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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 “senior”

Butler Best Memories: Senior Year

This brings us to senior year, and to the end of my time at Butler. Senior year wasn’t always easy, but I finally felt like I could put all the pieces together. I felt more aware of what I did not know and what I had learned; I started to look outwards, toward life outside of a structured school environment. Senior year was both incredibly busy and extremely reflective. In short, I became a sap. Good memories and great friends will do that to you.

Well, before senior year technically started, I stayed in Indy for nine weeks of Butler Summer Institute, researching Anglo-Celtic literature. This is probably the most ambitious/difficult thing I’ve attempted in academics — and while I didn’t wholly succeed, I learned so much from the process. I’m extremely grateful to my mentor, the English Department, and the BSI program for the opportunity. I reference my experience constantly in conversations. If you have the scholarly inspiration and the time, I would highly recommend applying to participate in BSI.

So began my last year at Butler with the first of many lasts — my final Block Party. I worked at the Butler Catholic Community table, greeting friends as they passed by, thinking about the year to come. (Also, whether it was going to rain or not. If I remember correctly, it did, and we had to seek shelter in the student union.)

Sigma Rho Delta (as well as many non-Sigma Rho dance majors) went to the Indianapolis Gala performance again in the fall. I had mixed opinions about the bill, and being able to discuss artistic choices (read: argue about them) with other dancers was lovely. It’s like the old stereotype of college you find in slightly dated books: people sitting in a tiny room, talking late into the night about philosophy and artistic ethics and what causes they plan to march for over the summer. Okay, it didn’t go quite like that, but when I’m seventy, I bet I’ll remember it through these sepia lens of nostalgia!

Then came the last Freshman Retreat with the BCC. Here the leadership team shows its true colors. I began to realize how important I found the BCC about halfway through my four years at Butler, and if the last three months are any indication, it will continue to grow in importance as I look back at my time in Indy. (Same with character classes, dance history, piano classes, and modern classes, actually — and I’m sure many others will appear as the years wear on).

Halloween came, and I finally got it together enough to make a real costume. So far, I’d considered my most successful costume to be the Boy Scout uniform borrowed from my dad my sophomore year. However, I didn’t actually make it, so it probably shouldn’t count as much as my bird costume this year. I think I had as much fun making it as I did wearing it. Ahoy, maties! (Also, I never would have finished it in time if my boyfriend had not helped — thank you!)

In the spring… the Super Bowl came to Indianapolis. It was madness, kind of like March madness, except colder.

And I continued the fine tradition of knitting during the Super Bowl and finally FINALLY finished my lace circle which is large and beautiful and the most finicky thing I’ve ever knit. Cue awkward picture — notice the eyes, blurred from weaving in the million ends of lace-weight wool.

All January to March, I flew and drove and scuttled every which way to auditions. It was exhausting, but having gone through it once makes it not nearly as intimidating. (Ish.) It was a beautiful spring day in Tulsa went I traveled to audition for Tulsa Ballet II, and the weather matched my mood and relief when I got a contract with their second company. Advice for auditioning: Be respectful but be confident. You are a human being and deserve to be treated with dignity. Treat your fellow dancers with the same respect and kindness you would like to receive.

Our last performance with Butler Ballet was bittersweet indeed — as particularly emotional friends were quick to make known. You can see the traces of tears in our smiles. My senior year of dancing was full of ups and downs: injuring my foot during Nutcracker rehearsals in October, rehearsing for Por Vos Muero which is much harder than it seems at first, learning Swanhilda in Coppélia... All these opportunities taught me more than I realized at the time. Even just in the first two weeks at Tulsa, I’ve thought about that last year of dancing at Butler and made little choices throughout my days based on what I learned. I’M SO SAPPY, I’m sorry. But it’s true.

Also, my experience with Coppélia was so much fun, I still find it a bit surreal. There were about four days of actual freaking out in the two months of rehearsals, but the rest… I was oddly calm. I think it’s because I was allowed to act outraged or mischievous or in love or uncertain. Also, I gained a heck of a lot more stamina.

Thus we skipped our way through the four years. I met beautiful people, danced in amazing pieces, learned the difference between major and minor scales. I realized I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was, which probably made me a bit wiser. I gained immeasurable confidence, and though I still lack some necessary restraint, I think I’ve learned the trick of being happy most situations. Like I said in the beginning of this sappy post, senior year was the year of putting together the pieces. Maybe that is the liberal arts are supposed to do.

I hope you gather from this that going to college as a dance major was absolutely worth it in my opinion. I think it was the right choice for me, and I’m so happy I ended up at Butler for the experience.

The Final Finals Week

I survived my last finals week of my undergraduate career! It wasn’t too bad, though I was pretty busy at the beginning of the week. The beginning of the week also marked my final Flip the Script!

Flip the Script is an event that SGA and the CPA (I think… please let me know if that’s wrong) put on during finals week. Basically, the teachers/faculty serve breakfast from 9-10 pm to the students in the Atherton cafeteria. There are usually raffles too, and this year they raffled off an iPad which my roommate really wanted to win. (But did not.) There were pancakes, hash browns, eggs, bacon, and pastries.

Battling my way through the crowds of people to get to the water cups really brings you back. I do not miss my cafeteria days — I’m so much happier not on a meal plan — but it was neat to relive the madness for a last time before graduating.

Also, the eggs were pretty good.

This year, both my English classes finished up before finals week proper began, so I wasn’t as stressed. I did study and take the huge comprehensive final for the Dance Department, plus I had French exams (written and oral), a Teaching Analysis of Classical Technique project and final, and a Theory and Philosophy of Dance final. By Wednesday afternoon, my load was much lighter. By Saturday afternoon, I was done!

I finished college!

Celebrating after our ballet finals!

Now, onto my French independent study

Senior Ballet Final

I mentioned before that the senior ladies and men each do something silly at their last ballet final. I was busy helping organize ours all last week, hence the silence on the blog front. All our hard work paid off — it was EPIC.

To review: The seniors usually play some sort of prank during their senior final. Senior men are in a men’s technique class with all the men; most of the senior ladies are in the Level 4 class with a certain percentage of non-seniors. Anyway, this means there are two different senior final performances/pranks/silly events.

Through the years: My freshman year, I think the graduating seniors dressed up as animals for their senior final. My sophomore year (the year of the Olympics), the senior class assigned each professor as country and had a “Team Cholewa” or “Team Reid.” Last year, the seniors convinced some of the basketball players to come in with tutus, and they did a few basketball-related things, dribbled the balls, drew a game plan on the chalkboard, etc…

Through the years again: After much deliberation, we decided to do a “through the years” skit, chronicling events from our four years in Butler’s Dance Department! By chance, the curtains happened to be up in Studio 310, since Butler Chamber Dance was performing in the Studio Theater later that night. We unfurled one of the curtains to make a backstage area; we met for three consecutive nights to brainstorm, write the script, and practice. We even made t-shirts with nicknames on them so we would all match!

The skit went over really well, I think. The faculty (plus a good number of other dance majors) came to watch. We were a little nervous that people would not be able to follow, or that it wouldn’t be funny, but as soon as one girl walked out, dressed like one of our old teachers, Tong Wang, everyone was on the same page.

The events we chronicled:

  • Our first placement class, taught by Tong Wang
  • Our first Nutcracker with the Butler Ballet — including the tour to Marion and the campus Norovirus plague
  • The fact that we lost 12 members from our freshman class — but gained one more from a transfer! (some of the former dance majors were kind enough to return to take part in this beginning of the skit!) (this was also Hunger Games – themed)
  • An “injury-runway,” notably including a reenactment of a girl hitting a door whilst in a wheely chair and another getting her jaw stuck open.
  • Our sophomore year Laban Movement Choir
  • Our summer discovery of a video of two of the faculty participating in a public service announcement — complete with a rap which I practiced for a very long time.
  • Our junior year Glee Flashmob in downtown Indianapolis
  • The Ice-pocalypse
  • Our senior year’s new teacher’s entrance. He kindly agreed to participate and really hammed it up to music from Grease.
  • Audition season
  • And a sappy speech at the end

It was great fun! If you ever have a chance to do a “looking back over the years” skit, it’s a lot of work but well worth the effort. I will miss everyone in my ballet class dearly!

We made senior T-shirts!

Lazy Sunday

I went to bed early on Saturday night with every intention of waking up at a decent hour and doing some homework before church. Yeah… that did not happen. Saturday I had rehearsal from 8:30 am to 5 pm with only half an hour break to eat lunch, etc. We ended about half an hour early, actually, but I was still pretty tired after a day of mega dancing. So I slept in to a ridiculous hour this morning and rewarded myself with banana pancakes.

Ugh, they were so delicious! Senior semester is odd in that I have lots of do — and I either have super amounts of motivation (Coppélia rehearsals/prep) or none at all (pretty much all other academic homework). It’s a good thing I’ll be dancing next year, since that’s what’s really holding my interest.

And I just remembered I still have to finish one more French class before I can graduate — I’m walking in the May commencement, but I have to finish three more credit hours of my foreign language requirement for my second major in English Literature. “Happy graduation, everyone! Okay, now I’ll go write my French paper.” Gah, it never ends!

I still believe in the liberal arts, I promise. But I also believe in sleep. Right now, the two aren’t playing nicely.

Senior Productions

Senior Productions

I saw the Senior Production showcase the Thursday before spring break began. Those senior dance majors who go on to take a third semester of choreography (I took only Choreography I and II) can opt into the Senior Production showcase in the spring.

The show is run much like Student Choreography Showcase in the fall — there are two nights of shows in the studio-theater in Lilly Hall, all run by, choreographed by, and performed by students of Butler’s Department of Dance (except Master Electrician Cathy Sipe, who is stage manager). This year, five senior dance majors participated, each choreographing, rehearsing, and producing one large-group and one small-group piece.

Lilly Hall

I thoroughly enjoyed the show: One of my friend’s pieces was titled R.E.M. and showcased wispy port de bras motifs that I adored. The following piece, by the same choreographer, sent the dream scuttling for cover as two girls tormented a third in what seemed more like a nightmare. Both were very, very well done.

(Also, a girl in another piece took sick at the last minute, and the male choreographer stepped into her place. Instead of two men partnering a girl en pointe, there were two men partnering a third. I think it turned out really well — it made for a more dynamic commentary on gender roles, for sure. Kudos to everyone in that piece for pulling off a great performance.)

While this show doesn’t present as wide a variety of choreographers as the Student Showcase, the pieces are generally more polished, since the choreographers are coming from the rather rigorous Choreography III class. With this plus the Student Choreography showing in the fall, there are plenty of opportunities for budding choreographers to display their creations — and lots of demand for dancers who want to work on projects outside Butler Ballet or Butler Chamber Dance.

Fun Fact: I learned on Thursday that 2012 is the 62nd Senior Production — that’s every year since 1950, even longer than the oldest Butler Ballet tradition of Midwinter Dance Festival!

Under the mountain

I am writing from under a veritable mountain of homework (unlike Steph, who actually climbed a mountain!). Reasons for mountain formation:

1. The Nutcracker: Our last show was this past Sunday, and we took lots of senior pictures, and I did not get as emotional as I thought I would, but I cried after our modern final today because the modern teacher is going on sabbatical. I feel good about the performances I gave — I’m never quite satisfied, since there always seem to be areas to improve — but the faculty had some good things to say. I felt calmer and more in control on stage this run than ever before… and I had a lot of fun as well. But I’m horribly behind on homework now.

2. Finals week: I’m also under a mountain of work because academic finals are next week. I have two English classes and two dance academics… I’m most concerned about the big English paper I have due this coming Monday, where I’ll be talking about Edenic metaphors in Frank Norris’ The Pit. Key phrase: “I’ll be.” As in, “I have not yet.” As in, my paper is thus far just a bullet-pointed version of my project proposal.

Oh dear.

One of my doodles from freshman year... It still speaks to me.

Dance finals are this week, too, and I’ve finished half of my pointe final and my modern final. We did contemporary pas and classical partnering before The Nutcracker, so I just have one more pointe class and my ballet technique final to go! More about dance finals later, I suppose.

The Last First Day

My parents always took the first-day-of-school picture. I did not like this very much; thus I’m pouting or forcing a smile in most of these photos. Now I’m at the end of the road — a senior in college. Graduate school, if it is indeed in my future, should not come for yeras. This is my last first day of school.

Looking at my schedule yesterday, I realized my last first day will actually be rather difficult for someone a bit out of shape. My classes:

  • Strength and Conditioning (my last general requirement to be fulfilled — a gym class)
  • Jazz class
  • Shakespeare (the class with the largest textbook I’ve ever purchased for college — the complete annotated works)
  • Ballet technique
  • Modern class
  • Pas de Deux (or partnering)

This last day seems like it will be too busy for much nostalgia. Good luck to all new students entering college, all high school seniors beginning their last year, and all college seniors faced with the prospect of Real Life. See you on the flip side!

2057 pages of Elizabethan goodness

 

Summers are for…

Summers are for

waking up at 8 o’clock… then falling back asleep for another hour and a half.

walking to the library to read books containing knitting and magic tricks and French travel writing instead of nationalism and postmodernism and hybridity.

eating gelato at Deluca’s in Richmond.

wandering Maymont Park on a perfectly warm and light, yet cloudy (so neither squint-making sunny and nor uncomfortably hot) day.

viewing the Virginia Museum of Fine Art‘s Picasso exhibit until 10 o’clock at night. (Also, switching heels for flat shoes halfway through the African period.)

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trading the morning mug of black tea for one of white, since I don’t need the caffeine.

playing with my pet rabbits for hours on end.

realizing I’m now a senior in college.

Yeah. It’s happening. New college students, they tell you your years will pass by quickly. Believe the rumors.