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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 “schedule”

The VCU Problem

So Butler is playing Virginia Commonwealth University this Friday… The problem? Both my parents attended VCU. I live in Richmond. Let’s say my family’s a little conflicted right now. I, however, have no qualms whatsoever about cheering only, solely, and wholeheartedly for the bulldogs.

Example of Butler school spirit, advising appointment, 9 am:

Me: I can take a summer class to finish off my English major.

Advisor: Where are you taking it?

Me: VCU has a three week session between the end of BSI and the beginning of Butler’s fall semester. [Note: Actually, this fell through, but I should be doing other interesting things to finish off my major instead.]

Advisor: Oh, you really want to take classes there? VCU? We’re playing them.

[pause]

Me (thinking to self): I wonder if the credits would transfer if we lost…. I wonder if VCU will accept me after we win.

Oh, conflict. But me, I’m bulldogs all the way! GO BU!

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...

I like listing out my days.

[An aside: I had the hardest time entering the release date for this post, since I wrote it a bit ahead of when it was published. The system kept bouncing me around, doing really odd things. I finally realized that was because there is no February 29th.]

I think I like listing out my days. It makes me feel productive. The Midwinter schedule continues, with a bit into this Assessment Week.

My friend in last year's Midwinter program: Click for photo credit

Saturday:

  • Sleep.
  • Don’t do nearly as much homework as I intended.
  • Have lunch at Taste with my boyfriend.
  • Get groceries.
  • Get completely caught in the traffic from the end Butler’s last home game. (Which I missed. Sorry, guys. I heard you were spectacular.) Go to ResCo to hang out instead, since getting into the Apartment Village would be impossible due to traffic, pedestrians, and police officers forbidding any left turns.
  • Finally make it back to the apartment. Pack my dinner. Pack my bag. Go to Clowes for warm up.
  • Performance at 8 pm!! I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
  • Strike. Take down the floor and drops and lights in Clowes until 11 pm.
  • Celebrate with other dancers. (There might have been a milkshake involved.)

Sunday:

  • Sleep.
  • Gather things for an audition.
  • Have my roommate take a headshot, since apparently I do not have one. Thank you, roommate.
  • Jam my printer. Go to audition without headshot.
  • Take class.
  • Return to campus and go straight to Lilly Hall. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.
  • Make decorations for faculty appreciation week instead!
  • Return to apartment. Have odd dinner of pasta with butternut squash.
  • Go to church.
  • Return to apartment. Finish ice cream with friend.
  • Homework.
  • Sleep.

Assessment Week and Faculty Appreciation Week follow! I will try to keep you up to date–last week I got a little behind in the whole blogging process.

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

Balanchine all week long

I do love me a Balanchine ballet. I performed in Serenade with the Richmond Ballet trainee program when I was a senior in high school. When I was a college freshman, the upperclassmen performed it at Butler. I was so jealous, since dancing in Serenade had been one of the defining moments of my performing life.

Now I am rehearsing Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht, a slightly more obscure ballet requiring twenty-five dancers (twenty-four of them women). Last week was the first week of classes, and it was definitely a tornado-on-the-rampage sort of week. Learning choreography requires (for me) a particular sort of mental concentration and physical exertion different from rehearsal of previously learnt material.

I described my first day back for the spring semester in the last few posts. Wednesday was day number two, and it saw another few hours of rehearsal after classes. I have a night class which meets Wednesdays on the literature of the American Renaissance (EN 341). Reading, reading, reading. We’ll tackle Moby Dick in three class periods.

On Thursday, there was the Intro to the Discipline of English class again (I rotated groups in true TA-style) and Romanticism (I still have neutral feelings on the class). Then ballet, then pointe, then… no rehearsal. Ms. Wingert worked with some of the other groups. I did homework like a fiend.

Friday was much the same: Dance history, our first choreography II class, ballet, and rehearsal until five o’clock. We finished learning Walpurgisnacht. The final section Ms. Wingert called “Fire in the Beauty Parlor” since we run around with our hair down. It’s great fun. I really enjoy moving in that particularly expansive, Balanchine way.

Saturday was more rehearsal; Sunday was more rehearsal. We don’t normally rehearse on Sundays, but I understand that we had to make the best use of our time with Ms. Wingert before she flew back to New York. I loved working with her, and I appreciate the opportunity to perform Balanchine choreography, since companies must apply to the Trust to license each ballet. But boy, are my toes sore today!

I hope this also explains the rather pathetic lack of photos in my blog. I have not had time to take new ones, so I’ve been using old ones I saved for this sort of situation… except sometimes they don’t quite match. Like today’s:

This is the HRC, the Health and Recreation Complex. I used the hot tub and pool to great advantage this past week. However, the lawn is currently covered in snow, not sitting all nice and green like it was when I took this picture.

Dancing in the springtime

The springtime? I am dancing in the new spring semester, since it’s snowing outside and the sidewalk salter/snow plow is performing complicated maneuvers outside my bedroom window. Figure eights. Loop-di-loops. Higgs boson outlines.

XKCD comic by Randall Munroe

Erm, my nerd moment is over. Back to the first day of classes.

After a forty-five minutes break for lunch, during which I located a microwave and reheated some curried tofu and chickpeas with spinach over rice, I had ballet. However, I did not get the memo that I had been switched into a different class. Not only was my registration wrong, but I was informed while I collected the million hairpins I had dropped in the middle of the hallway.

Despite the embarrassing nature of the information transfer, this was good news. Immediately afterward, I was intercepted by another professor: My pas de deux registration was not going through because I had to add the class by paperwork because I was giong over the credit limit. Whew.

When I finally made it upstairs to the ballet studio, we greeted a guest from the Balanchine Trust who has come to set a commissioned piece on the Dance Department students for our Midwinter Dance Festival concert.

Annnnd, I promise I will explain more, but I really need breakfast. I should also probably try to finish the reading that’s due in two hours. Thus far I have completed one book of poetry, a novella, thirteen poems, and one article. I have one article left. So much reading! I have never taken three English classes before, and I fear this is reflected in my rushed blog posts. Oh well.

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.

Let’s get crackin’

The Nutcracker has descended! Everyone in Butler’s dance department is in the full flush of performance preparations. I’m waiting for our warm-up class before our first dress rehearsal now, having just finished a run-through in costume in Clowes Memorial Hall. Here’s a brief snapshot of the first half of production week:

Clowes Memorial Hall

Monday. In order of appearance: Help load-in at Clowes (hanging drops, hanging lights, putting down the floor), break, physics class, load-in, lunch, load-in, warm-up class, dinner, spacing rehearsal, finish dinner, do homework.

Tuesday. Errands around campus in the morning (dropping off documents and returning library books and that sort of thing), homework party with a friend, ballet class, get food, run-through in costume, eat food, warm-up class, dress rehearsal. Homework?

Wednesday. Morning off = homework. Physics, warm-up, tech rehearsal in costume, dinner, warm-up, dress rehearsal. Homework.

This is what I am supposed to be doing as far as I know. Production week is always fairly hectic, and schedules change. The trick to a successful production week? Be ready early, carry extra food, and go with the flow.

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)