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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 “Clowes”

Coppélia Performances

Oh my goodness, this past weekend’s performances of Coppélia were completely overwhelming — in the best of ways. Putting the experience into words is so difficult. Of course things didn’t go perfectly. The last night, when I finally got all the fouetté turns at the end of the ballet, I almost ate it on the pull in. It’s never perfect.

But while I am not satisfied with the performances (if I were satisfied, I don’t think I would be trying to produce art), I am overjoyed and overwhelmed and (though sad it is over) still riding on an incredible high. It might not be perfect, but oh my goodness, it’s so much fun.

Seniors on the ladder!

Class on Monday was painful for sure! When the adrenaline from performing was gone, the fatigue/soreness it masked definitely remained. The life of a dancer… We are busy preparing for dance finals. Academic classes are winding down too in a flurry of projects and tests and papers. This is the last final season I will have at Butler.

Somehow everything seems less real for a few days after we leave the theater. I’m getting ready for finals, of course, but part of me is still on that stage, smiling or crying or clenching my fists or falling in love or prancing around, full of mischief. Dancing Swanhilda was a tremendous blessing, and I know I will miss it so much. The only remedy? On to the next performance!

I know I’m dancing in the Spotlight gala at Clowes and then in Carbondale for the Southern Illinois Music Festival… and then who knows what adventures wait for me in Tulsa? It’s scary and exciting, and I feel much more prepared to meet that challenge after the whirlwind that was Coppélia.

Flecktone Friday

I went to see Bela Fleck and the Flecktones right here on campus last night at Clowes Memorial Hall. I didn’t know what to expect, since I didn’t know much about the group — and since I haven’t been to a bigger concert like this before. It. was. so. cool.

I went with my boyfriend, who plays the bass, and I think he about passed out when the bassist Victor Wooten did his crazy solo — playing up and down the neck of the bass like a piano, crisscross his hands, coaxing out sounds I’ve never heard a bass make before.

I really liked that the whole band was on an equal plane. Sometimes it bugs when when the melodic instruments (including vocals) take the musical lead all the time. Why does the guitarist/lead singer/etc get to be the star? Why not the percussionist or bassist? Or pianist/harmonic player or banjo player, in the Flecktones’ case. Each band member had a chance to solo, and even within the tunes they definitely took turns. For someone not great at differentiating sounds, this was wonderful because it helped me really listen to each individual part.

Overall, great show, great experience, great night. I highly recommend seeing them if you have a chance. Butler students often get discounted tickets for shows at Clowes, too, so while you are a student here, you should seize the chance to see top-tier artists without killing your budget!

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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!

Haha, jk; also, Luna Negra

Whoops, I thought the Tech Fast was last Friday — hence the post. Then I discovered it was this coming week, Nov 10-11, with supper/discussion on the 11th. Then I discovered I had oodles of things I’d forgotten to do, and this blog fell by the wayside.

Last Thursday-Friday, instead of being filled with Tech Fast merriment, was filled with Luna Negra festivities. Luna Negra is a contemporary dance company based in Chicago whose mission is to provide a platform for Latino choreographers. The company has three branches: Luna Negra to produce mainstream, large-audience works; Luna Nueva to present more avant-guard works; and Luna Ninos to show works specially created for children.

On Thursday, the artistic director of the company, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, gave a master class to the senior and Level 4 dance majors at Butler University. He showed us the class the company takes twice a week, his own creation of contemporary movement vocabulary coupled with music ranging from Beyoncé to what sounded like a German dance party. It was great fun.

Thursday evening, I attended a discussion with Mr. Sansano and the dancers of Luna Negra facilitated by Dance Kaleidoscope’s artistic director, David Hochoy. Friday night was the performance itself, with a pre-performance talk with Mr. Sansano and member of the Turtle Island Quartet (which performed the music to the second piece live, onstage) Mark Summer. The facilitators of this talk were the Department of Dance’s Derek Reid and the School of Music’s Richard Auldon Clark.

The show itself was wonderfully danced, with the choreography of the first and third pieces and the music of the second piece being especially well-received. If you have the chance, you should definitely try to see Luna Negra and/or the Turtle Island Quartet live!

Tech Fast Again

I have loads of exciting things to tell you about… but the BCC’s apparently annual technology fast starts this evening and runs through Friday evening. I will turn off my phone and my computer (homework is excepted) and see what happens without the texting and constant communication college students so love.

The fast includes communication and entertainment technology. “Technology” is a pretty broad word, but I’m counting electronic entertainment/communication devices. Books are fine; iPods not…

You can read about last year’s Tech Fast here and here.

You can buy tickets for the Luna Negra concert at Clowes Memorial Hall this Friday, Nov 4 at 8 pm here.

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Must dash!

EDIT: Haha, just kidding, Tech Fast is Nov 10-11… My bad, my bad.

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?

The Joffrey in Indy

Joffrey Ballet Chicago performed to a refreshingly full house at Clowes Memorial Hall this past Saturday night. The review here does not quite do the show justice. Dance majors taking Dance History II had to write a review of the performance, and I feel like the conversations we had about the pieces on the program more closely examined the program than the review I found online.

Ashley Wheater

Before the performance, however, the artistic director gave a master class on Friday afternoon. Since I am in the Level 4 ballet class this semester, I was lucky enough to take class from Mr. Ashley Wheater. His class was challenging but fun. I was particularly taken with his porte de bras–all very logical, without requiring a conscious effort to remember odd pathways.

He stressed stability stemming from the supporting leg’s rotation. We believed him: His turnout and technique showed though he demonstrated in street clothes and tennis shoes. Graceful, articulate, and clever, Mr. Wheater left a good impression.

The company presented the romantic Jerome Robbins ballet In the Night, Balanchine’s Tarentella, Gerald Arpino’s Round of Angels, and Edwaard Liang’s Age of Innocence. We dancers disagreed (some of us bitterly) over several aspects of the last piece. Art wars. As long as people still get upset over differing viewpoints of choreography, I feel like the arts are in good shape. You can see an exceprt from Liang’s piece below:

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Did you see the show? Did you like the last piece? Maybe if I talk to some of my friends, they would allow me to quote part of their reviews. I’d like to lay out the different viewpoints side by side.

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 Dance Festival program

Come to Midwinter Dance Festival! The Butler Ballet is performing this Friday and Saturday, Feb 25 and 26 at 8 pm at Clowes Memorial Hall. Buy tickets here or at the box office up to two hours before the show starts.

What will you see?

1. La Bayadère, staged by professor Marek Cholewa. My roommate from last year is the soloist–very neat! Also very much a classical ballet piece–it shows the importance of corps work to great effect.

2. Church Song, choreographed by professor Susan McGuire. When I saw this the first few times, I did not know what it was about; having heard it was intended to be a tribute to the victims of the tsunami in Indonesia, I watched it again with a more focused eye. Tears, I tell you.

The soloists all offer something slightly different in this modern piece. Professor McGuire did a wonderful job displaying the dancers’ best qualities, and the whole piece reads–to me, at least–as being very sincere. Brilliant.

3. 1st of 3 in 17, choreographed by professor Cynthia Pratt and revived for this performance. Set to classical Mozart, the dancers in bare feet and quirky red costumes (see picture above) begin by shaking their hips. The piece is lighthearted, offering a great sense of humor without sacrificing any integrity.

4. Karelia Suite, choreographed by professor Stephan Laurent and revived. Originally choreographed about Finland’s gaining independence from Russia (I THINK. I’m not entirely certain on this one.), the dance has been newly dedicated to the protestors in Egypt, making this dance both traditional and timely.

5. Hong, or Swan Goose, choreographed by professor Tong Wang. This piece is about birds, so I am bound to love it. The narrative that runs through it is quite sad; the music, costumes, and choreography make the piece stunningly beautiful.

6. Walpurgisnacht, staged by Deborah Wingert, a former NYCB soloist. I’m rather partial to Balanchine, and I am dancing in the piece, so my perception will naturally be skewed… but I very much enjoy it. Like I said, you should come.

Clowes. Feb 25 and 26. 8 pm. Be there.