Make the move


The annual Student Choreography Showcase is a tradition of self-expression on Butler University’s campus. Students direct, choreograph and perform in the showcase.

Lilly Hall studio 310 was transformed last week by the professional practices class for a two-night show.

Butler dance students extended past their personal boundaries to perform their peers’ choreography.

An opportunity like this is unique for dancers and spectators alike.

“When do you get the chance to get free rehearsal space? Free dancers? A free, fully-produced performance?” senior Annie Mushrush said. “This just doesn’t happen in the real world.”

Mushrush directed the showcase and also choreographed a piece.

She said the show is an opportunity for Butler dancers to perform in a variety of movement styles and to give the audience a new perspective on their capabilities.

“It isn’t as high-brow as ‘The Nutcracker,’” Mushrush said. “Butler sees us as ballerinas, but this is our chance to experiment with very modern work and perform it for the Butler community.”

The showcase featured 13 student works.

Each piece had a unique focus and personal touch for the audience to interpret.

“It was awesome to see how dedicated these dancers are to their art as well as their peers,” senior Taylor Brown said. “They all went above and beyond in order to create a great show for us.”

People waited in line for over half-an-hour to secure a seat as classmates, parents, faculty and friends filled the studio-turned-theater.

At Thursday’s performance, three rows of the audience had to sit on the floor.

Choreographers and performers compelled the audience through emotional, powerful, thought-provoking and fun-loving pieces.

Dances ranged from duets to 10-member pieces, clad with everything from fur coats to pointe shoes.

Much like the routines, the music tended toward modernism.

One piece was performed to the clean remix Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” a hip hop song released in 2012.

The opening piece, choreographed by sophomore Eliza Woitinnek, was to Vance Joy’s “Riptide.”

Woitinnek both choreographed and performed in the showcase.

She said she approached her choreography with collaboration in mind.

“If anyone likes it, it has to be the dancers, first and foremost,” she said.

Woitinnek said she found communication the most difficult part of choreographing.

At first, she said she could not articulate exactly what she wanted, but her dancers were very open to new ideas and contributed to the process.

“What was really great about this experience is that I knew all of their dancing styles, and rehearsal was fun,” Woitinnek said. “They were understanding and patient if something didn’t work out.”

Sophomore Rosa Prigan, who choreographed a duet for the first time, also found communication difficult.

She said she could not show her dancers what she wanted by herself. The dancer’s interpretations of the movement with Prigan’s vision
combined to create the final product.

“I like creating movement that is both indicative of what I like to do, but also pushes my mental boundaries,” Prigan said.

Freshman Ellie Abbick performed in two pieces. She said she found working with upperclassmen intimidating at first, but enjoyed her experience.

“It’s definitely been really cool to be in a less structured environment, especially with upperclassmen,” Abbick said. “Working with Annie has been really great, too.”

In stray of tradition, a faculty-choreographed piece wrapped up the evening’s performance.

After the 13 student works, Larry Attaway, chair of the department of dance, announced five Butler dancers will travel and perform in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Attaway said the Slovak National Theatre contacted Butler Ballet after its tour across Eastern Europe this summer.

The theater invited Butler Ballet to represent the United States at a dance festival later this month.

The Student Choreography Showcase provided an opportunity for the five dancers to perform the piece, choreographed by professor Marek Cholewa specifically for this festival , before they get on a plane in two weeks.