Dance Program Alumni
After graduating from Butler University's Dance Department I was a Trainee for two years with American Repertory Ballet. Many of my fellow Trainees were just out of high school and chose to join a trainee program rather than go to college for dance. I quickly found that my technical ability and artistic maturity were much further along than that of my colleagues. I had a wealth of knowledge and experience under my belt that propelled me forward into a company position and the start of my professional career. All of these qualities I must attribute to my four years with the Dance Department of the Jordan College of Arts and the individualized attention provided to each dancer's technical and artistic development.
The technical training at Butler is of the highest quality due to the exceptional professional careers and vast teaching experience of the professors. Each dancer receives personalized attention and feedback from each professor. This provides them with the physical tools and mental focus to achieve their career goals. The variety of technique classes offered prepares dancers for the dynamic performing experiences that Butler provides, which models the professional dance world.
Due to the ample amount of performing opportunities in Butler's program, I entered the Trainee Program with a substantially larger amount of performing experience then my colleagues. In four years the students take part in four different full-length classical ballets and this does not include The Nutcracker which Butler Ballet presents every year. Having this classical repertory on my resume has already proven to be worthwhile. The most exceptional performing experience I had during my time at Butler was during the annual Mid-Winter Dance Festival performance. Each year, for the Mid-Winter Dance Festival series, the department commissions a licensed piece of choreography to be set. During my four years at Butler, these included Paul Taylor's Cloven Kingdom, Balanchine's Serenade and Walpurgisnacht and Antony Tudor's Dark Elegies. I was cast as a soloist in Dark Elegies in my junior year and it has so far been the most rewarding experience of my life. The experience taught me how to perform a piece honestly and unaffectedly by connecting the choreography, music and storyline through genuine emotion. Dark Elegies almost single handedly developed my artistic sensibility.
As wonderful as the dancing is however, it is the academic offerings that elevate the Butler program to one of the top college ballet programs in the country. They help to set the foundation, which informs the students' technical and artistic growth. A few of the classes that were most beneficial to me include Dance History, Masterworks of Dance, Music for Dance, as well as Classical and Modern Dance Pedagogy. These classes, along with many others, mold the student into a well-rounded asset for any professional company, no matter in which capacity they serve.
The Butler University experience affords young dancers the opportunity to grow and mature in a nurturing yet professional environment. Their graduates have a deeper understanding and appreciation of their craft that propels them into professional careers across the dance spectrum. Looking back, I could not have chosen a better path towards achieving my professional goals, and I will always remain grateful to the Butler Community and in particular, the Dance Department for giving me the knowledge and skills I needed to achieve my dreams.
During my years at Butler University, I was introduced to a wide variety of dance styles and techniques from a group of professors who greatly broadened my knowledge of the dance world. The variety of dance professors in the Butler community brought inspiration and motivations to me. I achieved a high level of motivation and drive for my art form from the passion and energy demonstrated by each member of the department. The Department of Dance creates a syllabus for its students which allow them to come in contact with as many aspects of dance as possible. Along with technical classes such as ballet, pointe, pas de deux, jazz and modern, each student's attention is also guided to the other aspects of our art form. Providing classes such as music for dance, teaching analysis, masterworks and dance history, my understanding of the foundations of what it takes to be a part of the dance world broadened as my career constantly changes and prospers. While becoming stronger, more well-rounded dancers, our opportunity to perform in productions throughout the school year is a major asset. Clowes Memorial Hall is a beautiful theatre in which we can showcase our talent and dedication through The Nutcracker, Midwinter showcase and a classical ballet performed in the spring.
Upon graduating from Butler, I felt prepared and ready for what the real world of dance had in store for me. I am grateful to have learned so many styles of dance, as it prepared me for the many variations of works performed with ballet companies in the future. Guest choreographers coming in to set works of their own style and technique can be very daunting however, having had the assortment of styles provided here I felt more open and uninhibited to participate in something completely unfamiliar to my body. I am currently a company dancer with Ballet Arkansas for my second year and am a ballet teacher for two dance schools in Little Rock. I have my experiences here at Butler University to thank for my success and continued love and passion for my art form.
Amanda is now a member of Ballet Arkansas.
I graduated from Butler University in May of 2010 with no real job lined up. As many dancers and artists do, I moved to New York City with nothing but a duffel bag and a list of friends with couches. It's hard to imagine this experience being as pleasant as it was without my training at Butler University. I now dance as a full time company member of RIOULT Dance New York, performing in an annual season at The Joyce Theater and touring nationally and internationally.
There really is no experience that can prepare you for the professional dance world. What I do know is that Butler gave me opportunities to learn and make decisions that I find relevant to my everyday life today. From Butler Chamber Dance to Sigma Rho Delta, Butler Ballet gave me plenty of choices to be as involved or uninvolved as I wanted to be. The best lesson that I learned from Butler is that you have to make your own decisions. It's your life and you can do what you want as long as you work hard and keep an open mind.
Holt is now a member of the Rioult Dance New York.
I decided to attend Butler University because I knew the dance program emphasized solid, classical ballet training. However, students in the Department of Dance study more than classical ballet. I would not have the position I currently hold in the field if it weren't for my study of modern dance, jazz, character dance, contemporary partnering, and improvisation. In a very concrete way, being able to move my torso and manipulate my weight in a manner outside the classical ballet idiom set me apart from other student dancers and helped me advance in my career.
Students are also afforded frequent performing opportunities. I have so many memories of dancing at Butler I hold dear: performing as Swanhilda in Coppélia, learning Nacho Duato's Por Vos Muero, working with fellow student choreographers, even improvising with faculty in rehearsals to create new movement… These opportunities to perform definitely enhanced my growth and confidence as an artist.
At Butler, I was surprised both by how much I learned and by the variety of my coursework. Examining the field of dance from many diverse perspectives has, perhaps more than any other thing, helped me grow from a student into a professional dancer. The faculty in the Department of Dance shared a rich and varied expertise of dance history, music history and theory, basic piano, Laban Movement Analysis, and costuming. A deeper knowledge of my field continues to influence the way I perceive dance. I am so grateful to have a greater understanding of the grand tradition in which I am fortunate enough to have found a place.
Olivia graduated in 2012 and joined the Tulsa Ballet upon graduation.