Current Student Guidelines & Department Policies

The Department of Dance has a long and proud history of developing dancers and we are pleased that you have chosen to become part of the legacy. We are here to help you realize your goals and dreams. Doing so involves creating a partnership between you and the Dance faculty, staff, students and alumni. The faculty and staff will support your academic and artistic development. Academic achievement and artistic progress takes full commitment from us and from you.

It is the expectation of the faculty that you share responsibility for your development through class participation, timely completion of assignments, artistic contribution to the creative process and assigned roles for production along with other requirements as stated in course syllabi. Participation in additional opportunities when offered by the department will greatly expand your artistic growth.

The dance field is highly competitive. In order to be successful, you need to nurture and exploit your unique talents, personality and your potential contribution to the art-form. It will be your responsibility to plan, set goals, research career opportunities and develop personal strategies that will factor into your future. During your time in the dance department, we advise you to take advantage of all possible opportunities that may enhance your artistic growth and maturity.

The Annual Student Review is an initiative planned by the dance faculty to assist you in clarifying your goals and taking more control for your own development. Throughout the academic year, the faculty will carefully observe and evaluate all studio coursework and development, including Ballet, Modern and Jazz. The first phase of annual evaluation includes your assessment in the following areas: Technique, Physicality, Quality, and Approach to Training. In addition, statements regarding your short- and long-term goals should assist you while building your future career. You will receive department assessment documents with further detail. During the spring semester, the faculty will meet with each student individually to review progress including information provided in your self-assessment.

All sophomores will also complete the Sophomore Review. This review is designed to investigate your fulfillment of departmental and University expectations. It is a procedure intended to help you articulate your career plans as related to your performance within educational study and training.

The Department of Dance expects the highest standard of conduct regarding responsible and professional behavior at all times. All students in the dance program must view themselves as public representatives to the community at-large, knowing that all members are accountable for their actions and activities. The possession and/or use of alcohol, illegal drugs and weapons are prohibited in dance studios, dressing rooms, or locker rooms, theatre, whenever representing Butler Ballet or Butler Chamber Dance, International Study Programs, the Department of Dance and Butler University as a whole. At the discretion of the dance faculty, grades may be lowered and Butler Ballet/Butler Chamber Dance membership, performance opportunities and standing within the department may be terminated should such activities be discovered.

The Department of Dance functions as a community working toward a common goal. Respectful attitude, attentive and alert participation, timely arrivals and personal responsibility toward achievement is expected of all. Behavioral expectations include being respectful toward all faculty, staff, and musicians; being supportive of colleagues; keeping studios neat and clean and conveying a professional approach to all classes and rehearsals. The faculty expects all students to display kindness and foster the morale of the department.

All cellular phones, iPods, and any other electronic devices must be turned off during all dance classes and rehearsals.

The Dance faculty carefully deliberates the casting for each performance. The decisions are made by the faculty as a whole. Each dancer is expected to complete their commitment to the Butler Ballet and Butler Chamber Dance in the roles they are assigned.

Each role of every performance is equally as important as the next. The combination of the whole builds the production. The faculty looks forward to each dancer’s artistic contribution to the Butler Ballet and Butler Chamber Dance.

Butler Ballet and Butler Chamber Dance dancers are expected to:

  • Dance to the best of potential in both rehearsal and performance.
  • Display artistic commitment to the role and to the choreography.
  • Be a faithful interpreter of the choreography.
  • Attend all rehearsals and arrive on time, be warmed up and ready to dance.
  • Adhere to the mandatory participation policies for Studio Dress and Production Week rehearsals (see description below).
  • Display the proper work attitude at all times.
  • Give proper care and attention to costumes.
  • Give proper attention to warming up before all rehearsals and performances.
  • Display proper backstage and dressing room etiquette at all times.
  • Participate in required strike/load-in teams (see description below).
  • Display proper weight control and appropriate personal appearance.

Studio Dress/Production Week:

All dancers are required to participate fully in all Studio Dress and Production Week rehearsals. Requests for any off-campus engagements will NOT be approved.  Absences may result in failure of the course.

A separate schedule for Studio Dress and Production week will be posted and distributed for each Butler Ballet and Butler Chamber Dance performance.

The Department of Dance will provide a letter for each dancer requesting excused absence from any academic course which may conflict with production week schedules. It may be imperative to attend your academic class in which case you must forward course and conflict information to the chair of the dance department prior to the scheduled rehearsal.

In case of an injury, illness or emergency, contact your choreographer or the chair of the dance department as soon as possible. Rehearsal and performance arrangements will be resolved as needed.

Load-In/Strike Teams:

A requirement of Butler Ballet is participation in production load-in and strike; this applies to all Butler Ballet performances. Strike Teams will be established per production requirements. Students will assist with moving props, costumes and set pieces from Lilly Hall to Clowes Memorial Hall (CMH) or to the Schrott Center for the Arts (SCA), installing and removing the dance floor on stage, hanging and removing lighting equipment and scenery, and dismantling sound equipment among other duties. As CMH and SCA are union halls, all the above strike assignments will be supervised by the staff at CMH and the SCA; faculty members will also be assigned to supervise portions of the strike team activities.

Attendance will be taken at all load-in and strike events, sign-in and out is required. Failure to participate will affect your Butler Ballet final grade and may result in failure of the course.

Costume Care: When you are in costume, no sitting, lying or resting on chairs, couches or floors, no eating or no drinking. Each dancer is responsible for locating all costume parts and for checking proper condition. Costumes should be hung properly. Head dresses and hair must be secured. Shoes should be broken in; pointe shoes must not make noise.  Further costume regulations will be established by the Butler Ballet costumer, Ms. Kathleen Egan.

Posters: Prior to performance time, posters will need to be distributed to all buildings and dorms on campus. It is also helpful if you can put posters in your place of work if appropriate.

Students are expected to attend all classes and rehearsals Monday through Saturday. Under close supervision, special consideration will be made regarding illness, injury and emergencies. Because of the daily schedule of classes, absences cannot be made up.

Students are expected to complete final exams for all studio/practical courses to receive a final grade. Final exams in ballet, modern and jazz are juried while courses such as pointe and pas de deux, among others, are graded by the professor of the course. Final exams are closed classes.

Ballet Technique Classes: Three (3) unexcused absences will result in lowering the final grade by 1/2 letter (.500). With each additional set of 2 absences, the final grade will continue to be lowered by 1/2 letter. Attendance rosters will be cross-checked by the faculty regularly. All other classes have an attendance policy that must be strictly adhered to; check the syllabus of each class for further information. An official note from the attending physician or therapist must verify absences due to injury or illness. Follow-up communication is imperative allowing proper faculty assessment. A phone call or message does not constitute an excused absence. Please speak directly with your professor of the class(es) for which you did not attend to allow for clear understanding of the status of your absence.

All Dance Classes:  Each professor will provide a copy of his or her course syllabus (either hard copy or electronically).  It is your responsibility to review each course syllabus and note the individual attendance and grading policies.

Ballet Technique Grades:  Each faculty member will be submitting one or two letter grades at the end of each semester, depending on individual teaching circumstances. One grade will reflect your work throughout the semester and the second grade will reflect your performance of the final examination. The first grade will be for improvement, class work, attitude in class, etc. Only faculty members who have actually taught students in class will submit this grade. A second grade will be given by each ballet faculty member for achievement on the basis of performance at the exam. This grade will be submitted by all ballet faculty. The grades will then be averaged. Any penalty resulting from excessive unexcused absences (as indicated above) will be assessed at that point. The difference will constitute the final grade.

All students are evaluated daily in each studio course. Appointments may be made with the dance faculty for further individual evaluation.  The final grade serves as an evaluation of student progress.

Please note the following policies:

  • Dance classes/rehearsals will not be dismissed early prior to vacations.
  • Failure to participate in load-in and strike events will affect your final Butler Ballet grade.
  • Only graduating Seniors will be given permission to be absent from classes/rehearsals in order to attend scheduled auditions, however permission MUST first be requested from the department chair and all faculty involved .  Requests must be presented no later than two weeks prior to the requested absence.
  • Absence from studio dress, production week or dress rehearsals will not be approved.
  • If a student misses a performance or the above stated rehearsals due to an audition, failure of the course may be the result.

Ballet Technique Classes:

  • Monday and Friday
    • Ladies: Black leotard and pink or skin-tone tights are required. Tights must be worn inside the black leotard. A sheer ballet skirt is optional. Hair must be in a neat hairstyle that is off the face and neck and secure at all times. Pink or skin-tone ballet slippers; pointe shoes at the discretion of the professor.
    • Men: Full black tights and white or black fitted T-shirts are required. Black or white ballet shoes. Hair must be in a neat hairstyle that is off the face and neck, and secure at all times.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
    • Ladies: Leotards and tights, all solid color, or unitards; all tights must be full or may be cut at the ankle; sheer ballet skirts (if desired). Hair must be in a neat hairstyle that is off the face and neck, and secure at all times. Pink or skin-tone ballet slippers; pointe shoes at the discretion of the professor.
    • Men: Black, white or gray tights; tights may be full, cut at the ankle or just below the knee; leotards or fitted T-shirts, unitards, all solid colors are acceptable. Black, white or skin-tone ballet shoes. Hair must be in a neat hairstyle that is off the face and neck, and secure at all times.

Climate Control/Physical Need Clothing

If needed due to cool temperatures or physical injury, dancers may wear leg warmers and sweaters if fitted and giving a tidy appearance. If other garments should be necessary, speak with the professor teaching class.


Character skirts for women and character shoes are required for all.

Other Techniques and Theory Classes

All classes have dress codes; your professors will tell you what is required.

Unacceptable Attire

Shorts of any kind are not acceptable attire for class or for Butler Ballet/Butler Chamber Dance rehearsals; this includes all warm-up classes in the theatre. Bold neon colors, multi-colored dance wear, hats, T-shirts with writing or messages, sweatpants, sweatshirts; leg warmers covering the feet; tights that are cut the length of shorts; garments tied around the waist; fashion headbands; necklaces, bracelets, watches, dangling earrings.

All of the above are NOT permitted in any class or Butler Ballet, Butler Chamber Dance rehearsals.

NOTE:  At the discretion of the professor, a student(s) may be asked to leave class or rehearsal due to improper attire.  If so the student(s) will receive an unexcused absence for the class or rehearsal.

The faculty’s interest and priority is to see each student reach the height of his or her potential. It is each student’s responsibility to fulfill their potential. The faculty expects each student to address issues of health on a daily basis, including nutrition, rest, time and stress management, and maintenance of mental and physical well-being.


St. Vincent Sports Medicine has offered to send a trainer twice a week to consult with dancers who are experiencing problems due to injuries. Anna Owsley, MS, ATC, is our contact and will visit the department on specified days. Ms. Owsley is a certified Pilates instructor and has worked extensively with dancers.  Specific appointment times will be set and students will need to sign up for an appointment time in order to be seen by Ms. Owsley.

In case of an emergency, contact a faculty member or the department chair immediately; they will in turn contact the Butler University Police Department (ext. 9396) and/or the Health Center (ext. 9385) depending on the injury.

Department Health Policy

In consultation with University officials, the dance faculty reserves the right to stop a student’s participation in class, rehearsal and/or performance due to issues regarding health or injury. The faculty will request an evaluation, directed by University officials, to determine the student’s health or injury status. Each case will be reviewed individually and conditions allowing the student to return to class, rehearsal and/or performance will be determined by the University and discussed with each individual.

As an essential component of a full and varied educational experience in the arts, undergraduate JCA majors and secondary majors are expected to attend arts events in their discipline and related areas throughout their tenure at Butler. For JCA students the number and distribution of required events will be defined be each department..

For Dance majors the requirement is as follows:

  • All undergraduate students must complete DA 190, DA 290, DA 390 and DA 490 (“Event  Attendance”), a non-credit, P/F course, each spring term through verified attendance at approved performances. This non-credit course is exempt from the four-course Pass/Fail limit. The number and distribution of performance requirements for the dance majors are:
  • New Students/Freshmen – 10 per year
  • Sophomore – 8 per year
  • Junior/Senior- 6 per year

New Students/Freshmen dance majors and secondary dance majors will attend 10 events. Annual distribution includes two to three in theatre, three to four in music and the remainder in dance, art museum visits, art exhibitions and/or arts-related lectures. Pass/Fail credit.

Sophomore dance majors and secondary dance majors will attend eight (8) events per year; two to three per discipline in theatre, music, dance, art museum visits, art exhibitions and/or arts-related lectures. Pass/Fail credit. Prerequisite: DA190

Junior dance majors and secondary dance majors will attend six (6) events per year; two per discipline but not including performances in the field of dance. The disciplines include theatre, music, art museum visits, art exhibitions and arts-related lectures. Pass/Fail credit. Prerequisite: DA290

Senior dance majors and secondary dance majors will attend six (6) performances per year;  two per discipline but not including performances in the field of dance. The disciplines include theatre, music, art museum visits, art exhibitions and arts-related lectures. Pass/Fail credit. Prerequisite: DA390

Dance majors will not receive credit for performances in which they participate as performer, choreographer, or technical crew. There are no performance attendance requirements for minors.