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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 “modern”

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.

The practical uses of having stellar sports teams

1. Charity

Butler’s mascot, English bulldog Blue II, has been getting the star treatment over the last few weeks. (Actually, who are we kidding? He gets the star treatment all the time.) While in Houston, Blue II served as the inspiration for a martini. This isn’t just more attention lavished on the hound, though. Proceeds from the drink sold at the hotel in Houston go to the Houston SPCA and the Butler mascot fund. Woof!

2. Inspiration

Excerpt from a ballet teacher’s pre-class speech: “You have to be like the basketball team. Ballet, basketball, not so different. Well, it’s a little different, I mean, you are dancers. But you have work hard just like the team. They don’t take days off. They don’t give up.” And it went on like that. By the end, I was ready to shoot some three-pointers, erm, do some triple pirouettes.

3. Explanation

How were we supposed to perform a jump in our Modern 3/4 class? Was there a specific position where we hit rétiré, or were we just to move through the air?

“Just move through the position,” said our modern professor. But we were to get some air. She told us about a certain picture of a certain member of a certain basketball team. “He was,” gesturing, “this high off the ground. That’s what you have to do.”

Be Chrishawn Hopkins. Okay, dancing, go!

FLY!

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.