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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: June 2012

What to do during your summer

Whether you are a high school junior/senior thinking about college, a college student in-between semesters, or someone just out of school, summer offers precious time to study and to play. The Butler Admissions guest blog wrote about some great suggestions for spending your summer, and of course I have to add my two cents! ;)

I’ve done things a bit differently every summer since I graduated from high school. Let’s recap, shall we?

  • Summer after I graduated from high school: I was lucky enough to travel the world with both my grandparents and my nuclear family, then to dance for a good chunk of the rest of the summer at home.
  • After freshman year: I was a nanny three-four days a week and danced on my off days.
  • After sophomore: I attended a summer dance intensive.
  • After junior year: I participated in Butler Summer Institute doing English research… and danced.
  • After senior year: So far I’ve finished that last French class required to graduate, danced in the Southern Illinois Music Festival, and am currently teaching movement classes to children. Soon I will move to Tulsa, OK!

In the process of doing each of these different activities I’ve come to appreciate the importance of two things: work and play.

Those two about cover the gamut of options, n’est-ce pas? But really, working, whether it be as a nanny, researcher, dancer, or teacher truly drove home the lessons I learned in class. Even if I didn’t quite understand everything said in my Teaching Analysis of Classical Dance class last semester, I am now remembering little details, seeing them played out in front of me. Even if I didn’t always realize the lessons in professionalism and technique my dance classes at Butler imparted, I found myself drawing on them for reference while dancing in southern Illinois.

However, as a type-A all the way, I was surprised to realize the equal importance of playing. After my summer of BSI and English classes and the stress of trying to keep in ballet-shape while conducting a huge research project, I entered senior year a bit tired. No worries, right? However, by the second semester, I think I had burned out a little with my English studies. Dancing, no problem. (Which is good news, since that’s what I’ll be doing full time next year!) Writing another English paper? The thought kind of made me gag. Already with a few weeks break, I’m back on my reading diet of Dylan Thomas… but I want to hold off on that paper for a few more months at least.

So take a risk this summer, be it structured (a job, a class, an internship, a research project, a volunteer position) or not. But don’t forget to veg a bit! Butler (or any other institution, I imagine), will have you hopping for the full academic year, and it really is vital to take those lazy days to rest and read and bake cookies in your pajamas. Personally, I like cleaning my room with a book on tape. Whatever floats your boat.

Playing in the park!

Professionalism

As of last week, I am a grown-up dancer, earning my living in the most improbable of ways… the arts. After this week, I will also be able to add “teacher” to my life experiences list, since Monday was my first day helping with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir day camp. This makes me profesh, correct?

As ones enters college, it behooves him/her to think about beginning to practice the professional attitudes that will demonstrate maturity and help get the job done. Though you will be student in college, there is no reason you cannot act like a professional. If there’s one thing I learned during this most recent year’s audition season, it’s that you command more respect if you act in a professional manner which indicates you feel you deserve said respect. Basically, act mature, and people will treat you as such.

The Butler Department of Dance has a Professional Practices class you must take as a new student. I know there is a pharmacy equivalent, and the Intro to the Discipline class acts as a sort of professionalism class for the English Lit and Creative Writing Majors. And of course, it’s only way after the fact that I appreciate the class…

  • Maturity means stifling small complaints. If you see error, point it out respectfully and only to effect some sort of necessary change, then stop. Don’t complain for the sake of complaining.
  • Maturity means remaining calmer, more focused, and more eager to learn than you actually want to be or than those around you are. Maturity means getting it right quickly and consistently. Maturity means occasionally taking on extra tasks with a smile.
  • Maturity means showing respect for the job at hand, whether it seems too daunting or too little. No work of art lacks worth, and the more of yourself as an artist you can pour into a project, the more fulfilling it will be, both for you and for those around you.

This summer, I’m plunging headfirst into the real world, and old, tired sayings are gaining reality and importance the more I shed that snakeskin of student. More than ever, I wish I had internalized the gravity of a positive attitude sooner.

College will be challenging, with its incredibly multi-faceted demands on time and energy. However, a positive attitude manifested in mature professionalism really does make a difference, providing the biggest returns on the effort you give to your college (or professional) activities.

So life, bring on the next challenge!

Ugh, sorry to sound so preachy. But with all the earnestness I can muster, this really is true.

Dance Department Basics: Butler Ballet

Butler Ballet is the name of the Department of Dance’s “performance component” (as it says on the official website), the title of company putting on productions in Clowes Memorial Hall and soon the Howard L. Schrott Center. For instance, I danced in the Butler Ballet’s performance of Coppélia this past spring. It is also the name of a class the dance majors take most or all of their semesters at Butler University: I have “Butler Ballet” as a class on my transcript each semester.

As a class, Butler Ballet has a class code, credit hours, and ultimately a grade. Currently, it meets:

  • Monday 4:40 – 5:30
  • Tuesday 3:40 – 6
  • Thursday 3:40 – 6
  • Saturday 8 – 5

This is not to say that we are in Lilly Hall from 8 am to 5 pm every Saturday… only sometimes! Butler Ballet, though scheduled as a class, is more of a potential class — you may be called at any (or all) of these times throughout the semester.

If I had to generalize, I would say I had several hours on Saturday, full Tuesday and Thursdays with maybe an hour or half hour gap in the rehearsals, and Monday rehearsals some of the time. However, it really just depends on the role. Dancing Swanhilda in Coppélia, I not only had full Butler Ballet times, but also extra rehearsals on Wednesday afternoons. When Kevin Irving visited Butler to set Nacho Duato’s Por Vos Muero, we danced from 3:30 – 6 on Monday, 2:10 – 6 Tuesday/Thursday, and 3:30 -5:30 on Wednesday, plus Saturdays. However, rehearsal periods in normal circumstances are limited to the periods set forth by the Butler Ballet class schedules.

And that’s how Butler Ballet rehearsal periods work.

My homemade tutu lasted for about two years — and now is completely dead, falling apart and saggy, the tulle torn. Oh well.