Butler Ballet students perform in Student Choreographers’ showcase

Students will have the opportunity to show off both their choreography and event-planning abilities in the student-led Oct. 21-22 Butler Ballet: Student Choreography Showcase. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

ABIGAIL OAKLEY | STAFF REPORTER | aloakley@butler.edu

Every fall, the “Butler Ballet: Student Choreography Showcase” gives Butler Ballet students the opportunity to choreograph and perform their own original pieces.  On Oct. 21 and 22, the original pieces of 13 students will be performed in Lilly Hall during this student-run showcase. 

This event provides the unique opportunity for students to explore and display their creativity. Jade Diskin, a junior dance performance major, is one of the choreographers for the showcase. She expressed why she has valued this creative opportunity.

“It’s not something we get to do that often as dancers,” Diskin said. “Being able to explore on our own is super important to develop as an artist and find how you like to move.”

Choreographers are in charge of every aspect of their piece. They make choices about the logistical aspects like lighting and sound, as well full control over the dancers and choreography in their production. 

This role as a leader among peers can be challenging. Diskin is learning about the role of the choreographer through this experience.

“It’s hard to feel like I have that [leadership] role since we’re all in class together,” Diskin said. “I think I’m still grappling with how I can be a teacher to them or a choreographer to them.”

However, this challenge also comes with opportunities to grow in leadership and skill beyond the studio. Katie Ripley, a senior dance performance and statistics major, explained these possibilities.

“It’s a good opportunity to have a college experience where the students are in charge and have freedom to showcase their creativity and understand the behind-the-scenes parts,” Ripley said.

Since the choreographers are granted creative license with their pieces and any Butler Ballet student can choreograph, there are a variety of pieces that can be performed. The performances are all approximately five minutes long, and they vary from group pieces to solos and classical ballet to modern. 

Diskin’s piece includes five dancers and is about the feeling of mentally breaking down. She described the creative process behind her performance.

“In the beginning it’s more me talking about wave sounds,” Diskin said. “It’s about what it’s like to spiral mentally and the feeling after breaking down. The second part has this really euphoric music. It’s about putting yourself back together but also the empty feeling in your brain after you’ve completely broken down.”

The event director is Reyna Carrillo, a senior dance arts administration and psychology major. She oversees the entire showcase along with a committee of students. Since the show is student run, the preparation and promotion must happen outside of normal class or rehearsal hours. Carrillo expressed the challenges of a student-run event.

“The most stressful [aspect] is time management,” Carrillo said. “I have a lot of projects and school and other things, so I have to be really focused on how to spend my time.”

The showcase is a significant time commitment, but the participants have risen to the occasion. After the weeks of rehearsal and preparation, they are excited to put the show together. As a senior, Carrillo has been involved in this showcase for a couple of years and looks forward to helping create the finished product.

“The ‘Student Choreography Showcase’ is something that I care about, and I want to put on a show that everyone can go to and have fun,” Carrillo said. “Now it’s more than just leadership; it’s creating something that people will enjoy.”

The “Butler Ballet: Student Choreography Showcase” will take place at 7:30 in Lilly Hall 310. The performance counts as a Butler Cultural Requirement and JCA Arts Event Attendance Requirement and is free to attend. More details can be found on the Butler Arts and Events website. 

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