That’s right, this Saturday marked the ever-popular Studio Dress rehearsal, wherein the entirety of Butler Ballet gathers to run the show in order, with costumes, in the largest dance studio in Lilly Hall.
Studio Dress generally lasts much longer for The Nutcracker than for Midwinter Dance Festival or the spring story ballet because usually only The Nutcracker is double cast, necessitating two full runs. This year, we split The Nutcracker studio dress rehearsal into two days, because President Danko’s inauguration cut into the rehearsal slot. An oddity, if you recall.
Studio Dress, step-by-step:
- Up at 8:30 to clean the kitchen and eat breakfast, in that order
- English homework until 10:30
- Prep for rehearsal (make lunch, do hair, get dressed, warm up) until 11:30
- Walk to dance studios
- Warm-up at 12:15
- Gather costume, do hair again after warmup, 1 pm ish
- Run the program!
- Film classwork for audition videos…
- Chinese food outing!
- Prep for audition tomorrow
- Sleep (forthcoming)
And that’s my rather uninteresting schedule of events. Notice I did not include laundry, which means I’ll be washing a few things in the sink before the week is out… I don’t need nice tights for the shows, though, since our beautiful costumes lack leg coverings.
Come see Midwinter!
Kevin Irving -- click through for source.
The big happenings in my life revolve around the dance department for the moment. We’ve been rehearsing, rehearsing for our Midwinter Dance Festival. As I’m sure you know by now — since I keep talking about it — this year’s commissioned piece is Nacho Duato’s Por Vos Muero, being set by guest artist Kevin Irving.
So far we’ve learned a group dance and various duets. The piece is actually mostly a series of duets. I had a rehearsal on Friday morning and learned my section, third “naked” pas at the beginning of the piece. (Explanation for the epithet: We’re wearing flesh-colored leotards.)
This Saturday, I worked with Mr. Irving for two hours on the duet. I ate half a sandwich while he worked with the first two duets, then we tried to string the first section together into the group dance. The group dance came next, then one of the pas from the end of the piece — and then a costume fitting! The costumes are beautiful, and mine actually fit. This might be the first time in a very long time I haven’t required a zillion alterations.
I simply must include a plug for Mr. Irving. I love working with him. He is demanding but clear, and he goes at just about the perfect pace for my learning preferences. Also, one of my best friends is the principal dancer in one of the other Midwinter pieces as well as understudying three parts in Por Vos Muero. So as much as I feel busy… She’s like a superwoman.
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 = 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!
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?
Though Butler’s fall semester started only three weeks ago on August 25, we have already received a lovely vacation. Thank you, Labor Day. I labored a bit, appropriately, reading a book for my Financial Fictions English class called The Incorporation of American — so learning about laborers. The homework load still is not too bad early in the year.
What was true in high school becomes even more so in college: There are periods of madness and stretches of relative calm. The beginning of year is especially strangely peaceful to the dance major, because rehearsals have not begun for The Nutcracker. The underclassmen had their auditions today, and the cast list should be up soon enough. Then rehearsals begin in earnest. Add the month-in English paper deadline, and soon I’ll be busy.
Another high school-translates-to-college fact: Procrastination. It gets worse, not better, so try to stay on track your senior year! Because I have some down time, I blog more infrequently. When I get a bit busier, the blog posts will pick up (unless it’s production week, when we push aside even productive procrastination in favor of pancaking shoes and spacing ballets).
Unlike high school, a college schedule affords you the time to complete schoolwork during the day. No longer do you work for six straight hours, break, then do homework. Instead, you might have an hour or two free in the morning (unless you are a freshman or sophomore dance major — then you are busybusy). The common tale? Go to the campus Starbucks to work on that paper… and talk the entire time with friends.
This freedom is both refreshing and challenging. As a new college student, find what works for you, of course. I would recommend, however, you luxuriate in the calm moments, avoid procrastinating in the truly hectic moments, and at least try to get some schoolwork done before 9 pm.
“Madness. Sheer and utter madness,” she wrote. This week we have our dance finals, and next week is production week for The Sleeping Beauty. (Which you must attend.)
I had a pointe final yesterday, and a modern final and a pas final the day before that, and another pointe final the day before that and a pas final the day before that (we’re on Monday by now). Today is ballet technique and variations, then Saturday is Studio Dress rehearsal.
Add a bunch of papers into the mix, and my brain is addled. Add the fact that I’m now understudying my friend who is performing Aurora and tried to learn the whole ballet in the space of about three days, and my brain has well neigh given up the ghost. This post is less informative in the expository sense and more information in the representative sense as I exhibit the symptoms of the madness that seizes dance majors–especially dance majors who are also double majors–before a performance.
Butler Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty
After a brief hiatus, ballet world is back! We started rehearsals for The Sleeping Beauty yesterday. Performances will run Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1. You can buy tickets now, hint hint.
Last year, we performed Swan Lake: I loved the end, where all of us swans got to celebrate Rothbart’s death. Next year will be Coppelia: I have to say I’m not quite a fan of that ballet. However, this year’s production has me bouncing off the walls. I adore Sleeping Beauty. The music, especially for the Rose Adagio, is gorgeous.
I had only an hour of rehearsal yesterday: It was nice to sort of ease back into things. I am terribly excited to learn the choreography because I get to dance Miettes-qui-tombent (Falling Breadcrumbs)! MQT is one of the fairies who attends the baby Aurora’s christening. The whole breadcrumb deal makes slightly more sense in the context of the variation and the gift MQT bestows on the princess–generosity. Breadcrumb flicking occurs just after 40 seconds: