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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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Posts Tagged “Deborah Wingert”

Midwinter Dance Festival program

Come to Midwinter Dance Festival! The Butler Ballet is performing this Friday and Saturday, Feb 25 and 26 at 8 pm at Clowes Memorial Hall. Buy tickets here or at the box office up to two hours before the show starts.

What will you see?

1. La Bayadère, staged by professor Marek Cholewa. My roommate from last year is the soloist–very neat! Also very much a classical ballet piece–it shows the importance of corps work to great effect.

2. Church Song, choreographed by professor Susan McGuire. When I saw this the first few times, I did not know what it was about; having heard it was intended to be a tribute to the victims of the tsunami in Indonesia, I watched it again with a more focused eye. Tears, I tell you.

The soloists all offer something slightly different in this modern piece. Professor McGuire did a wonderful job displaying the dancers’ best qualities, and the whole piece reads–to me, at least–as being very sincere. Brilliant.

3. 1st of 3 in 17, choreographed by professor Cynthia Pratt and revived for this performance. Set to classical Mozart, the dancers in bare feet and quirky red costumes (see picture above) begin by shaking their hips. The piece is lighthearted, offering a great sense of humor without sacrificing any integrity.

4. Karelia Suite, choreographed by professor Stephan Laurent and revived. Originally choreographed about Finland’s gaining independence from Russia (I THINK. I’m not entirely certain on this one.), the dance has been newly dedicated to the protestors in Egypt, making this dance both traditional and timely.

5. Hong, or Swan Goose, choreographed by professor Tong Wang. This piece is about birds, so I am bound to love it. The narrative that runs through it is quite sad; the music, costumes, and choreography make the piece stunningly beautiful.

6. Walpurgisnacht, staged by Deborah Wingert, a former NYCB soloist. I’m rather partial to Balanchine, and I am dancing in the piece, so my perception will naturally be skewed… but I very much enjoy it. Like I said, you should come.

Clowes. Feb 25 and 26. 8 pm. Be there.

Balanchine all week long

I do love me a Balanchine ballet. I performed in Serenade with the Richmond Ballet trainee program when I was a senior in high school. When I was a college freshman, the upperclassmen performed it at Butler. I was so jealous, since dancing in Serenade had been one of the defining moments of my performing life.

Now I am rehearsing Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht, a slightly more obscure ballet requiring twenty-five dancers (twenty-four of them women). Last week was the first week of classes, and it was definitely a tornado-on-the-rampage sort of week. Learning choreography requires (for me) a particular sort of mental concentration and physical exertion different from rehearsal of previously learnt material.

I described my first day back for the spring semester in the last few posts. Wednesday was day number two, and it saw another few hours of rehearsal after classes. I have a night class which meets Wednesdays on the literature of the American Renaissance (EN 341). Reading, reading, reading. We’ll tackle Moby Dick in three class periods.

On Thursday, there was the Intro to the Discipline of English class again (I rotated groups in true TA-style) and Romanticism (I still have neutral feelings on the class). Then ballet, then pointe, then… no rehearsal. Ms. Wingert worked with some of the other groups. I did homework like a fiend.

Friday was much the same: Dance history, our first choreography II class, ballet, and rehearsal until five o’clock. We finished learning Walpurgisnacht. The final section Ms. Wingert called “Fire in the Beauty Parlor” since we run around with our hair down. It’s great fun. I really enjoy moving in that particularly expansive, Balanchine way.

Saturday was more rehearsal; Sunday was more rehearsal. We don’t normally rehearse on Sundays, but I understand that we had to make the best use of our time with Ms. Wingert before she flew back to New York. I loved working with her, and I appreciate the opportunity to perform Balanchine choreography, since companies must apply to the Trust to license each ballet. But boy, are my toes sore today!

I hope this also explains the rather pathetic lack of photos in my blog. I have not had time to take new ones, so I’ve been using old ones I saved for this sort of situation… except sometimes they don’t quite match. Like today’s:

This is the HRC, the Health and Recreation Complex. I used the hot tub and pool to great advantage this past week. However, the lawn is currently covered in snow, not sitting all nice and green like it was when I took this picture.

Working all the time

This title is a phrase one of the dance professors likes to use, and this week, it has been very true. (This post is also the final section of the story of my first day back, horribly dragged out into infinite blog posts. Sorry.)

The Dance Department is honored to welcome Ms. Deborah Wingert from the Balanchine Trust. Ms. Wingert watched our ballet class (the first after break… ofgh!) and chose twenty-five women and one man for her staging of Walpurgisnacht. Meanwhile, we had a pointe class. Then those of us in the piece had rehearsal. For a very long time.

Ooof, I’m so terribly sore, and my toes might fall off, but I’m really excited to be working with Ms. Wingert. She is tall, graceful, and horribly kind, and she intersperses teaching choreography with little anecdotes about the people and events surrounding New York City Ballet. “My friend Wendy,” she says causally, of famed dancer Wendy Wheldon. Ms. Wingert worked with George Balanchine, and her insight on his choreography is invaluable. She even spoke up in favor of my hair color after one of the professors asked me if I had dyed it.

(Only a little bit…)

In all seriousness, I cannot speak highly enough of her, and I’m glad we get the opportunity to work with her as we rehearse for our Midwinter Dance Festival in February.

You might say my first day back was a bit of a whirlwind. I’m glad I read a biography of Balanchine earlier this year! I love (most of) his choreography. Serenade: Still my favorite.