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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: September 2011

Applying to the Department of Dance

If you want to apply to Butler’s Department of Dance, you must attend one of the dance auditions unless you live outside the 48 contiguous states. Sign up for auditions earlier rather than later! Butler has two admissions deadlines, Early Action and Regular Decision. Both are NON-BINDING, so if you apply by Nov 1 (early action), your acceptance will be mailed on Dec 15. Regular Decision dates are Feb 1 for the application and Feb 15 for the decision. I would highly encourage you to get your application together in time for the early action dates.

Advantages to applying/auditioning for colleges at the beginning of your senior year:

  • You have the best chance for receiving academic scholarship awards if you apply by Nov 1, (according to here).
  • You have a better chance at JCFA talent scholarships (according to here). The earlier you audition, the more money the college will have to give away.
  • I received my Butler acceptance some time in December, I believe. This meant my entire second semester was free, if not from stress, then at least from the stress of college decisions. It’s really nice knowing early in your senior year where you will be come fall.

What you need to apply to the Department of Dance (I’m getting my info from this webpage):

  • Butler academic application
  • JCFA departmental application (I can’t find this, and I think it might be part of the Butler University general application I linked in the first bullet point…)
  • 5″x7″ full-length photo: Women en pointe in first arabesque or attitude, Men in relevé attitude derrière (wear dress code leotard and tights)

    The JCFA is comprised of the School of Music, the Department of Dance, the Art Program, the Arts Administration Program, and the Department of Theatre. For more information on these other fine arts majors, check out the JCFA webpage.

    Other important tips:

    • While you do not have to be admitted academically to Butler before auditioning for the dance program (or music, theater, or arts administration — auditions and interviews also required), you DO have to have submitted your academic application.
    • Follow the dress code. The website says black leo, pink tights for women/solid color shirt, black tights for men. Ladies, don’t wear tights on the outside of your leotards. You want to look as professional and tidy as possible. The auditions are not en pointe.
    • Dance as cleanly as you can. Musicality and artistry, tidiness of technique and attitude toward class are much more important than pulling out tricks.

    Good luck!

      Tips for Looking for Dance Colleges

      High school seniors looking for colleges left me comments recently with some truly awesome questions. Among them was “What universities would you recommend for a dancer aspiring to dance with AAADT or Complexions Contemporary Ballet Company [or pick-your-company]?”

      First of all, I must say I think classical ballet training is essential for any dancer aspiring to join a professional company. The strength and articulation developed, the attention to detail, the conditioning the body receives… I’m biased, of course, my first love being classical ballet, but this is by no means an uncommon opinion.

      Butler Ballet's Nutcracker at CMH.

      However, if you know a certain company holds a dear place in your heart, the best thing to do is to get on the company’s website and look through the dancers/artistic director/staff bios. My answer to the senior who posed the question above was: “If you want to look at what sort of dancers the company directors have been hiring, you should look at the company bios for both Alvin Ailey and Complexions. For instance, a quick glance through the biographies of the Alvin Ailey dancers revealed that many had graduated from the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. program in dance. You can then look at the schools that appear — or at the curriculum of the schools as compared to Butler’s degree plan or to other schools’ courses.

      Obviously, going to a a certain school provides no guarantee of a job offer, but by looking at the dancers in the company you can get a sense of what sort of person the artist director likes to hire. I firmly believe jobs come in the largest part based on your actual dancing, on your performance during an audition. However, these are some questions I’ve been considering as I look at companies for which I plan on auditioning this spring. They would apply equally well, I think, to the college search.

      • What sort of training do the dancers have? Are they all Balanchine? ABT? Taylor?
      • What diversity of technique do the dancers have? Do their bios stress only ballet training, or do they list techniques as varied as tap, African dance, and flamenco?
      • How much experience did the dancers have before they were hired? Does the director hire them straight out of high school? College? Do they feed in their dancers from an affiliated school? Do all their dancers have performing experience with other companies prior to being hired?
      • Are any of the dancers college graduates? Though I think the practice of hiring only super young dancers (so they can mold them or whatever) is a bit antiquated, some companies still think twenty is too old. The good news is that hiring college graduates has been more of a trend.

      I hope these questions help both dancers looking into professional companies and dancers looking for college programs that will help them prepare for their ideal companies. You can also look at a list of the companies Butler alumni have joined. (And there’s another one here for some reason.)

      Q&A: Dance Department

      Last week I got a series of great questions from a high school senior looking into Butler’s dance major. I thought I would answer them here on the blog so other prospective students can see and comment!

      Q: Is Butler’s dance program based in classical ballet? Most programs seem to be modern emphasis.

      A: Yes, the dance department is grounded in classical ballet. I was struck by the scarcity of options for a serious classical ballet, liberal arts program when I was looking for schools four years ago. I take a ballet technique class five days a week, plus pointe, classical variations, and classical partnering.

      Snow Corps, The Nutcracker, 2010, choreography by Cynthia Pratt

      Q: What other techniques are you learning at Butler?

      A: The semester counts here are out of seven, since I am taking my seventh of eight semesters. I have studied jazz (4 semesters), modern (7), contemporary partnering (1), Slavic character (1), Spanish character (1), and improvisation (1).

      In less technical-movement-based classes, I’ve studied: Laban Movement Analysis, Teaching Analysis of Classical Ballet (of Jazz and of Modern are also offered), Body Placement (a sort of Pilates-nutrition-anatomy mishmash), and Choreography.

      On the purely academic front, the Dance Department offers/requires: Masterworks of Dance, a history of music class, Music Theory for Dance, Design and Construction of Dance Costumes, Dance History, and Theory and Philosophy of Dance. Other related requirements include an acting class, piano, and voice.

      Midwinter Dance Festival 2010, 1st of 3 in 17, choreography by Cynthia Pratt

      Q: Anything you think would be helpful…

      A: This senior mentioned double majoring, which I am doing with great difficulty. If you want to double major, my advice is to be realistic and to become intimate with the requirements of both departments and with the colleges of each department. The trouble I’ve run into personally is the language requirement demanded by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (for my English Literature major) — though it’s not required by the Jordan College of Fine Arts (the college of my primary major in Dance Performance). Look carefully at all your requirements and do the credit-hour math beforehand. You might, as this senior wisely mentioned, have to stay an extra summer or semester to finish.

      Q: I live in Georgia, so scheduling a visit is tough. Can you give me some pointers?

      A: Here are some questions you might want to consider before flying/driving to Indianapolis if you are from out of state or looking at the dance major:

      – Do you want a liberal arts environment (versus a conservatory)?
      – Do you want a program based in classical ballet?
      – Are you open to learning all sorts of other techniques?
      – Does Butler offer the classes you want, both in and outside the dance major? (Which you can check here…)
      – Could you live in Indianapolis? Could you fly/drive a substantial distance for the holidays?

      As I told this senior, if you have any other questions you want answered about Butler University, don’t hesitate to ask! If I don’t know the answer, I can find someone who does and get that information to you as you begin your college decision process. You might also like to peruse the departmental requirements or the Jordan College of Fine Arts Facebook page.

      Faculty Artist Series — The School of Music

      As a student in the JCFA, I encounter my fellow fine-arts aficionados quite frequently in the halls of Lilly. We recently received a new Dean, Ronald Caltabiano, who wants to emphasize inter-disciplinary learning. I think this is a great idea, and I also think more students in the JCFA from outside the School of Music should look into attending the Faculty Artist Series.

      The Faculty Artist Series runs concerts by the music faculty on Tuesday nights at 7:30 pm in the Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall on campus. If you are visiting campus and interested in joining the School of Music, I’d recommend trying to see one of the concerts. Not only will you hear what the faculty have to offer, but you are also bound to meet a bunch of the students currently in the School of Music. I went last Tuesday night with a jazz minor to see the Faculty Jazz Combo, led by the director of jazz studies at Butler, Dr. Matthew Pivec. The combo performed jazz renditions of pop tunes by Stevie Wonder, Sara Bareilles, No Doubt, and Sting — as well as Charlie Chaplin! Clearly, the music program has its fair share of diversity.

      Dr. Pivec

      Having attached myself to the the periphery of the cluster of students following jazz music at Butler, I’ve become marginally more familiar with Dr. Pivec by hearsay and meeting. I must report a double thumbs up — if you want to join the jazz studies program at Butler, you are in for a treat. Dr. Pivec is one of the nicest professors I’ve met, and he has even begun to recognize me, a random dance major!

      For more info about Butler’s Jazz Studies program, go here.

      To see the course of study for other degrees and concentrations offered by Butler’s School of Music, go here.

      For a schedule of concerts from the School of Music, go here.

      The Nutcracker awakens from its dormant state

      We left The Nutcracker safely laired last winter, curled up to dream of sugarplums dancing and mice gnawing for the long spring and summer. Unlike most hibernating creatures, The Nutcracker drowses through the warm weather and awakens for the cold. Being September, the Department of Dance at Butler has begun preparations for The Nutcracker.

      The Butler Ballet in The Nutcracker, 2010

      Each year, the Department of Dance mounts two full-length classical ballets as well as a full evening of short pieces (Midwinter Dance Festival). Past years have included, in reverse chronological order, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Cinderella, and Giselle. And The Nutcracker, always The Nutcracker. Like most ballet companies, the Butler Ballet relies on the traditional Nutcracker productions to keep afloat. This means most dancers have performed the ballet approximately way too many times.

      No, I actually like The Nutcracker, though I also like to complain about The Nutcracker. It’s nostalgic, for sure, extremely familiar, a sign of the winter holidays and family and many years spent with ballet friends and colleagues. As much as I’m nervous for this year’s performance — I am one of the two Sugar Plum Fairies — I am excited to get into the full swing of rehearsals.

      Will I see you at Clowes Hall this year on December 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th?

      Freshman Retreat 2011

      Last Saturday evening, from 6 to midnight, the Butler Catholic Community held its annual freshmen retreat. I went to my freshmen retreat and loved it… and have attended every year since to help out! I want to say this was one of the best years yet.

      First, we went to the Immaculate Heart of Mary near campus and made dinner together. We always split into groups and do salad, main dish (sloppy joes and macaroni are standard fare), and dessert. We pray, eat, introduce ourselves, talk about the transition to college, and play with playdough.

      Halfway through the serving of dinner…

      The fire alarm went off. Could it have been the slightly burnt mac and cheese?

      So most students finished dinner outside, which was actually a nice change of pace since it was beautiful weather. Thank you, firemen of Marian County!

      After dinner, we headed upstairs for conversation about the surprises and challenges of college. This year, I was not with a group of freshmen, but with the left-over leadership team members who didn’t have a freshmen group. I got to talk with the BCC’s new ECHO apprentice from Notre Dame, a graduate student working on her master’s in theology and working with the BCC for the next two years.

      Bible charades followed. Here you see us feeding the fattened calf in the Prodigal Son. The best was probably the Feeding of the Multitude — two goldfish turned into a whole carton of goldfish! After the silliness of charades, we had a panel discussion with seniors about the faith journey through college. I got to participate this year, and I really enjoyed the experience.

      After that, the ECHO apprentice Kaitlyn talked about “Why are you here?” and everyone wrote letters to God. Quiet prayer and meditation followed, then pizza and some final conversation before everyone headed back to campus. If they were like me, they were sleepy and peaceful. The fifteen or so minutes of silence at the end remains a popular part of the retreat, and it offers the perfect way to transition back into a more thoughtful college life.

      All in all, I would say this freshmen retreat was a great success, and I hope entering freshmen who are part of the BCC would consider attending!

      Looking Back

      Exactly one year ago, I wrote my introductory post for this new blog. I’ve been a blogger since the beginning of my sophomore year, but last year we switched to this new Office of Admission webpage. Truth be told, I think the new version is far superior to the old.

      I had to navigate the old go.butler.edu site when I was deciding on colleges as a high school senior, and I remember having a lot of trouble. College websites are the worst. Honestly, you need a PhD to figure out where everything is. But the new admissions site marks a huge improvement, and if you haven’t done so, you should definitely explore the other areas of the www.butler.edu/admission hub! I think the section on residence halls are particularly useful — everything is nice, concise, and in one place.

      But back to the past. One year ago, I wrote my new introduction for the new webpage. Today, I again have exciting blog-related news… While searching for the composer of music used in a Midwinter Dance Festival piece I was in as a sophomore, I found my long-lost blog posts!

      They are somehow archived as notes in the Butler Class of 2014 Facebook page. How did they get there? Why did half the pictures import and the rest vanish? Why couldn’t I find these before? I don’t know and I don’t care! I’m just happy I found them. I don’t think it’s necessary to repost ALL the old blogs. (This means, “I didn’t realize exactly how many book reviews I posted last summer.”) However, I explain some dance major classes and so on in much more detail, and I hope to get these back to you sometime soon.

      In the meantime, I’m going to dance around because it’s my birthday and my roommate gave me a robin’s egg blue tea kettle, and I have pretzels, and my boyfriend baked the most delicious cake.

      A different day, a different dessert. Grandma, it was delicious!

      Core Requirements: Physical Education

      Even though I’m a dance major, somehow I still have to take a gym class. Since I enjoy being active, this is not too painful of a requirement, though I still have to giggle to myself when the class learns how to stretch one’s gastrocnemius. It took me a while to fit the one credit hour class into my schedule (in terms of credit limits and then in terms of class times). This semester, I found a strength and conditioning class Monday and Wednesday mornings!

      I actually like my class a lot. Because we are working with weights and cardio machines in the HRC (Health and Recreation Complex, Butler’s beautiful gym/health facilities), we can personalize much of the class (a blessing when a bunch of ballet classes follow). My biggest goal for the semester is to improve my upper body strength, and I’ve already noticed a difference! Whether you are taking a physical ed class or not, as a Butler student you have access to the HRC, since tuition includes HRC membership.

      Take advantage of this. The HRC is beautiful, reasonably clean, and has a wide variety of programs including intramural sports, fitness classes like cycling or yoga, and personal trainers. There are massages available (for a fee), a pool with lazy river, hot tub, sauna, indoor track, free weights, student employment as a lifeguard etc… Best of all, it’s extremely close to the Apartment Village, where I’m living.

      Also, I saw Blue II with his Bluemobile outside the HRC last week! He kindly posed for a photo.

      Juicers and Jackfruit

      To the Asia Mart! This weekend, besides attending many ballet performances/dress rehearsals/tech rehearsals, I found an Asian food store with my boyfriend. We were headed to a Target to stock up on tissues and such, but Asia Mart beckoned instead…

      I found the rice! (This is only a small cross-section of the rice available, as you know if you have ever entered an Asian grocery.) While we elected not to buy any rice, we did purchase tea, gummy lychee and kiwi candy, pork buns, and red bean buns. What an excellent, unexpected find! Boyfriend has slowly but surely been shifting my taste palate to the East. Take this summer. We played chess (amidst a backdrop of heartfelt karaoke) and had halo-halo.

      That’s milk, shaved ice, ube ice cream, coconut jellies, jackfruit, and various beans. At least as far as I understood it. I still can’t down the iced jelly drinks or the taro-tapioca smoothies, but I will help the process!

      Butler has been great about widening my palate: I’ve had various Filipino foods, Latvian foods, beets, etc… Just the other night, my roommate received her long-awaited juicer. Do you know how many things you can juice? We all had an invigorating drink of cucumber-grape-kale-ginger-apple juice.

      Living in the on-campus Apartment Village housing had led to loads of cooking adventures.

      Juice?

      Gala Weekend

      This weekend marked the Indianapolis City Ballet’s Gala performances. The Young Stars of Ballet was Friday night; Evening with the Stars, Saturday.

      I saw the Evening With the Stars program with a large portion of Butler’s dance department. The dance service fraternity, Sigma Rho Delta, purchased a bunch of tickets, so I got mine at a slightly discounted price and got to discuss the show with my friends. The artsy photo above (as well as most of the other photos in this post) happened when I gave my camera to photographer friend, whose camera was out of battery. Thank you!

      So we went to the Gala. The performers were all beautiful. I was not quite as blown away as I had been in years past — some of the newly commissioned pieces and some performances of old pieces did not quite do it for me — but all the stars still made for a great show.

      I saw famous people! This was Friday night, when I participated in the Young Stars of Ballet. I made eye contact with Daniil Simkin — weird. For the only picture of the stars that night, see the bus above in front of the theater. The Murat Theatre is beautiful, more so when it’s actually visible in the daylight.

      I’m not sure about the Coors sign on the marquee, though… Classy? Anyway, there were some great performances, odd choreography and opinions concerning style notwithstanding. I especially appreciated the representative from the Trockadero Ballet, the ballerino Paul Ghiselin/Ida Nevasayneva, performing a touching rendition of the Dying Swan.

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