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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: April 2011

Easter at Butler

When I was a freshman, I was sorely disappointed at being unable to go home for Easter. Some kind relatives (well, my godmother’s parents) took me and a friend in that Sunday. My friend formed a special connection with the cat.

Both last Easter and this Easter I stayed on campus and attended the Butler Catholic Community Mass. Over the years, I don’t miss my family any less, but I feel a little better spending Easter on campus. My friends here seem more like family each day.

Last Easter, I went with two dancers to the post-Mass lunch on the patio and passed a peaceful afternoon in the same vein. This Easter, I went to the lunch again. Afterwards, I shared Flying Cupcake cupcakes with my boyfriend, who had never tried them before. We have Red Velvet Elvis and Salted Chocolate Carmel. Delicious.

Holidays away from home are strange still, but finding your family at college makes Butler more like a second home.

Tips for College Living, #3

It has rained pretty much every day this April. Okay, maybe not every day. But if you look at the month calendar, you might notice that the longest stretch without any measure of precipitation is three days. That’s pretty rainy.

Steph wrote a great post last week about the six necessities of a college student. I would like to add one more item to the list. When it rains, I like to wear my rain jacket because I don’t have to juggle an umbrella. (And we all know how good my juggling skills are.) But umbrella, rain jacket… all good items, all items you know you’ll need.

This is common-sense stuff. What you, prospective student, might not know is that Butler’s sidewalks frequently morph into small creeks when it rains. You also might underestimate the increase in walking from place to place outside each day. Even in tennis shoes, my feet tend to get wet. Call this another episode of Tips for College Living: Own rain boots.

Sometimes it pours while I move all my stuff from my freshman dorm room to the ResCo basement, where I stored some items over the summer break. Then it clears up for the long drive home. Sometimes the weather is nice and holds off while I pack up everything to leave. Then, as we drive back to Virginia, enter the deluge.

Which situation is better? And should I really try to ride my bike in the rain if my brakes get slippery when wet? Will you remember to bring rain boots to college? Most importantly, should I take up juggling practice again?

Madness

“Madness. Sheer and utter madness,” she wrote. This week we have our dance finals, and next week is production week for The Sleeping Beauty. (Which you must attend.)

I had a pointe final yesterday, and a modern final and a pas final the day before that, and another pointe final the day before that and a pas final the day before that (we’re on Monday by now). Today is ballet technique and variations, then Saturday is Studio Dress rehearsal.

Add a bunch of papers into the mix, and my brain is addled. Add the fact that I’m now understudying my friend who is performing Aurora and tried to learn the whole ballet in the space of about three days, and my brain has well neigh given up the ghost. This post is less informative in the expository sense and more information in the representative sense as I exhibit the symptoms of the madness that seizes dance majors–especially dance majors who are also double majors–before a performance.

Butler Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty

Madness.

URC continued

Things I liked about the Undergraduate Research Conference this year:

- I got yogurt and hot chocolate in the morning while listening to the Provost welcome everyone.

- As much of a pain as it was to shorten my twenty-four page paper to six pages/twelve minutes, I tightened my argument. When I revise the long version to turn in as my senior English essay for my secondary English major, I’ll keep some of the changes I made. The new key point? Martha C. Nussbaum’s version of Stoic cosmopolitanism uses hierarchy in include, not to exclude. Earlier, I implied all hierarchy produced negative results. Wrong!

- I got to hear an English major’s presentation on the gods of Paradise Lost and the Aeneid. When I wrote my BSI proposal, I worked heavily from the example on the website–which was the genesis of this very project. I was interested to see what a BSI project’s URC presentation looked like and what the student actually concluded after conducting his research. It was neat to see the very first and very last steps of a research project.

Hey there, Aeneas.

- I got a free boxed lunch. It was a Friday in Lent, so I opted for a grilled veggie sandwich… which was rather odd. The veggies, a very thin layer of lettuce and what might have been squash, were oddly saturated with oil from the bread or something else very strange that I cannot put into words. The orzo was pretty good though, as was the super-tart green apple.

- Whenever someone on our panel took a sip of water, we all smiled at each other. Our faculty sponsor had given us “water training” during our mock-conference at the end of the class. After we make important points or finish a particularly weighty paragraph, we are supposed to take a sip of water to allow the audience to process the information. Good advice, but I still felt a bit silly sipping my water when I wasn’t even thirsty.

- I got to hear the other panelists’ perspectives on Irish national identity, obviously. Our discussion at the end as a group, as we answered questions and referred to each other’s papers and texts for verification, was really neat. I felt like I was part of a scholarly community.

I normally associate scholarship with writing–natural enough, for one who likes literary research and analysis. Participating in an oral forum with an audience watching as we bounced ideas off one another was new and exciting. That’s what URC is all about, right?

My primary text

URC

Last year, this was opening night of Swan Lake. We had a fire alarm the previous night at 3 o’clock in the morning, so we were all happy morning classes were canceled. I sat outside and blogged and watched hordes of well-dressed people walk by with box lunches.

This year, Sleeping Beauty is in two weeks, classes weren’t canceled, there were no fire alarms last night, and I just returned from grocery shopping instead of dancing Four Swans. Also, I was one of those eating from a boxed lunch.

Today was the Undergraduate Research Conference, a forum for undergraduates (just over half from Butler) to present their research. I presented my long Irish lit paper from last semester. (Remember that?) I spent all last night practicing saying phrases like “nonhierarchal hybridity,” “absolute, oppositional,” and “quasi-national.”

My paper was twenty-four pages long. I shaved it down to six.

I was a bit nervous going into the presentation, though some of it had to do with the fact that I’d just come from Choreography II class (often stressful for me) and that the Sleeping Beauty rehearsal/understudy schedule is shifting since our lovely, lovely Aurora has a stress fracture and can’t perform. (So sad!) So going into my talk, I felt sort of scattered.

However, the whole thing wasn’t nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be. If you have a chance to present at a conference like this, I highly recommend it. So many of my peers were presenting! I wish I’d been able to see more than just my panel and one other presentation I managed to catch in the morning. (After I ate my free yogurt cup. Yay free food!)

There’s the other bonus to being a Butler student: Fees for the conference are waived, unless you want to shell out $10 for the t-shirt. I’ll be presenting again next spring after I finish my BSI project this summer!

Ah, research projects. You can see the abstracts from this year’s URC gathering here.

Be kind to your web-footed friends

The Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, known around campus as “Ducky,” hosts smaller-setting lectures and music performances. It’s part of Robertson Hall, but it has a separate entrance. The acoustics are awesome, though the stage is a bit small. While you won’t find any dance performances in here, last year I went to Joe Goode‘s lecture and video presentation.

Inside the recital hall

Recent events I’ve attended in Ducky:

1. Jordan Jazz. A presentation of vocal jazz pieces by the student group Jordan Jazz. It’s so, so hard to pick, but this might have been my favorite of all of them, just because I love to watch one girl, whom I know is in the ballroom club, dance on the side as she sings.

2. Abbey and Eli’s junior recital. I know Abbey through the Butler Catholic Community, and Eli is a friend of hers. I’ve heard both play in the jazz combos at Starbucks, so it was nice to hear them play some different, more classical pieces. Abbey plays the horn, and Eli the bass. Both were excellent! I liked Abbey’s first two movements of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3 in particular.

3. The Jamey Aebersold Quartet. As the jazzers say, “These cats can jam!” Well, maybe they don’t say that. Regardless, I very much enjoyed the Jamey Aebersold Quartet. The men were all great performers, with the exchanged looks on stage as amusing as the musical jokes they played. (Most of these went over my head, although I did catch a phrase of “Joy to the World.”) They offered a master class before the concert, too.

And those were the recent Ducky adventures I’ve had.

The Joffrey in Indy

Joffrey Ballet Chicago performed to a refreshingly full house at Clowes Memorial Hall this past Saturday night. The review here does not quite do the show justice. Dance majors taking Dance History II had to write a review of the performance, and I feel like the conversations we had about the pieces on the program more closely examined the program than the review I found online.

Ashley Wheater

Before the performance, however, the artistic director gave a master class on Friday afternoon. Since I am in the Level 4 ballet class this semester, I was lucky enough to take class from Mr. Ashley Wheater. His class was challenging but fun. I was particularly taken with his porte de bras–all very logical, without requiring a conscious effort to remember odd pathways.

He stressed stability stemming from the supporting leg’s rotation. We believed him: His turnout and technique showed though he demonstrated in street clothes and tennis shoes. Graceful, articulate, and clever, Mr. Wheater left a good impression.

The company presented the romantic Jerome Robbins ballet In the Night, Balanchine’s Tarentella, Gerald Arpino’s Round of Angels, and Edwaard Liang’s Age of Innocence. We dancers disagreed (some of us bitterly) over several aspects of the last piece. Art wars. As long as people still get upset over differing viewpoints of choreography, I feel like the arts are in good shape. You can see an exceprt from Liang’s piece below:

YouTube Preview Image

Did you see the show? Did you like the last piece? Maybe if I talk to some of my friends, they would allow me to quote part of their reviews. I’d like to lay out the different viewpoints side by side.

Technology fast: the aftermath

I participated in the Butler Catholic Community‘s technology fast last Thursday-Friday. (Catch up on the details here.) Now, three days afterward on Monday, I’m still more conscious of my tech use.

The main difference between a world with computer/cell phone/iPod and a world without was planning. I rarely watch TV, and I don’t automatically put on music. I also have dance academic or dance movement classes from 10 am to 4:50 pm on Friday, so I don’t have a lot of down time to fritter away online.

I let my family know I would be unreachable. I made plans to meet friends instead of using text devices to do it on the spot. I didn’t worry about getting just a little more work done on my English papers before I went to bed on Thursday. I didn’t worry about checking my email on my iPod during my lunch break on Friday. I received a letter and slipped an answer into my boyfriend’s bass locker. After the fast was officially over Friday evening, I went to watch the JCFA showcase with just my key and ID to get back into my apartment, since my phone had no charge. I didn’t have to carry a purse, and it was wonderful. The birds were singing in the suddenly green trees.

I’m back online, obviously. Papers won’t wait forever, and professors often communicate through email. Still, the fast was not as difficult as I thought it would be, once I had curbed the initial impulse to check my email every few hours. Really, I just had to make sure to plan ahead to meet up with friends for rehearsals and dates and so on. As a Lenten practice, it worked wonderfully. As a general practice, wonderful again.

What do you think? Have you ever done a technology fast?

Technology Fast

If you are reading this, I am away from my computer right now. And my cell phone. And my iPod.

I’m writing this Thursday morning, but it will be published at the start of our Lenten Technology Fast. The Butler Catholic Community is hosting a fast from communication and entertainment technology from Thursday evening to Friday evening, followed by a Peace Walk and a dinner at the Center for Faith and Vocation (aka, the Blue House). The event is open to the entire campus.

Random photo of the BCC Mardi Gras dinner inside the Blue House

As the Catholic priest on campus, Fr. Jeff, says, the purpose of the fast is not to “diss” or dismiss technology. It is to stop using it long enough for us to realize how much we rely on it, how much time goes into it. It should be interesting.

Technology use for schoolwork is exempt from the fast, but I think I’ll be able to put off any tech-related work for the weekend. I’m unplugging. Are you?

Ironically, we have a Facebook event page.

Blue II, awesome mascot

One of the other advantages of the Butler basketball media machine? Billions of stories about Blue II, Butler’s English bulldog mascot!

Everyone loves Blue.

Since the Final Four and Championship games were in Indianapolis last year (and here I would link to my old blog posts about last year’s championship festivities if the new technology hadn’t eaten my archives…. grrrr…), I saw Blue much more often. Since Blue was in Houston this year, and I was not? No Blue sightings. Well, unless you count the photos someone stuck in the skywalk between Jordan and Gallahue hall:

Houston, we don't have a problem.

Still, I like the real Blue better.

Blue is quite the popular bulldog. If you don’t follow his Twitter, you are missing out on some cute pictures. For a while, my mother changed the desktop picture on the family computer whenever Blue’s owners posted a new picture. The desktop background changed at least once a day.

Blue’s travels to Houston created a whole new host of photo ops. I particularly enjoyed the airport sequence:

(These are not my photos, obviously. Blue has his own Flickr photostream.)

Seriously, though. Talk about celebrity. This dog also has a Facebook page, blog, Youtube channel, and even a live webcam! And more fans than Justin Bieber. [I originally misspelled that as "Beiber" and had to check to see which was correct. Don't worry. I'm still sane.]