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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 “English”

Assessment Week #3

Every year, dance department students complete a self evaluation in the fall semester. This provides us with a chance to reflect on our progress, to put into words what we are trying to do with our movement, to identify areas we would like to improve. It is more important, perhaps, in that we are supposed to write how we are trying to improve specific things.

Topics we are asked to write on (in a few sentences for each section) include: technique, musicality, strength, flexibility, professionalism, and long-/short-term goals. (There are more… it’s fairly comprehensive.) I would not say that anyone particularly enjoys writing her self-assessment, but as a tool to focus our training, it is superb. I like to write mine early in the year: That way it is more of a plan of attack than a reflection on what areas I have concentrated my efforts. We turn our self-assessments in during our ballet technique final exam in the fall.

The faculty members, bless their hearts, read every single self-assessment. I think there are over one hundred students in the dance department this year. That’s a heck of a lot of assessing. This week, every student gets a fifteen minute appointment to meet with all the faculty at once. Faculty members provide feedback on our self-assessments, our classwork, and our performances. Even though the experience is slightly terrifying — have you ever been the focus of an entire department’s faculty all at once? — it’s good to get feedback.

I thought this year’s meeting was the most helpful one I’ve received: They talked about my classwork, performance, and what I wrote on my assessment, but they also introduced  a topic in a way I had not thought of before.

The other plus side of assessment week? The first four days see almost all our dance classes canceled. (Since the faculty meets with students all day, every day. It’s a grueling schedule.) I have much more free time than usual this week.

Of course, I just came from production/performance week for Midwinter Dance Festival, which means I have not done any meaningful amount of homework or housework or general life-organizing in a while. This week is shaping up to be busier than I thought it would be. (Though I should have know better.)

On the plus side again, I’m almost done with Moby Dick!

The White Whale...

Midwinter schedule II

Ever wanted to know what production week is like for a dance major? The schedule summary continues.

Wednesday:

  • Arrive at Clowes at 9 am to warm myself up.
  • Get an email retroactively saying our spacing rehearsal would not actually be starting until 11 am.
  • Read Moby Dick. (At least three people have mentioned this news story to me.)
  • Warm up again.
  • Space Walpurgisnacht.
  • Eat lunch.
  • Have ballet class on stage.
  • Run a tech rehearsal in costume.
  • Go to night class–Literature of the American Renaissance. Realize Moby Dick fits brilliantly with Jacques Derrida’s whole language-has-no-source thing. Sense a paper in the offing.
  • Plan out my summer schedule/BSI issues/senior year schedule/life in general.
  • Sleep.

Thursday:

  • EN 185 class: Q&A with Mark Halliday of the Visiting Writer’s series.
  • Mark Halliday

    Mark Halliday: Click for photo credit

  • En 366: Odes.
  • Leave English early to get to Clowes.
  • Take warm up class.
  • Run dress rehearsal.
  • Rejoice over the fact that our shoes did not have to be pancaked.
  • Do choreography homework. Do dance history reading.

Friday:

  • Attend dance history.
  • Get a zebra hot chocolate from Starbucks and read Emily Dickinson when choreography was unexpectedly canceled.
  • Take ballet class with auditioners.
  • Something happened next, but I cannot remember what it was. Did I do homework? I feel like I hung out with a friend instead.
  • Warm up at 6:30 pm.
  • Performance at 8 pm!! So much fun! My one correction? “Smile more,” Ms. Wingert told me. “Enjoy yourself.” That was easy enough to fix: I felt like I had been grinning like a fool, so I was trying to tone it down. Not so! I love Balanchine.
  • Sleep.

Midwinter schedule

Why have I not blogged in about a week? Midwinter Dance Festival! You are coming, correct? Here is Midwinter production week in list form:

Monday:

  • Meet with the head of Butler’s English department
  • Help load-in at Clowes Memorial Hall
  • Rejoice because the previous class finished installing the floor already
  • Take ballet class
  • Rehearse Walpurgisnacht in the studio
  • Work on choreography homework
  • Do other assorted homework/make pasta with butternut squash bits in it
  • Sleep

Tuesday

  • EN 185 class: discuss the poems of Visiting Writers Series guest Mark Halliday
  • EN 366: discuss the poems of John Clare
  • Take ballet class
  • Rehearse Walpurgisnacht in the studio
  • Do choreography homework
  • Help a student from EN 185 with her paper
  • Dinner, homework, sleep

To be continued…

Interested in the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series? Take a gander at a poetry reading I attended last semester:

YouTube Preview Image

Welcome back, ballet feet

Yesterday was the first day of classes, and all was a bit of a whirlwind. I had five classes/rehearsals, and apart from getting out quite early from my first class of the day, I was touting a full schedule. Welcome back, ballet feet. Nice to see you again, ballet arms.

EN 185: This was my first class. I must say, 9:30 is the perfect time to start class. I have a 10 o’clock MWF and 9:30 TR–I have such late classes this semester!–and I am currently in pajamas, eating cereal, writing this blog.

EN 185 is the Intro to the Discipline of English class in which I am the teaching assistant. I’m supposed to have times I’m available for appointments for writing and revising help. Maybe the day before an essay is due, I’ll hang out in Starbucks when I have time in the morning. I feel incredibly official, albeit slightly nervous.

EN 366: My Romanticism class ran for its full time yesterday. We read–guess who?–William Wordsworth. What a surprise. (Not.) I liked the professor, though I do find it odd that we will have a final exam in the class. I’m accustomed to writing long papers for English class culminations. With my BSI proposal and my never-ending revision of the Irish Lit paper (still!), I suppose I should be grateful not to have another long paper on my plate. Or in my mug of tea. My cup runneth over.

Whoops, cereal is gone. I shall continue the meandering tale of my first day back at Butler later. Time to put on real clothes and join the rest of society.

Since I been gone

Looking at my post list, I see it’s been five days since I’ve released a new blog! Sorry about that. This past week has been super busy. Here are some of my excuses:

I saw the Paul Taylor Dance Company quite some time ago, so perhaps it does not quite count as an excuse. I harbored mixed feelings about the program, but I adored “Esplanade,” one of great masterworks of the twentieth century. The video below is from the beginning of the last, crazy section. I also enjoyed seeing the solo the Butler dance department’s modern teacher Susan McGuire originated in “Dust.”
YouTube Preview Image

Dancer Thanksgiving potluck. My roommate and I brought apple-cranberry bread. And when I say “my roommate and I,” I mean I provided some of the ingredients and got out the bread pan. Then I watched my dancer roommate and my troublesome roommate make it together. Moral support, ya know?

Trader Joe's apple bread mix with added, homemade, cranberry sauce

Nutcracker Studio Dress rehearsal on Saturday! Studio Dress is when the department first runs the entire production in order, in costume, in the largest studio. After Studio Dress comes a week of production run-throughs in that same studio (Studio 310). Then comes Thanksgiving Break. Then comes production week in the theater. The performances are fast approaching.

Attending the Jazz Combos performance in the campus Starbucks to see my two jazz-musician friends. One plays the French horn; the other, the bass. Coolness. Would anyone like a post on French horn majors or jazz minors?

Writing the introduction and outline to my dance history paper on Irish dancing
Writing and writing and writing my Irish Lit paper. I finally finished the rough draft last night–before 11 pm! My friend gave me a CD and said I couldn’t listen to it until I was finished with the paper. How’s that for motivation? To be completely honest, I am rather disappointed with the result, since my thesis is pretty convoluted and not incredibly dependent on my readings of Translations. Oh well. It’s done for now, and I can fix it over Thanksgiving Break. I turned the paper in earlier today–all 21.5 pages!

Writing my Irish Lit paper--do you like my stack of sources?

Mastering the art of the Rubik’s cube. I will defeat you! (And I have, just not without the aid of a cheat sheet once I get to the final layer. I confuse the algorithms for reorienting the corners with those for reorienting the sides: R2 B2, R F R’, B2 R F’ R is for corners and R2 U’, F B’, R2, B F’, U’ R2 is for the sides. Maybe if I type it enough times I’ll remember this. This is clearly the top priority right now.)

I have a massive physics test on Thursday. Like, with enough surface area such that one can’t ignore air resistance massive. Everyone studying for the past week massive. A friend’s friend telling me this test made her abandon her dream of becoming an engineer massive. (Said friend is now a sixth grade math teacher.) Now my Irish Lit paper is done for the next few days, I can turn all my attention to studying for this test.

Oh yeah. I have a bunch of reading for Irish Lit, too. Whoops.

Scheduling, part VI

I recently registered for my sixth semester of classes. That’s right. The sixth. I will be a senior before I know it, and that is terrifying.

Registration for spring classes... just when the leaves fall and it gets really cold.

Registration, when you are enrolled as student, goes by credit hour, so I got to enroll at 3:30 pm on the first day of registration. When I was a freshman, I had to register quite late, since enrollment periods open for about two weeks. I’m only a junior, but I had some credit from AP tests I took in high school, and since I’m in the Butler honors college, I get twenty extra “ghost” credit hours added to my registration queuing total as a sort of perk. Anyway. The point being that I am all set for spring semester… which will also be terrifying, since I’m taking three English classes.

I thought for a long time that finishing an English major (the literature track) would be impossible, but I have since met with the head of Butler’s English Department, and I have new hope. I am way behind, however, and this spring is going to be rough. I’m taking twenty-one credit hours (which means I’ll have to pay for the extra credit hour I’m taking, since the limit for students with primary majors in the JCFA is 20 credit hours a semester). Nine of those hours are English classes. One of those English classes will go on my transcript as an internship, since I’m acting as a sort of TA for the department head’s EN 185 class.

(EN 185 is Intro to the Discipline of English. It’s the first class you take towards an English major. I’ll be responsible for all the work the other students do, plus reading literary criticism on the works, offering help with essay writing and revision, writing longer/more in-depth papers, and presenting several research projects to the class.)

I am going to be so busy. Wish me luck!

The classes I’m taking in the spring:

  • Ballet technique
  • Modern technique
  • Pointe technique
  • Pas de deux
  • Variations
  • Butler Ballet (rehearsal period)
  • Dance history 2
  • Choreography 2
  • Literature of the American Renaissance
  • Romanticism
  • Intro to the Discipline of English

(gulp)

To Nano or not to Nano?

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know I participate in something called NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month. I first started attempting Nano in 2005, when I was a sophomore in high school. I finally “won” in 2007, November of my senior year, and I’ve finished every year since.

A bit of background: Nanowrimo happens in the month of November (aka, the worst month ever for a ballet dancer, due to a little thing we call The Nutcracker). During these thirty days, people all across the globe attempt to write a 50,000-word piece of fiction. We write novels. And we do it in a month.

Of course, these are not polished novels. We often use extensive quotations. We rarely employ niceties like sustained narrative and all that. And we always type out numbers like twenty-seven, a hundred and fifty-two, and three thousand five hundred twenty-five and thirteen twenty-sevenths. (That last sentence totaled twenty-one words, which is zero point zero one percent of a day’s work, one thousand six hundred and sixty-seven words.) It adds up.

The wittily-constructed Nano website claims 50,000 words is about 175 pages, for those who are interested. I myself wrote about 52,000 words in 98 pages. Go figure. (Double vs single spacing, perhaps?) One is proclaimed a winner after reaching 50,000 words of fiction.

The point? We write for the sheer joy of it. We write because giving ourselves permission to aim for quantity over quality often produces work that otherwise would not exist. We write because we can, dudes.

End of background.

In the old days, the logo recalled a marathoner.

Anyway, I am trying to decide if I will attempt Nanowrimo this year. The main reason I am hesitant? I am opting to write the twenty-page research paper for my Irish Literature class, and I am currently on a “let’s read about literary theory!” kick. An independent study may or may not be in the works. It’s so early that I almost don’t want to blog about it, since it seems likely to fall through or suffer some other dire fate.

We shall see.

Now it's all Vikings and coffee.

Funny lines from past Nano novels:

Example 1, from the 2007 novel (my first-ever completed) called Welsh Lessons, page sixty-nine: “If we leave the pipe in the lederhosen, the Pied Piper will be defeated.”