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.