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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 “Nutcracker”

Family Shout-Out

I have to backtrack a little to The Nutcracker. I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing about it… but I want to acknowledge all the family members who traveled (some so far!) to see and support me. I’m so grateful I was able to see you! Also, Grandma, those cake pops were delicious — especially the peppermint one. I cannot wait to see everyone next week during my winter break.

Cake pops!

A note about traveling: Looking at out-of-state schools? When I was in high school, making decisions about college, I knew I wanted to go to Butler. It has a serious, classical-ballet based dance program with a good English department in a liberal arts setting — and this is not a common combination. Just keep in mind, though, that travel will increase the cost of an out-of-state school, especially depending on how often you go home. Friends who live in California might spend a shorter break with family/friends closer to Indianapolis; I’ve traveled home to Virginia for Fall Break only once. Distance did not alter my admissions decision, but it is still an important factor to consider… especially since those acceptance letters should be arriving soon for Early Decision admissions!

This is a super dramatic metaphor about marathons

The three weeks after Thanksgiving break seem like a marathon. Here is how this comparison would go: The first third, we’re feeling good, getting water at the water stops, waving at the people lining the street holding hand-made glitter signs and ringing obnoxious cowbells. This is The Nutcracker.

The second week has those blisters those start to burn, long stretches without any cheering fans, the cramp in my left calf, the knowledge that even though it hurts now, there are still 10.2 miles to go. This is the week of dance finals, memorizing classes and finishing self-assessment papers; this is the week before academic finals, when my life is in a disorganized pile after The Nutcracker but I still have a ton of papers to write.

I’m on mile 24 now. I pushed through the cramps and blisters and opened a few more. I drank my Gu (this is real, I promise). There are people lining the street, holding small children who have insisted on displaying those enthusiastic signs, though they have them crooked so the message becomes obscured. (It doesn’t matter, we know they contain words of encouragement and love.) That cramp is killing me, and I know there are still 2.2 miles left. But I’m so close, and all my friends are running beside me.

Some of us will cross the finish line sooner, some later. Some of us have huge hampers of laundry to wash when we’ve finished the run. (Me.) Some of us have been done for a few days and have come back to stand on the sidelines to cheer the runners onto the finish line.

This is super dramatic.

On Monday, I finished a thirteen-page research paper for my Financial Fictions class in effectively three/four days. (Sorry, Dr. Swenson.) After I turned it in at 6 pm on Monday, I finished my Teaching Analysis of Classical Ballet project. Then I studied for an hour, went to bed, studied for another hour in the morning, then took the final. (Sorry, Professor Bryam.) Then I started to write my Theory and Philosophy paper, which I turned in eight minutes before it was due at 5 pm. (Sorry, Professor Laurent.)

Now I’m writing my short Shakespeare paper and studying/preparing for that final on Thursday. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit how close to the wire I came with some of those assignments… But I’m ready to finish off my last fall semester of college!

Good luck to everyone studying for final exams and writing final papers, to everyone preparing applications to grad school, to all you high school seniors finalizing/prepping college applications! We are almost there!

I’ve never run a marathon, by the way. I’m sure it shows.

Yes, we participated in the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot volunteering crew this year as per family tradition!

Nutcracker Review

I did not write much about The Nutcracker. It seems like I never do, usually since I’m too busy to do so when it’s actually happening, and the weeks after The Nutcracker are filled with dance finals and then academic finals. I just finished the marathon that was Monday and Tuesday. I’ll have to write about that sometime soon…

But I’m taking a study break to ask you this question: What happens when you put six girls in one small dressing room?

Some of the roles in The Nutcracker are double cast: Sugar Plum, Snow Queen, Dewdrop, Mirliton cast, sometimes the Snow Princesses, once even (rather bizarrely) the Flowers corps. So when I and five of my friends were assigned to one of the smaller dressing rooms, we knew it would not be a problem, since only three of us were dancing in a given show.

What happens when you put six girls in one small dressing room? We go in and out, talk to our friends in the green room, put on our shoes in the middle of the hallway, trip over bags, find make-up sponges in every imaginable place. Secret Santa people come in, wanting to know where so-and-so’s chair is, and I point to a vague area on the counter, saying, “Somewhere on that end.” It was great fun, as The Nutcracker always is.

I love performing, being onstage a bit breathless and wondering as the lights slowly brighten into life. I also love the camaraderie backstage, the words of encouragement we give one another, helping button costumes and locate arms puffs. Navigating a dressing room crowded to capacity. Smiling, smiling.

This picture should sum it up.

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.

From the basement of Clowes…

I am writing from the basement of Clowes, preparing myself for the last two shows of The Nutcracker — I perform tonight and tomorrow afternoon! Last night was my first show, since we only have six shows this year. I thought the run on Friday went really well — at the very least, I had a great time. I took some time before we went onstage to remind myself how lucky I am to have the opportunity to do what I love.

On a related note, I haven’t been able to focus on homework for a week. I’m taking a break from composing an argument about socialism as a natural force in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. I’m three acts of a play behind in my Shakespeare class (sorry, Dr. Walsh), and I’m really glad I choreographed my ballet class for Teaching Analysis over Thanksgiving Break.

Oh dear. Sunday night is going to be fuuuun with all the academic work I haven’t finished, but I still love the craziness The Nutcracker brings each year. My family came to Indianapolis to see the shows, and I am so grateful everyone was able to travel so far. We had a delicious breakfast this morning.

Also, I am addicted to adding avocado to my sandwiches.

Also, Nutcracker proximity is proportional to the randomness of this posts, and for that I apologize.

Opening Night Tomorrow!

The Nutcracker opens tomorrow at Clowes Hall, 7:30 pm! I’m currently watching the dancers in Act II perform one last dress rehearsal in preparation for Butler Ballet‘s show tomorrow, and everyone looks great. I love watching the process of a program coming together, knowing all the individual struggles and seeing my friends overcome problem areas and grow ever more exacting. Press lifts which might not have worked in October sail into the air without a hitch now, and we are no longer satisfied with what seemed a good run a month ago.

Basically, I’m very proud of everybody, and you should come see the performances this weekend. Show times are:

  • Thursday, Dec 1, 7:30 pm
  • Friday, Dec 2, 8 pm
  • Saturday, Dec 3, 2 pm
  • Saturday, Dec 3, 8 pm
  • Sunday, Dec 4, 2 pm

It’s not too late to buy tickets! (Especially if you didn’t win one at the Apartment Village’s Bingo Night.)

"The Nutcracker" by Butler Ballet at Clowes Hall.

Nutcracker: One More Time

This will be my last Nutcracker at Butler, and I’m not nostalgic quite yet. I have all year for that, right? So far, we’ve run through the ballet in the studio and spaced in the theater. Tomorrow comes tech rehearsals — dancing in fake snow — and a costume/orchestra rehearsal, both in the theater.

It’s always strange jumping right in after Thanksgiving Break. I recommend lots of Pilates.

I am drinking lots of water and listening to music. Also, reading Richard II for my Shakespeare class. I think I got food poisoning from Mongolian Grill and am quite grateful that grossness was over quickly; on a sadder note, my roommate has ushered in the Nutcracker cold/sickness. Tis the season.

My posts grow more scattered as I grow busier.

CLOWES!

Come see the show!

Nutcracker World, Post-Studio Dress

What happens in Nutcracker world after Studio Dress?

As I talked about this weekend, normally we run both casts during Studio Dress on Saturday. Because the Inauguration occurred that morning, we could only complete one cast. Hence Tuesday… Studio Dress II: The sequel, the Nutcracker returns, oh my goodness, this happens more than once?

So we had two versions of Studio Dress this year. With or without the sequel, the week following Studio Dress, which is the week before Thanksgiving Break, we run the ballet once a day. Act II comes first (since the children in Act I are still in school when we start) followed by Act I with Mother Ginger tacked onto the end of the entire process (ditto the parenthesis). And then we do it all again the next day.

The Monday classes resume after Thanksgiving Break, we go to the theater, and that weekend sees our performances. It’s getting close, y’all.

You can never have too much Nutcracker… So you’d better get your tickets.

Studio Dress, Nutcracker 2011

Studio Dress = all the dance majors run a ballet for the first time completely put together, in costume, in the largest studio in Lilly Hall. Because The Nutcracker is double-cast, we usually run the show twice. This means Studio Dress takes all Saturday.

Butler Ballet's The Nutcracker... Dec 1-4, 2011

This year, however, our new university President Jim Danko’s inaugaration was the morning of Studio Dress. We started in the afternoon, only ran one cast, and will finish with the other cast during the large rehearsal slot on Tuesday.

Studio Dress is always slightly manic, but fun. This year, thanks to the shortened time, it seemed like the rehearsal was over before I knew it! The costume shop has been extremely busy getting everything ready, and the costumes all look fantastic. I have the most enormous crown; I used about thirty pins because I was afraid it would fall off if I spotted too quickly, and it seemed secure enough.

I forgot I haven’t written about this before… I’m actually dancing as the Snow Queen now. I injured my foot earlier this semester and the faculty decided to take me out of the Grand Pas so the injury would not get worse. I understand the decision, though I’m still pretty disappointed. But… my foot feels better, and I’m excited to be in the snow scene! I think the shows will all be beautiful, and I urge you to buy your tickets to see this year’s Nutcracker performances!

The Nutcracker awakens from its dormant state

We left The Nutcracker safely laired last winter, curled up to dream of sugarplums dancing and mice gnawing for the long spring and summer. Unlike most hibernating creatures, The Nutcracker drowses through the warm weather and awakens for the cold. Being September, the Department of Dance at Butler has begun preparations for The Nutcracker.

The Butler Ballet in The Nutcracker, 2010

Each year, the Department of Dance mounts two full-length classical ballets as well as a full evening of short pieces (Midwinter Dance Festival). Past years have included, in reverse chronological order, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Cinderella, and Giselle. And The Nutcracker, always The Nutcracker. Like most ballet companies, the Butler Ballet relies on the traditional Nutcracker productions to keep afloat. This means most dancers have performed the ballet approximately way too many times.

No, I actually like The Nutcracker, though I also like to complain about The Nutcracker. It’s nostalgic, for sure, extremely familiar, a sign of the winter holidays and family and many years spent with ballet friends and colleagues. As much as I’m nervous for this year’s performance — I am one of the two Sugar Plum Fairies — I am excited to get into the full swing of rehearsals.

Will I see you at Clowes Hall this year on December 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th?