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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: October 2011

Halloween: How to make a bird costume

I was a bird for my Halloween potluck, and the costume was surprisingly easy and inexpensive. You need:

  • a bag of feathers
  • some fabric
  • hair pins
  • sewing materials
  • duct tape
  • tulle
  • ribbon/belt
  • brown leggings
  • brightly-colored shirt, long sleeves
  • brightly-colored skirt

I made a feather fascinator for my hair by sewing feathers onto a piece of plain white fabric. Then I pinned it into my hair. I’m most proud of this aspect of my costume, since an Etsy search for “feather fascinator” revealed some beautiful but scarily intricate creations. (See a crazy one here, also one here.)

Feather fascinator

Fascinator, front view, rotated oddly and the photo software not cooperating

Fascinator back view

I made the tail with some tulle which I bunched together, the longer pieces on the bottom. After sewing it fast at the top, I sewed the entire tail to a fabric belt I have and used that to tie it around my waist over brown-legging-bird-legs and skirt.

Tail attached to belt

Tail/belt close-up

The wings began as two strips of fabric sewn into rectangles. I duct taped feathers all along the length of the fabric, then sewed the wings duct-tape-side-down along the sleeves of the shirt.

A wing, flipped up

Duct tape/wing underside close-up

Wing sewed onto shirt sleeve and flipped down

For make-up I used:

  • False eyelashes, with two small feathers from my feather bag glued on the outsides of the lashes
  • colorful shadow and a precise make-up brush

You can sort of see the bird make-up in this picture...


And voila! You are a bird!

Halloween Costumes

Every year, I try to think of a clever Halloween costume. For some reason, this is usually extremely difficult. I cobble something together at the last minute. (see last year). When I see what my friends have invented, I’m always impressed.

Though Oct 31 is this Monday, I went to a Halloween potluck last night. Some of the awesome costumes I saw:

  • Two crayons — complete with conical party hats for the tips
  • The Incredibles
  • Juno
  • Rosie the Riveter
  • A steampunk villain — which I completely called as I tried to explain how a top hat and spray-painted Nerf gun comprised a steampunk aesthetic
  • Lady Godiva and a chocolate box
  • The girl with a dragon tattoo
  • Where is Waldo?
  • two Cat in the Hats

This year, I had no ideas. When my boyfriend found a pirate hat and decided pirate it was, I decided to go as a parrot. I bought a huge bag of feathers, waited until the last minute to construct my costume… then sewed feathers for two hours before the potluck. It worked better than I thought it would.

The difference between high school and college? I usually didn’t do too much to mark the occasion in high school, so dressing up wasn’t that big a deal. Now I still don’t like to go overboard, but I love events like this costume potluck since college students tend to go all out with Halloween costumes. I felt like I had to put a little effort into my costume to hold my own.

What are some other creative Halloween costumes you’ve seen?

Student Choreography 2012

This is the first year I have not been part of the Student Choreography Showcase. Since I’ve been dealing with a foot injury, this was probably the right choice. Still, the show last night was great — once we got in.

When we arrived, they had just closed the doors because the Studio Theater in Lilly Hall was packed to the gills. I saw the stage manager leave and asked if we could enter if two people left the show early. Sure enough, after the second piece two audience members trickled out, and we got a seat at the very side of the theater.

I’m going back tonight to see the beginning of the show, obviously.

I thought the program this year was very strong. There were no pieces I disliked (and in years past there have always been one or two) and many that I loved. The music was overall predictable, but that uniformity did help to make a cohesive program. There were a bunch of good moments, and this year I saw more choreographic technique than ever before, if that makes sense.

Anyway, the JCFA is on Facebook, and you should follow them for updates — like this advisory about the Showcase seating:

Also, the Butler Ballet on Facebook, and Butler University and the Office of Admission.

Lost Objects, Rain, Nothing Particular

Lately, I’ve been losing things right and left. Like:

  • My camera charger (this is why I haven’t had so many pictures/posts)
  • a pink sock, so sad!
  • other articles of clothing — two of which I found under my bed on two separate occasions after the articles had been missing over a week
  • a check
  • dance warmups
  • my tennis shoes
  • my mind

Most of these I’ve recovered, some I have not. I blame the increasingly chilly weather for my brain melting, if that makes any sense. I’m half-transitioned through from summer to winter clothes, but it will just take so long to drag my chest of sweaters from under my bed that I’ve been putting it off. Also, I don’t want to admit the time for shorts is past.

A picture from the vaults... a Butler squirrel getting ready for winter.

The last two days were beautiful, and I broke out the dress/shorts/t-shirt combinations faster than you can say “Indianapolis.” Today, alas, is rainy and cold, and I have two shirts layered on top of one another.

Don’t forget to bring rainboots to college — you have to walk everywhere to and from class, and at Butler, the sidewalks morph into rivers. Also, an umbrella. Also, a camera charger.

Sorry this is such a lame post. I promise I’ll be more articulate next time!

Homecoming 2011: Independents and Greeks

Today is the Homecoming game! Everyone on campus seems to be bustling around, and I see a bunch of alumni walking dogs around the bell tower pond. The schedule today is packed — mostly with tailgating. I saw people with grills aflame when I walked to rehearsal at 8:15 this morning.

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I will admit to the truth: I’m struck with Homecoming apathy. The long conversation about independents (those who don’t live in Greek houses) participating in Homecoming festivities has some weight, and this opinion piece in the Butler Collegian, especially the controversial editorial cartoon, ruffled a lot of feathers. While I don’t think independents are necessarily excluded from Homecoming, I know the participation level is much lower on that front. Some thoughts on this:

  • Activities like Lawn Decs (decorating the lawns of Greek Houses) are of course centered on the opposite side of campus as independent upperclassmen who live in AV, UT, or in off-campus housing.
  • Generally, Greek houses mandate participation in certain events. This depends on each individual organization, but it yields a much higher percentage of people participating– which makes it more fun for those involved.
  • Each Greek team (a fraternity and sorority) is paired with a non-Greek Housing unit, which does allow for non-Greek participation to be integrated with the general Greek enthusiasm for events like Homecoming. This is obviously a generalization, but I think there’s still some truth in it.
  • If you live in Greek Housing, those who participate in Homecoming activities live down the hall. If you live in independent housing, because there is such a low percentage of participation from these residence units, it’s more likely participants will be scattered throughout the dorm/apartments. It’s easier to muster enthusiasm when your next-door neighbors have the same spirit.

Overall, Homecoming excitement is concentrated in Greek housing, diluted in independent housing. I think this is the main reason people say independents are excluded from Homecoming. However, as an independent living in AV, I am right next to the Butler Bowl and all the Saturday activities. I had ample opportunity to participate in different activities; all the communication was very clear. What was missing?

Aside from a truly, spectualarly busy/miserable week (wonder why you didn’t hear too much from me?), no one close to me ever mentioned Homecoming or — that I know — considered participating. It’s an interesting dynamic. The best I can say is that, as an independent myself, I did not participate because I didn’t particularly feel compelled to do so.

But since my ballet rehearsals are done for the day, I think I can catch the game and maybe some of the parade!

Mahjong Break

As everyone has already mentioned… Fall Break was last Thursday/Friday. Again, as everyone has already mentioned, Butler students generally head into the break with quite a bit of homework. In lieu of working on the last paper left over from the break, I shall blog about my vacation.

I went to Chicago again, thanks to the marvelous hospitality of my boyfriend’s family. I played quite a bit of mahjong — and even won three times in a row! (Though I inadvertently cheated the first time. No one caught me, but I didn’t know you couldn’t complete an eye with a tile from the center before finishing all chows/pongs. I also don’t know how to spell any of this.)

So Fall Break was wonderful. I did quite a bit of homework:

  • discussion preparation for Financial Fictions English class (required a short, 2 page writing)
  • gym project
  • 7 page paper also for Financial Fictions
  • 6 page working draft for Shakespeare — this I still have to finish for tomorrow…
  • Project on non-Western dance in society for Theory and Philosophy of dance — if you are desperate for something to do, you can view my slideshow about Filipino dance
  • other sundry writings, none of which I finished

Homework isn’t all business. This is probably my favorite Youtube video I found while watching loads of Filipino dances. The dance is Itik Itik, a “duck dance” which in its most entertaining version seems to require small children dressed in yellow. Watch the poor girl in the back; she just stands there crying.

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I don’t know why, but I love that video. I’ve probably been writing too many papers. Despite all the work, I very much enjoyed my vacation. Now it’s back to campus! And for me, back to Shakespeare writing before studying for my Teaching Analysis of Classical Ballet midterm.

Midwinter Announcement!

Sunday night, the dance majors received a very exciting email from the director of the Department of Dance:

“I am very pleased to announce that this year’s Mid-Winter guest choreographer piece will be “Por vos Muero” by Nacho Duato.  Mr. Kevin Irving, assistant to Mr. Duato will be coming to cast the piece this semester and he will then return to set the work at the beginning of the spring semester.  This is very exciting for us all and continues the legacy of the masterworks that have been presented by the Butler Ballet over the past several years.”

Por Vos Muero:

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The past four years I have been at Butler, our Midwinter Dance Festivals have showcased pieces from the best choreographers.

  • 2012 Nacho Duato, “Por Vos Muero”
  • 2011 George Balanchine, “Walpurgisnacht”
  • 2010 Anthony Tudor, “Dark Elegies
  • 2009 George Balanchine, “Serenade”

I had the good fortune to participate in last year’s commissioned piece, and working with Deborah Wingert was absolutely amazing. (All dance students enrolled in Butler Ballet — i.e. almost all of them — are in the Midwinter show. The commissioned piece is not the only piece. Faculty members choreograph the rest of the program.) We don’t get to pick casting, obviously, and I’ll enjoy any piece I’m in, but I would love to learn Nacho Duato’s choreography, since we are learning the duets from Na Floresta in our Contemporary Partnering class and it is awesome. Video of Na Floresta:

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So much excitement!

College Cooking: Stuff in Couscous

Remember a very long while ago I promised to post vague recipes for new chefs? Remember the disclaimer that much of this seems quite obvious and hardly merits a recipe? Remember my rebuttal that college students (like me) when cooking for themselves for the first time sometimes have more trouble thinking of quick, moderately healthy, moderately inexpensive meals to prepare than actually preparing them?

Yeah, this is one of those posts.

Stuff in Couscous

This recipe is vegetarian, though you can add meat to it if you like. Ingredients are in boldface. Quantities are up to you and left purposely vague because it really doesn’t matter — just put in what tastes good. Treat this as a template.

  1. Prepare some instant couscous. You can find this in a supermarket. With instant couscous, you usually boil some water, add the couscous, leave covered for five minutes, fluff and serve.
  2. Heat a skillet with some olive oil.
  3. Toss chopped-up ingredients into the skillet: mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, garlic, whatever. When the veggies are tender, you will add these to the cooked couscous.
  4. OR boil veggies to add to the couscous. If you want things like green beans cut into small pieces or broccoli stalks, fill a skillet with water. Boil the water. Stick the veggies in the skillet and wait for them to turn bright green. Drain the water and add the veggies to the couscous.
  5. Serve the veggies and couscous together — you can add things like salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, or a bit of lemon juice.
  6. Clean up, or your roommates will be sad.

I served mine with milk and a veggie patty. Enjoy!

Fall Break: Silliness Interlude

Fall Break is here! When I was a freshman, I called this Thursday-Friday respite from classes “Reading Break” and opted to stay on campus to catch up on my homework. Little I did know that no one actually reads during Reading Break — hence the title “Fall Break.” I rearranged my dorm room instead.

Sophomore year I went home, but plane tickets are expensive: Definitely factor in the cost of travel when looking at schools! Junior year I came full circle by staying on Butler’s campus to finish the bibliography for my enormous Irish Lit paper. This year? I think I’ve attained a balance: I am desperate with schoolwork. I have two papers, two presentations, and a gym project due the Monday after Fall Break. However, I’m going to work on that while I visit my friend’s family in Chicago. Balance. That seems to be the best way to live. Does this mean I’m growing up?

Anyway, it’s Fall Break, which means we must inject a little levity, right? Thus, I give you…

Chirality Pizza

The last slice only fits when flipped face down.

Senior Sentimentality, Part 1

I’m sure I will spend much of this year falling further into sentimentality as the final months at Butler pass by. This Sunday marked the last pledge ceremony I will attend for the honorary dance fraternity, Sigma Rho Delta. After the ceremony, we all took pictures of families (as in social sororities — like Steph’s great depiction of the sweatpant family)… and we took one of the first (of many) senior photos.

However, with all the seniors posing for the photo, we needed a non-senior to take the photo. And it seemed as though none of the non-seniors were really interested. We came to the conclusion that we were horribly unloved and unappreciated. So dramatic.


Well, someone or two came over and obliged us by taking photos of us goofing around in a tree. We even obtained an overhead shot courtesy of a tall dancer on a tree branch.


I can tell this is going to be a period of ups and downs as I relish my final year of undergraduate study even as I bid it farewell. But enough sentimentality. I’m sure I will encounter enough emotion about being a senior as the year continues without encouraging the habit in October.