Olivia ’12 RSS feed

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.

Check us out on Facebook Follow us on Twitter! Butler's YouTube Channel Chat with a Student

Posts Tagged “Butler Ballet”

Dance Department Basics: Butler Ballet

Butler Ballet is the name of the Department of Dance’s “performance component” (as it says on the official website), the title of company putting on productions in Clowes Memorial Hall and soon the Howard L. Schrott Center. For instance, I danced in the Butler Ballet’s performance of Coppélia this past spring. It is also the name of a class the dance majors take most or all of their semesters at Butler University: I have “Butler Ballet” as a class on my transcript each semester.

As a class, Butler Ballet has a class code, credit hours, and ultimately a grade. Currently, it meets:

  • Monday 4:40 – 5:30
  • Tuesday 3:40 – 6
  • Thursday 3:40 – 6
  • Saturday 8 – 5

This is not to say that we are in Lilly Hall from 8 am to 5 pm every Saturday… only sometimes! Butler Ballet, though scheduled as a class, is more of a potential class — you may be called at any (or all) of these times throughout the semester.

If I had to generalize, I would say I had several hours on Saturday, full Tuesday and Thursdays with maybe an hour or half hour gap in the rehearsals, and Monday rehearsals some of the time. However, it really just depends on the role. Dancing Swanhilda in Coppélia, I not only had full Butler Ballet times, but also extra rehearsals on Wednesday afternoons. When Kevin Irving visited Butler to set Nacho Duato’s Por Vos Muero, we danced from 3:30 – 6 on Monday, 2:10 – 6 Tuesday/Thursday, and 3:30 -5:30 on Wednesday, plus Saturdays. However, rehearsal periods in normal circumstances are limited to the periods set forth by the Butler Ballet class schedules.

And that’s how Butler Ballet rehearsal periods work.

My homemade tutu lasted for about two years — and now is completely dead, falling apart and saggy, the tulle torn. Oh well.

Swanhilda: Battle Swan

When I learned I would dance the role of Swanhilda in the Butler Ballet’s upcoming production of Coppélia, one of the first things I did (after freaking out and then getting my hands to stop shaking) was to look up the meaning of Swanhilda’s name.

Alternate spellings are “Swanilda” or “Swanhilde,” but the cast list released to us had “Swanhilda,” so Swanhilda I am! Battle Swan.

There’s a balancing act here. I think Swanhilda can easily slip into all battle and no swan: She is sassy and wholly forthcoming, wrecking havoc in Dr. Coppélius’ toyshop, destroying his dream of a daughter-doll come to life.

I have to remember the small moments. I am shy but give in gratefully when Franz offers me a stalk of wheat; I look at Dr. Coppélius after I break the real Coppélia doll, accepting responsibility for my action, though maintaining its necessity with a look toward my confused fiancé; I bubble over with excitement upon encountering 1. dance 2. my friends 3. flowers.

Swanhilda likes to cause mischief, but I hope the impulse comes from frustration with Franz’ infatuation with Coppélia and a gleeful, prankster nature rather than from real hatred. I have no idea whether I’m succeeding in avoiding the overtly malicious. Swanhilda is a touch supercilious, perhaps, but only because she is young and in love and brimming over the edges with life.

Right, I sincerely hope this is an accurate assessment of Swanhilda’s character. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if someone wanted to contest the validity of the above, I am nonetheless having the time of my life.

Okay, now buy your tickets for Coppélia.

Set to go: Midwinter 2012

This past Tuesday marked the last day Butler’s Department of Dance hosted guest repetiteur and teacher Kevin Irving, who set Nacho Duato’s Por Vos Muero for the Butler Ballet’s Midwinter Dance Festival.

After two solid weeks of rehearsals, we bid farewell to Mr. Irving and now continue to rehearse under dance professor Derek Reid. There’s a lot to work on — naturally, since we can always improve always in perpetuum — but I look back and see that everyone involved in the piece has come a long way.

Musicality, musicality, musicality.

The intricacy of the choreography requires a most exact sense of the music and makes working on the piece a rather delightful challenge. As our department chair said in another article, “The Butler Ballet is excited and humbled to have been selected as the only American College Dance program to perform a Nacho Duato work.”

We are all honored, and I for one am very excited… if my relentless posts on the subject haven’t convinced you, check out this article from the Butler Collegian, where I rave yet more (and more incoherently, probably) about the Midwinter Dance Festival this year.

As absorbed as I’ve been in the rehearsal process for Por Vos Muero, I haven’t seen too much of the other works in the show. I caught my first glimpse of Bournonville’s Flower Festival yesterday, which was exciting. I love the airiness of Bournonville choreography, and it offers a different view of classical ballet than the usual Petipa story ballet.

I highly recommend the Midwinter Dance Festival to anyone who has not been exposed to a lot of dance. Because the pieces come from a wide variety of genres and aren’t as lengthy, it makes for a good introduction. Make sure you buy your tickets for the shows on February 17 and 18 at 8pm!

If you’re in Indianapolis for the Superbowl… you should probably stick around for another two weeks so you can see Midwinter.   : )

Can you tell which dancer is me?

One Week In: Dance Department

One week into my last fall semester, and I’ve done a fair amount of dancing, homework completing, cooking, talking… not so much blogging in there. Highlights from the dance department in the first week of classes:

  • Everyone suffers for about three days from post-vacation soreness. I don’t care how much you danced during the summer — if you took off four days to move in (the weekend, then Monday and Tuesday before classes began on Wednesday), you will be sore. And holy cannoli, was I sore! But — apart from a mildly strained hamstring that’s almost completely gone now — that soreness was short-lived, only two or three days.
  • Department meeting on Thursday. We introduced all the new students (or rather, they introduced themselves). We welcomed old and new faculty members, including a guest teacher for the semester… the former Boston Ballet member, Michael Johnson. I have had two classes from him this year, both extremely enjoyable.
  • Also as the department meeting, we met the new Dean of the JCFA, Ronald Caltabiano. I actually met and enjoyed conversation with Dean Caltabiano at a lunch during Butler Summer Institute. This should be an exciting year in Lilly Hall with all the new people!
  • Monday we conducted our annual height line meeting for Butler Ballet. Every student participating in Butler Ballet (the performing aspect of the dance department) filed into a long (very long) line according to height. The department records the line to aid with casting. Speaking of which…
  • Tuesday marked the first of Nutcracker auditions! Level 3 and 4 women performed several sequences of movement different faculty members prepared; the men had the next slot of time. Then 3 and 4 women joined forces with the men as faculty members watched a short partnering sequence performed by dozens of different pairings. Auditions for underclassmen continue later this week (as well as call backs, if needed).

And there seems to be the big news from the dance department. What can you look forward to during your first week as a dance major at Butler? You will be sore. So will everyone else, to some degree — use this as a bonding experience. You will attend various meetings with introductions, waivers, interest forms, and other non-dancing activities. You will line up by height and the truth will come out. (Or not.) You will dance and dance and meet dozens of people. Friendship, lactic acid, tutus and pointe shoes… Sounds good to me.

Madness

“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

Madness.