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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 “finals”

Senior Ballet Final

I mentioned before that the senior ladies and men each do something silly at their last ballet final. I was busy helping organize ours all last week, hence the silence on the blog front. All our hard work paid off — it was EPIC.

To review: The seniors usually play some sort of prank during their senior final. Senior men are in a men’s technique class with all the men; most of the senior ladies are in the Level 4 class with a certain percentage of non-seniors. Anyway, this means there are two different senior final performances/pranks/silly events.

Through the years: My freshman year, I think the graduating seniors dressed up as animals for their senior final. My sophomore year (the year of the Olympics), the senior class assigned each professor as country and had a “Team Cholewa” or “Team Reid.” Last year, the seniors convinced some of the basketball players to come in with tutus, and they did a few basketball-related things, dribbled the balls, drew a game plan on the chalkboard, etc…

Through the years again: After much deliberation, we decided to do a “through the years” skit, chronicling events from our four years in Butler’s Dance Department! By chance, the curtains happened to be up in Studio 310, since Butler Chamber Dance was performing in the Studio Theater later that night. We unfurled one of the curtains to make a backstage area; we met for three consecutive nights to brainstorm, write the script, and practice. We even made t-shirts with nicknames on them so we would all match!

The skit went over really well, I think. The faculty (plus a good number of other dance majors) came to watch. We were a little nervous that people would not be able to follow, or that it wouldn’t be funny, but as soon as one girl walked out, dressed like one of our old teachers, Tong Wang, everyone was on the same page.

The events we chronicled:

  • Our first placement class, taught by Tong Wang
  • Our first Nutcracker with the Butler Ballet — including the tour to Marion and the campus Norovirus plague
  • The fact that we lost 12 members from our freshman class — but gained one more from a transfer! (some of the former dance majors were kind enough to return to take part in this beginning of the skit!) (this was also Hunger Games – themed)
  • An “injury-runway,” notably including a reenactment of a girl hitting a door whilst in a wheely chair and another getting her jaw stuck open.
  • Our sophomore year Laban Movement Choir
  • Our summer discovery of a video of two of the faculty participating in a public service announcement — complete with a rap which I practiced for a very long time.
  • Our junior year Glee Flashmob in downtown Indianapolis
  • The Ice-pocalypse
  • Our senior year’s new teacher’s entrance. He kindly agreed to participate and really hammed it up to music from Grease.
  • Audition season
  • And a sappy speech at the end

It was great fun! If you ever have a chance to do a “looking back over the years” skit, it’s a lot of work but well worth the effort. I will miss everyone in my ballet class dearly!

We made senior T-shirts!

Final Preparations

You see, these are the final preparations… because I’m a senior… preparing for finals… Oh dear.

I promise I’ll get to Coppélia performing was such an amazing experience, I’m having the hardest time putting it into words. This week is still pretty busy, though. What happens the week after Coppélia?

Many things.

  • Field trip to Congregation Beth-El Zedeck for my Midrash English class. Congregation Beth-El Zedeck
  • TURN IN my senior English essay. It’s not as good as I want it to be, but I’m done. Done. Done.
  • Plan for our last senior ballet technique final. The seniors always include some sort of skit or prank or something for their last ballet final. Last year, the senior class did a basketball-themed entrance and even had some of the basketball team show up in tutus! The year before was Olympic-themed with students each on one of the professor’s teams (Team Cholewa = Poland, since Professor Cholewa is from Poland). This year… you’ll have to wait and see, since it’s top secret.
  • Final projects, etc. I don’t like to think about those.

This week continues the whirlwind of my final month at Butler!

Dance Finals

Dance class finals consist of a juried exam, wherein the students learn a specific class from one of the teachers and dance it in front of a table of faculty members. The main challenges of the juried class? Memorization and endurance.

It’s actually not as hard as one might think, memorizing the various ballet exercises. The faculty does a pretty good job of helping each class prepare, and the class generally reviews together on its own. The trouble comes in all the little details: I’m in the first line of three for the first exercise, and I run in from and exit toward stage left, and this exercise has four counts in between groups, and we begin in B+… And so on.

Endurance becomes a factor because, having memorized the combinations, there is very little time between exercises. This is how the juried ballet, modern, and jazz classes are condensed from an hour and a half (or an hour for jazz) to forty-five minutes. The only juried final I remember where endurance really became an issue was freshman year’s spring semester. It was stifling in the room, and I’d forgotten my water bottle. Gazillion degrees + nonstop ballet - water = not the easiest of classes. I prevailed, however, and even survived sophomore and junior years to boot!

My second to last dance technique final is this Friday, and I have such clogged sinuses I can’t breath when we cambré back. This was a big issue toward the beginning of my modern final yesterday afternoon, when we do overcurves, undercurves, and turns in tilts… But as per usual, if we push through, a dance class ends up being fun. When I dance, I feel better — even physically, odd as that might sound.

I suppose I should channel some of this enthusiasm into English paper writing as well.

Lilly Hall, where the dance studios live

Story from the vault: During my sophomore year, spring final, I had a lot of momentum after a burst of chaîné turns. I started to clear the center, going in the direction I had been traveling. Of course, I was supposed to leave the other way. I realized this, ran the tightest arc of my life, banking into the turn furiously, and ran off in the correct direction. I could hear one professor laughing out loud, and I had to laugh with him. After that, any lingering nerves were gone, natch.

Under the mountain

I am writing from under a veritable mountain of homework (unlike Steph, who actually climbed a mountain!). Reasons for mountain formation:

1. The Nutcracker: Our last show was this past Sunday, and we took lots of senior pictures, and I did not get as emotional as I thought I would, but I cried after our modern final today because the modern teacher is going on sabbatical. I feel good about the performances I gave — I’m never quite satisfied, since there always seem to be areas to improve — but the faculty had some good things to say. I felt calmer and more in control on stage this run than ever before… and I had a lot of fun as well. But I’m horribly behind on homework now.

2. Finals week: I’m also under a mountain of work because academic finals are next week. I have two English classes and two dance academics… I’m most concerned about the big English paper I have due this coming Monday, where I’ll be talking about Edenic metaphors in Frank Norris’ The Pit. Key phrase: “I’ll be.” As in, “I have not yet.” As in, my paper is thus far just a bullet-pointed version of my project proposal.

Oh dear.

One of my doodles from freshman year... It still speaks to me.

Dance finals are this week, too, and I’ve finished half of my pointe final and my modern final. We did contemporary pas and classical partnering before The Nutcracker, so I just have one more pointe class and my ballet technique final to go! More about dance finals later, I suppose.

Headline: Final papers crush college student

The usual crush of final papers is, well, crushing me. I am happy to report, however, the completion and subsequent printing of one of the three papers still between me and summer vacation. Take that, Nathaniel Hawthorne/Christopher Castiglia/Leo Marx! Yeah, you don’t scare me.

(Summer! Two weeks of freedom! Then nine weeks of research! Then three weeks of an independent study! Then… oh wait, then the fall semester starts.)

No cursing.

I still have to finish my dance history paper on contemporary choreographer Maguy Marin. I finally asked my follow dancers about viewing the works of Marin. The guy down the hall owns Cendrillon. Whomp.

And I have to revise my paper on Emily Dickinson I turned in for my EN 185 class over spring break. Instead of writing another paper, the department head is letting me go to secondary sources to position my argument on Dickinson’s postmodern understanding of language within current discourse. I found the perfect book: Jed Deppman’s Trying to Think with Emily Dickinson. Now I just have to do a semester’s worth of work to revise, since this revision is replacing my second paper.

Ho-hum. It’s back to work after a fried rice break.

Finals week: another look

If I were an international studies and French double major also participating in the honors program… I would be my troublesome roommate. And my finals schedule would look like this:

The week before finals week:

1. Honors class about Doctor Zhivago: a poetry anthology which explicated several poems by Russian writers and included original works

Doctor Zhivago [Book]

2. International studies class on the United Nations (IS 390): a paper on–you guessed it!–the United Nations

3. Anthropology class titled “Gender and Sexuality through Globalization” (AN 320): a paper on Fight Club exploring the film’s connections between masculinity and violence

Fight Club Poster

Finals week:

1. 18th Century French literature (FR 435): a paper comparing literature from the beginning and the end of 18th century France

2. Doctor Zhivago honors class: a written final

3. Cultural Geography (GE 109): a written final on Asia and the Pacific Islands

After all that madness, one does not quite know what to do with oneself. So one attempts to use the last of the bread, garlic, and butter in the refrigerator before leaving campus and ends up watching croutons bake.

Clearly, Butler students don’t know what to do with themselves without schoolwork. But those croutons were reeeeally good.

Finally

“Final”-ly? Get it? Get it?

I’m done with finals!

After I finished dance finals on Friday, I went straight into academic final week, which is when most of the rest of campus freaks out.

The finals week schedule of a dance/English major

Saturday: I attended the Butler School of Music’s Rejoice! holiday concert with a friend and saw Blue II ride across the stage during a rendition of Blue Christmas. I had never been to Rejoice! before, and this was the 25th anniversary of the show, which is offered every year, free to the Indianapolis community. Students from the University’s various faculty- and student-led choral groups performed with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir and two students from Butler’s Dance Department.

At the end of the show, there was a live auction for a special conductor’s baton and the chance to led the choir in the Hallelujah Chorus. The show was terribly exciting, and it should probably merit its own post, but I’m feeling lazy.

Sunday: I failed to get groceries due to the snow.

Monday: I sat my dance history final and wrote about Imperial Russian ballet and Romanticism until my fingers went numb.

Tuesday: I submitted my final copy (final for the class at least… I’m about to revise part of it yet again as soon as I finish this blog post) of my Irish literature paper. The final title? An Argument for Cosmopolitanism: Creating National Identity in Brian Friel’s Translations.

Also, I completed the science lab I had missed due to a Nutcracker dress rehearsal. And studied like mad for physics.

Wednesday: In the morning, we presented our dance for the Choreography I final. In the afternoon, I sat the physics exam. I don’t really want to talk about it. In the end physics might have come out on top in this semester-long smackdown. I was not doing too badly, but then I rather abruptly ran out of time. I thought the professor told us we had four hours, and I was doing a solid 25 problems an hour, just barely. Twenty-five times four is one hundred. Perfect.

However, at 3 hours, 15 minutes, he announced, “Fifteen minutes left.” Panic! Let’s just say physics won this round, hands-down. It was not the best way to go out after a semester of hard work, but there’s nothing I can do about it now. Oh well.

After I frolicked with a friend through the halls of Lilly (which means we played with the piano in one of the practice rooms and I showed off my awesome C minor scale, of which I quite proud), I checked more books out of the library to read for my proposal for a summer project through the Butler Summer Institute. If anything progresses past this planning stage, I shall inform you.

Thursday: I woke up with the realization that I was done, done, done with this fall semester of my junior year! I had a lunch date with the on-campus Catholic priest, Fr. Jeff. I’m going to be president of the Butler Catholic Community next semester… wish me luck! Our last president was extremely organized, so I have large shoes to fill.

Now I’m just finishing up little things before I fly home. For example:

1. Scrubbing the kitchen floor to rid it of the salt that gets tracked in from the snowy, slushy, disgusting sidewalks.

2. Organizing the massive heaps of school papers that congregated on my desk during the last third of the semester.

3. Pestering my one remaining roommate, who–I must add–is exceedingly tolerant. When she is not being troublesome.

4. Drinking massive amounts of tea. Necessary.

5. Finishing one book (remember McCall Smith?) and starting another (which I got way back in September for my birthday and which turned out to be the second of a trilogy… I have a winter project!).

6. Organizing and consigning to the “deshank later” pile about ten pairs of pointe shoes. Okay, perhaps there were only eight pairs. I despise going through pointe shoes. I never want to admit they are dead, because that means sewing more. However, when one cannot stand en pointe without the box collapsing forward, it is time to bid the offending shoe adieu.

7. Taking a Playdough break with a friend. I found Playdough while organizing a hideously untidy drawer and promptly decided to distract my friend, who probably really needed to finish the due-the-next-day computer science project. Hanging out with friends who still have finals when one is finished for the semester? Probably not the best idea. However, I created a Playdough rabbit in anticipation of seeing our two baby rabbits when I go home for break in a few days. Admire.

My friend made a person. Sadly, the arm did not want to stay. I managed to capture the Playdough limb mid-fall in one photo, a fact about which I am extremely proud.

Nutcracker, finals, and more finals

I apologize for my recent absence, and I’m here to tell you I’m about to disappear again. Nutcracker is over now, but we have plunged head-first into dance finals. I have taken half my pointe final (the other half is today), my pas final (the week before break, actually), and my modern final (yesterday). I have the rest of pointe and ballet technique still to go.

What else do I have to do? The quality of this post will be rather poor, I’m afraid, and the rest will consist of a list of the finals a dance major might be expected to finish. You have been warned.

After I finish dance finals, academic finals begin. I have written exams in dance history and analytic physics. I have to present my long Irish paper tonight, and the final draft is due next Tuesday. I also have to present a dance I choreographed with two other junior dance majors next week for my Choreography I class’ final.

And at some point, I really need to do my laundry. Cooking is generally a good idea as well. A very long time ago, I made this magnificent frittata. Today all I have is barley vegetable soup. Good, but it’s not going to last.

Frittata time!