finished addressing my pile of Valentines and mailed them.

Valentine’s mail. Gotta love it.

Thawing out?

Ever since the ice storm:

Butler’s campus has been exceptionally slippery. A few days ago, it was 1 degree as I walked to class in the morning. Today, however, is warm: It’s almost 40 right now. Do you know the difference between 0 and 40? It’s like the difference between 40 and 80.

Walking to rehearsal in Lilly Hall this morning, the birds chirping, my toes not freezing, I could feel spring on its way! Then I dropped my apple in the snow. Seasonal changes are a process.

My friends are all turning 21–yikes! It’s so odd to think we can finally drink, vote, and be drafted. The next step is getting off our parents’ health care plans, I suppose. We went out to eat at Patachou, a restaurant close enough to campus to bike. There’s still enough ice on the ground that I don’t like to ride my bike though, but if the big thaw continues, my wheels might be functional once again.

Now, every time I’ve been to Patachou, I have been disappointed. The food just does not seem good enough to merit the price. But. Last semester I had lunch with the on-campus priest there and the chili was excellent; this visit was also a success. My roommate and I split our orders, so we each got half of a turkey/bacon/avocado club and half a waffle. Delicious.

I suppose I should continue with my homework. And when I say homework, I really mean finishing all my Valentine’s Day cards and gifts.

Butler Summer Institute

Quite a while back, at the beginning of fall semester, I met with my Irish Lit professor to discuss topics for the long paper I was going to write. I initially suggested a comparison of Dylan Thomas’ Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog and James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Both works are written in English by authors who have strong ties to particular nations that have their own languages: Thomas is Welsh and Joyce is Irish.

Here are the two texts I want to compare. Both narrators also write in English, since the works are semi-autobiographical. I want to examine the presentation of the Welsh and Irish languages in the two works and connect this presentation to the authors’ English-language writing. I hope to argue that Thomas and Joyce continue to participate in the Celtic literary heritage–especially as modern bards–though they write in English.

The class for which I first proposed this project was Contemporary Irish Literature, but I really am interested in Ireland’s neighbor across the Irish Sea–Wales. I’ve been learning Welsh on my own since I was a senior in high school. Dw i ddim yn gallu saraid Cymraeg, ond dw i’n mynd trio wneud e!

My professor liked my idea, but neither Young Dog nor Young Man was on the reading list for the class. She suggested that I apply to Butler Summer Institute. I then wrote my long essay on the subjectivity of national identity and the conflicting sources of such that lead to nationalist-inspired violence in Brian Friel’s play Translations. Now it’s February, and I’m ready to turn in my proposal for the Young Dog/Young Man project.

Butler Summer Institute is a nine-week session during the summer that allows students to pursue independent research projects with a faculty mentor. I think two-thirds of the projects are from the sciences–something about the way the program is funded–but scholars from all disciplines are welcome. This type of project is extremely attractive for several reasons:

  • I can research whatever truly interests me without worrying about fitting it into a class syllabus. Comparative literary studies!! WALES!! WELSH!!
  • I can work closely with my Irish Lit professor. She’s the perfect mentor for a project like this: Her specialties include transnational literature and multilingual texts, postcolonial studies, and comparative literature.
  • I’ll produce a longer writing sample–something I’ll need should I apply to graduate school after what I hope is a career in a dance company.
  • On that note, I’ll practice writing a literary analysis longer than twenty-four pages.
  • I get to do the comparative literature thing.
  • I can surrender to my total love of all things Welsh. During the research for the partial bibliography I’m including in my application, I kept getting distracted: I just had to read part of “The Social Identity of Welsh Learners,” even though it will not be included in my final project. Oooo, the other one I had tremendous difficulty putting down was “Near-Sameness in Early Insular Metrics: Oral Ancestry and Aesthetic Potential.” This article WILL figure into my final project. So excited. (Early Insular Metrics = early poetry of the Insular Celtic languages, which include Welsh and Irish Gaelic).
  • I’ll receive free housing for the duration of the session, plus a stipend. This will definitely help defray the cost of summer school–and the cost of not being able to hold a job during the summer.

I’m nervous about this mainly because I do not know whether my application will be rejected because I have to take a course during the last three weeks of the BSI session if I am to get my secondary English major. Well, we shall see. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Cooking Adventures III

Well, classes resumed on Thursday. I had my Intro to the Discipline of English class, Romanticism, ballet, pointe, and rehearsal. Then I waited around on the main campus to met my Irish Lit professor: She is serving as my mentor for my BSI proposal, which I finally finished writing. Snow days are for Welsh/Irish literature comparisons, apparently.

BSI is the acronym for Butler Summer Institute. Look for a post detailing my experiences thus far with the BSI application process. Research, however, builds a healthy appetite, right? On to the food!

Dessert.

1. This was another recipe from my Moosewood birthday cookbook: Six minute chocolate cake. (Thank you, Mom and Dad! It was the perfect gift.) Supposedly, it take six minutes to mix all the ingredients together in the baking pan; then one sticks the pan in the oven to bake for twenty minutes.

I think it took my friend and me twenty minutes to put the ingredients in the pan and twenty minutes for it to bake. The photography might have slowed us down somewhat.

We chose this recipe because:

  • it was for chocolate cake. You can’t go wrong with chocolate cake.
  • the mixing and such all happens in the baking pan, so there is little to clean.
  • I actually had all the ingredients in my apartment. (Ingredient substitutions are usually my downfall.)
  • Did I mention? It’s chocolate cake.

Aesop would be proud: slow and steady won the race. Though it took us a while to get everything happily nesting on the center oven rack, the cake was delicious.

Oddly enough, it was delicious after it had been sitting on the counter (covered, obviously) for a day or two. The initial dessert was rather cakey. I prefer the moister consistency, and this cake rose beautifully to the challenge after we had given it a day or so to adjust to life after the heat of the oven.

2. Filipino hot chocolate. My friend’s father brought some chocolate tablets back from his trip to the Philippines. Boil water, drop in a little chocolate cylinder or three, add butter, and simmer. We clink our mugs together like they do in Despicable Me. What a tasty treat.

Thus ends my Cooking Adventures series. I am rather proud of my accomplishments. Living in my own apartment with my very own kitchen has been fun, and my cooking skills are vastly improved. Having friends over to assist and using my roommates’ cooking/baking knowledge to full advantage helps the process.

Successes are getting more common: Last night I cooked fish in a foil package with a random assortment of spices, green beans, and stuffing. Though I might have gone a bit easier on the paprika, it was still more than edible, which would not have happened at the beginning of the year!