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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 “Studio Dress”

Butler is Breaking

Why is Butler University kind of like the Wicked Witch of the West? Well, it completely fell apart when rained last Saturday. There was a pretty big lightning storm Saturday morning/afternoon, so they tell me.

I only knew it was storming vaguely, since we were in the midst of Studio Dress for Coppélia. There is a part toward the end of Act I when Dr. Coppélius chases the drunk village boys around with his cane. Just as he swung at the first lout came a flash of lightning — CRACK! Perfect timing. I heard the rain before we started Act II as well, but I was rather tunnel-visioned for the entire ballet, so I didn’t realize what a storm we were having.

Then my partner and I stayed afterwards to work out some costuming/wedding pas kinks while the building slowly emptied. When I finally took all my costumes back down to the basement, I was surprised to find the hallways dark (basement = no windows), the third of the lights that were on flickering menacingly. Someone was playing the piano in one of the dance studios, an odd waltz, so the atmosphere was particularly eerie. I felt like I was in Phantom of the Opera or something. Needless to say, I was also very glad when the student who plays Franz came down the stairs a few seconds later. Company is always good when you’re walking into what could very easily be an episode of Doctor Who.

You don't want to run into these in a half-lit basement...

Outside was drizzly, but bright. My cell phone finally picked up enough of a signal to dump on me about three BU alerts about the storm. Jordan Hall was on fire, apparently, due to a lightning strike? My boyfriend later told me he and his labmates didn’t realize the fire alarms were going off for a while. Much of campus lost power, the cable was out for a while in AV and the internet even longer. The phones went out, and we got another alert telling us BU police officers were stationed at the front desks of the residence halls if they should be needed.

My goodness. Butler doesn’t fare too well in the stormy weather. It’s meeelting…

Production Week!

Studio Dress was this Saturday –the first time we’ve run Coppélia in order, in costumes. I was anxious for the event, since I had been rehearsing the hardest part — Act III, with the wedding pas — at the beginning of the rehearsal periods, then following with Act I then Act II in descending order of stress. Yesterday we went straight through, with everyone in place, with costumes.

Before we started, I just listened to the overture with my eyes closed, soaking the fact that, yes, this is happening. I know I was still a little nervous because I was rushing the music in the beginning, but overall? Actual fun. I realize this is all I’ve been talking about for the last few weeks, but this is such a revelation for me, the nervous ninny.

There were a few bumps along the way… I messed up the sequence of some of the choreography in Act II; I couldn’t get the Scottish hat to stay on before the Scottish variation; some of the wedding pas was bumpy — probably because this was literally the first time either of us had done it in costume, and my tutu had more friction than usual and his sleeves kept getting in my face. But these are kinds of things that make great stories, n’est-ce pas?

Production Week starts tomorrow. Tech rehearsals, spacing, orchestra rehearsals, dress rehearsals, ACH the real performances!! I’m going to be so sad when it’s all over, but for now I’m totally, completely enjoying the ride.

Giuseppina Bozzacchi as the first Swanhilde in 1870.

Almost Into Production Week

Tomorrow is Studio Dress for Coppélia! I’ve written numerous posts on Studio Dress — you can read them if you want. Also, I wouldn’t really argue if you wanted to buy tickets for Coppélia.

I’m so excited. I spent a good part of this semester telling myself not to be nervous, reminding myself to enjoy my final months at Butler. The spring of my sophomore year, I was one of the Little Swans in the Butler Ballet’s Swan Lake. I was nervous all the time. I couldn’t eat without feeling sick to my stomach, and I had nightmares that one of the dance professors locked me in the smallest ballet studio in the basement and wouldn’t let me out because he wanted me to practice.

Even last year I was nervous for Sleeping Beauty far in advance of the actual shows because I found out I was the last minute understudy for Aurora and learned the whole ballet in about three days. I had a dream that I had to go in because my friend who actually dancing the role decided she didn’t want to do and it and was laughing at me from the wings while I tried to do the grand pas, only I decided to change the choreography at the last minute and didn’t tell my partner… This dream = a nightmare.

This year, I’ve thrown myself in the fun of the role. As I’ve said before, Swanhilda is a real girl, not some remote princess or swan maiden, which makes her more approachable. When I leave the stage angry, I play over dialogue in my head so if I have to enter slightly more cheerful, I know how I got there; if I am to be upset, I cover my face in my hands sometimes so the other dancers don’t see what weird faces I’m sure I’m making. Keeping track of the emotional story gives the dancing purpose and makes it fun.

I did have one dream where the dance faculty told everyone that due to copyright issues, we would be performing Dracula instead of Coppélia, and I had three weeks to learn everything. The subconscious is an amazing thing…

Time for another Studio Dress

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…
  • Church!
  • 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!

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!

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.