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Arts & CultureStudent Life

Booting Up A New Club

BY Jackson Borman '20

PUBLISHED ON May 16 2018

For John George ’18, video games were always a casual interest. When he first came to Butler University, he loved playing games like Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart with friends.

“It wasn’t until sophomore year when I really got into watching esports and watching competitive video gaming,” George said. “That’s when I really wanted to see what the feeling for it was on campus.”

In his junior year, George started thinking about starting a club, but he struggled to find other students who were interested in competitive gaming. He also wanted to find a professor to be a club advisor who was as passionate about esports as he is.

“I didn’t know anyone who watched competitive video gaming like I did,” George said.

Over the summer leading into his senior year, George met the founder of the esports club at Clemson University, who gave him tips and advice about how to get a similar club started at Butler.

At the start of the 2017–2018 academic year, George met College of Communication Professor Ryan Rogers, who was new to Butler but had previously done research about video games and was planning to create a class on esports.

That class eventually would turn into a team.

“Esports has always been interesting to me and something that I could really see taking off [on a college campus],” Rogers said.

George and Rogers got started planning early in the year and decided that they wanted individual teams in different games. George went to the Facebook pages of each Butler graduating class and posted information about the new club, looking to find students who might be interested in competing.

The first callout meeting was in the fall.

“It was a really fun meeting just introducing each other and it seemed like there was a ton of interest because most of the people there said that they had three or four friends that just couldn’t make it,” George said. “Actually finding a group of people that was into esports and the gaming culture like I am was awesome.”

*

After that first meeting, the group got together for a second time in November, where they decided which games they wanted to play, split into teams for each game, and selected team captains who were responsible for finding tournaments for the teams to play in, and scheduling practices.

The club started out playing League of Legends, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Hearthstone. Eventually, after holding tryouts, it added Rocket League and FIFA.

The esports group also merged with a more casual group, the Butler Gaming Club.

“It can be kind of intimidating to jump right in to competitive video gaming,” George said. “I thought the casual side was a good way to attract people who love playing fun games and then once they find out about [the esports club] they can get into that.”

In the fall, the Big East reached out to the Athletic Department and Mike Freeman, Butler’s Senior Associate Athletic Director External Operations, about esports on Butler’s campus. That was the same week that George and Rogers met to discuss forming a team.

Freeman said the Big East approached each school to try to find out what was going on regarding esports. The conference found that some schools were active, while others had done little.

Freeman knew Rogers had a background in esports, so he reached out about getting involved with the Big East. The conference had partnered with ESL, an esports company that organized tournaments around the world, in hopes of starting competition between Big East schools.

Rogers helped to organize the group with the Big East while George held tryouts and streamed the club’s game play.

*

On May 7 and 8, Butler Rocket League and Butler League of Legends competed in Big East play for the first time. Three members of the Butler team competed in Rocket League and five competed in League of Legends.

The League of Legends team was swept in Big East play, but the Rocket League team placed fourth.

“We went 2-4 [in Rocket League] but we were a lot closer with a lot of the teams and were very close to winning more games,” George said.

For the team, the Big East Invitational was a great experience, and in George’s eyes, a great stage for the world of esports.

“I would love if the Big East keeps doing competition because I think that is very established and attracts casual viewers more because they know those teams,” George said. “We play those teams in basketball and other sports. For example, I was really hyped to see us play Xavier in Rocket League because that is a really classic rivalry.”

Since the Big East Invitational, Freeman and Rogers have been trying to get the word out about esports on Butler’s campus.

“There are huge benefits if we grow that club the right way,” Freeman said. “In the next few years, there could be people that come to Butler because they want to be a part of the esports club. It is a similar structure to people who are deciding if they want to be on a sports team.”

Freeman compares the esports club to the way the Butler Athletic Department was when it first started out.

“One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Butler kind of had an athletic department with a football team," Freeman said. "And then we formed a basketball team. But now we have 20 athletic teams and dance team and cheerleading and we compete in all these different leagues. Within the esports club, you have all these different teams because there are all different games that people could play.”

As a graduating senior and the founder of the group, George’s time with the club has been short, but he said it's been a fantastic experience. In addition to being fun and an opportunity to meet new people, it allowed him to gain valuable leadership experience.

“The club is awesome, not only for people who want to compete but for people who are interested in business or communications,” George said. “I was able to run the stream and be a commentator and analyze what was going on and work on the media side of it.”

The club also has a treasurer and a social media chair, which George said are great opportunities for students to hold leadership positions in a group they are passionate about.

Freeman thinks that the club can have huge benefits to students after graduation as well.

“The end goal [of a Butler education] is to get you ready to go out into the world and do great things,” he said. “The people that are on these teams have some really high-level majors, and if [cities like] Indy are growing as a tech community, then we have that subgroup of people who are in the tech world and are also doing great things with their majors. It’s an area where there are businesses that are very interested in what’s going on.”

To stay up to date with Butler’s esports club, check out their Twitter account and Facebook page. The club hold tryouts for all games each semester. Current and incoming Butler students are invited to reach out to be invited to its Discord channel.

 

Arts & CultureStudent Life

Booting Up A New Club

Students take the controls on Butler esports team.

May 16 2018 Read more
Grand Adventure

A Grand Adventure

Camryn Walton ’14

from Spring 2018

It Happened in a Weekend

Over the course of 48 hours, we decided to quit our jobs, leave Indianapolis, road trip across the United States, and buy a one-way ticket to India. 

Why? We felt that restless feeling to be somewhat careless and do something crazy. We wanted to experience newness. To break out of our routine. We had a desire to change our surroundings and rid ourselves of the strains of everyday life. 

And so we went. In fall 2016, we spent two months camping and hiking the western United States, two months navigating the chaos of India, and three months exploring Southeast Asia. It’s hard for me to put into words how grateful I feel for being able to go on this grand adventure. 

In reality, long-term travel is overwhelming and exhausting. You are constantly pushed outside of your comfort zone. Your relationship with yourself and your partner is challenged daily. Here are just a couple of excerpts from my blog sharing our unique and transformational travel experiences: 

Grand Tetons, Wyoming 

Camryn Walton ’14 and husband at the Grand Tetons“What’s been your favorite place so far?” We get asked this question quite a bit on the road, and so far we have the same answer: The Grand Tetons. While leaving beautiful Oregon was bittersweet, we were eager to get to Jackson, Wyoming. We bypassed our planned one-night stay in Boise (We’ll be back for you Idaho!) and drove the 12+ hours from Portland, Oregon, to Jackson, Wyoming, in one day. We made it in one piece and found a free campsite as the sun was setting just outside of the Tetons. 

The next morning, we arrived at the Grand Tetons Visitor Center an hour before it opened to get a backcountry permit. Needless to say, John (JJ) was excited to be the first one in line. Before getting our permit, we had to watch a short video about backcountry camping safety… and this is where my irrational fear of bears began. By the end of the video, I was convinced we were going to be stalked and killed by a bear. Wyoming isn’t too bad of a place to die, right? 

Bear spray in hand, we set off on a 22-mile loop hike up Paintbrush Canyon and down Cascade Canyon. The first day consisted of 7.5 miles and 3,500 feet up. It was tough hiking, but the blossoming colors of fall made us forget about the level of difficulty. There are two weeks out of the year when leaves are at their brightest in the Tetons, and we had unknowingly chosen one of these sacred weeks. The Aspens were changing to a shade of yellow I’ve never seen before—hard to describe, and even harder to photograph. 

We were up early the next morning to tackle our one mile, 1,500-foot ascent of Paintbrush Divide to the Saddle Between Two Peaks. JJ kept me going by reminding me that, “every step you take is the highest elevation you’ve ever been.” At 10,700 ft., the 360-degree views were breathtaking. The pass opened up a new world of mountain ranges, peaks, and canyons; it is safe to say that I’m addicted. Addicted to the feeling of wanting to see what’s over the next pass, to the exhilaration of the wind blowing in your face, to feeling entirely humbled, small, and insignificant compared to the mountains that surround you. 

India 

On December 17, 2016—my 25th birthday—we arrived in Rishikesh, India. Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas on the banks of the Ganges River, Rishikesh is a charming town that attracts yogis and adventurers from around the world. It is free of meat, dairy, and alcohol—making it the ideal location for people to focus on their spiritual and physical wellness. 

Camryn Walton ’14 and husband in IndiaHowever, two days into our blissful retreat, JJ and I were taking turns emptying our stomachs over a dirty toilet in a freezing cold yurt. The physical pain was compounded by the homesickness I felt being away from my loved ones so close to the holidays. I was tired of being cold and dirty and living out of a backpack. I couldn’t help but think of all of the places I’d rather be. 

Slowly, we started to regain physical strength and with it came mental clarity. We spent the next two weeks practicing yoga, getting lost in the foothills, reading by the river, and expanding our minds with new forms of spiritual guidance. And then I’m crying at the airport because I’m not ready to leave this powerful place that had become “home.” 

Despite the immense discomfort, we quickly discovered the real reason why we travel: It reminds us to be present, to be kind, to practice empathy—and to never take ourselves too seriously. Most importantly, it’s a reminder to be grateful for exactly where you are and who you are with in life. 

 

Camryn Walton '14 (Strategic Communication) and John Joseph '11 (International Studies and Marketing) moved to Denver in July 2017. They spend their time exploring the mountains, chasing music festivals, and working at a small marketing agency and large software company respectively. To read more on their grand adventure, check out flossinginthesunshine.com or follow them on Instagram @camryn_walton and @plaidjj1.

Grand Adventure
Arts & CulturePeople

A Grand Adventure

Over the course of 48 hours, we decided to quit our jobs, leave Indianapolis, road trip across the United States, and buy a one-way ticket to India. 

by Camryn Walton ’14

from Spring 2018

Read more
AcademicsArts & CulturePeople

Going Out on A High Note

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 16 2018

Associate Professor of Music Dan Bolin '70 MM '75 looks back on his career in education—23 years at Butler, 48 overall—and says, "I can't think of anything I could have done that would have been more satisfying. To get to work with the kids, to get to know the people I've gotten to know …"

He lets the thought hang in the air, but he might have finished with "to achieve all I've achieved."

Since joining the Music Department faculty, Bolin has made his mark, particularly with regard to equipment, the physical plant, and faculty.

Bolin arrived in 1995 as Department Chair to find that no one had been keeping track of the instruments the department owned. Forty were missing. He had a hand in finding almost all of them and creating a new inventory system.

When the Schrott Center for the Arts was being built, Bolin took a tour of the construction and noticed that the orchestra pit was so low that people on the stage wouldn't be able to see the conductor. His keen eye helped Butler avoid a potentially costly repair.

It's a point of pride for him that the University's music ensembles have improved over the years and that Butler has retained so many talented faculty members.

"Most of the faculty in the music school were people I was involved with hiring and setting up," he said.
"(Professor of Music and Director of Bands) Michael Colburn is the last person I hired, and he's a superstar. We're fortunate to have him."

The feeling is mutual, Colburn said.

"My wife and I fell in love with Butler as soon as we visited, but I must admit that a big part of the attraction was the knowledge that Dan was serving as the Chair of the School of Music at the time," he said. "I figured that any school of music that had Dan Bolin in a leadership position would be a great place to work, and my instincts were right on the mark! Although he is no longer Chair, Dan has continued to be a valued colleague and a tremendous friend, and he will be sorely missed when he retires at the end of this semester."

*

Bolin spent his entire career close to home. He grew up in Indianapolis, took up the tuba in junior high school, and was the tubist in the Indiana All-State Orchestra all four years at Harry E. Wood High School, five blocks south of Monument Circle. That distinction earned him "a healthy scholarship" to Butler.

As an undergraduate at Butler, he tutored at his old high school. After graduation, his first teaching job was replacing his high school band director, who retired.

Bolin earned his principal's license at Butler and his doctorate in school administration at Indiana University. (His minor there was in music education.) He was a high school band director for 13 years, including time at Manual, Lebanon, and Southport high schools, and in administration for 12 years.

At Southport, he rose through the ranks to become an assistant principal. He left Southport for Perry Township Schools, where he moved from Director of Secondary Education to Personnel Director, Assistant Superintendent, and, finally, Interim Superintendent.

When the job opened at Butler, then-Director of Bands Robert Grechesky asked him to apply. Over the years, Bolin said, he was contacted by other institutions about opening on their faculty, but "I was doing what I wanted to do here."

*

Bolin said the greatest joy of his career has been working with students.

Matt Harrod '83 MM '88 is one of those. Harrod, Band Director and teacher at Riverside Junior High and Intermediate School in the Hamilton-Southeastern school district outside Indianapolis, was a student of Bolin's at Lebanon High School from 1975–1977. Harrod said even after Bolin left Lebanon for Southport, he stayed in touch and interested in his progress.

Harrod remembers a time when he was a freshman at Butler and decided to skip a pep band practice. That earned him a reprimand not only from Butler Band Director Grechesky but from Bolin.

"He told Dan and Dan got all over me about that," Harrod said. "He kept me on the straight and narrow."

After Harrod graduated from Butler, Bolin helped him get his first teaching job, attended his concerts, and worked with his band. Eventually, Harrod taught Bolin's sons at Keystone Middle School.

"He's been a close friend my whole life," Harrod said. "He's been a mentor to me. We laugh together, we tease each other a lot. He has guest-directed my band several times. He's introduced me to important people in the field. He hasn't only done this for me; he's done this for a lot of people."

In addition, Harrod said, Bolin has been instrumental in bringing military bands such as the U.S. Army Field Band to Indianapolis to perform free concerts for the public.

In retirement, Bolin said he and his wife, Jane, will continue to have a home in Indianapolis, but they'll also be living in Melbourne, Florida, where they bought a house 10 years ago.

Bolin said what he'll miss most are the students.

"They keep me young," he said. "Watching them grow and graduate and seeing some of them become educators—I tended to teach music education classes—and become band and orchestra directors and do good work has been incredibly gratifying. That's essentially what we’re all about—trying to create the next generation of teachers who are going to do what we did and hopefully do it even better."

(After this story was written, Dan Bolin conducted his final concert as Music Director of the Indianapolis Municipal Band and was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash. The honor is given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor.)

 


Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

AcademicsArts & CulturePeople

Going Out on A High Note

Dan Bolin retires after 48 years in education.

Apr 16 2018 Read more
Arts & CultureCommunity

Collins to Replace Glück in Visiting Writers Series

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 11 2018

Former United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins will replace another former United States Poet Laureate, Louise Glück, in Butler University's spring 2018 Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series lineup.

Collins will give a public reading in the Atherton Union, Reilly Room, on Wednesday, April 18, at 7:30 PM.

Admission is free and open to the public without tickets.

Collins, who sees his poetry as “a form of travel writing” and considers humor “a door into the serious,” served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003 and was the New York State Poet Laureate from 2004­­ to 2006.

He has published 12 collections of poetry, including Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected Poems, Nine Horses, The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems, Ballistics, Horoscopes for the Dead, and Picnic, Lightning. His book Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems 2003 – 2013 was a New York Times bestseller as is his most recent book of poetry, The Rain in Portugal.

His work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including The NewYorker, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar. His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry.

He has been honored by fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also been awarded the Oscar Blumenthal Prize, the Bess Hopkins Prize, the Frederick Bock Prize, and the Levinson Prize — all awarded by Poetry magazine. In October 2004, Collins was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for Humor in Poetry.

Glück had to cancel her scheduled appearance due to illness.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

(Photo by Bill Hayes)

Arts & CultureCommunity

Collins to Replace Glück in Visiting Writers Series

Billy Collins will speak at Butler on April 18.

Apr 11 2018 Read more

The Science of Movement

Kailey Eaton ’17

from Spring 2017

How do dancers move the way they do? There’s actually a science behind every spin!

Emily Elwell ’17 is a Dance Performance major who has learned this science of movement through the Jordan College of the Arts.  

It’s called Laban Movement Analysis, or LMA, and it is a system created for observing, describing, and executing movement.  It is used not only by dancers, but also actors, musicians, athletes and health and wellness professionals.

LMA was created by Rudolf Laban, a movement analyst, choreographer, and dancer, as a way to classify and interpret human movement.

Elwell said she had minimal exposure to LMA before coming to Butler.

“My second semester of sophomore year at Butler was when I took Laban Movement Analysis and began to understand its principles and how they can be applied across the board in my dance classes,” she said. 

All dance majors in the Jordan College of the Arts are required to take a course in Laban Movement Analysis. This one-semester course gives the dancers exposure to the fundamental principles of LMA.

Elwell says that as a dancer, LMA has challenged her to explore different efforts in movement and has pushed her to find a voice within her own movement. She also says that it is a useful tool for professors to help the dancers understand the reasoning behind movement and execute the efforts properly. 

“There are instances when Professor Pratt will use LMA concepts in her Jazz class if we are struggling to use the right effort to perform a particular movement,” Elwell said.

Cynthia Pratt is a dance professor in the JCA who teaches a class on LMA. She says she uses the system as a tool for performance and choreography.

“Rather than having a vocabulary that is based on steps and gestures, LMA uses spatial pulls, dynamics and body organizations to express the various ways a human body can move,” Pratt said. 

She also uses terminology and concepts learned in LMA to help the dancers understand what she is looking for in particular choreography.

Pratt says one of the primary concepts in LMA is that human movement takes place within a “Kinesphere”—the space around your body that you move in—and by imagining the Kinesphere in different three-dimensional geometric forms, one can accurately describe or execute a movement.

LMA divides this space around the body into 27 different points where one might move, which contributes to a dancer’s heightened awareness of his or her body.

The dynamics of the movement are described by weight, space, time, and flow. This works for all kinds of movement, not just dance.  For example, if you are swinging a baseball bat, you might be using Strong Weight, Free Flow and Direct Space.

Elwell believes that understanding the science behind her movement has made her a better dancer.

“The concepts and principals I learned in the class have been exceedingly valuable to me as a dancer, and have broadened my understanding of dance.”

AcademicsArts & Culture

The Science of Movement

How do dancers move the way they do? There’s actually a science behind every spin!

by Kailey Eaton ’17

from Spring 2017

Read more

The Linklater Voice

Krisy Force

from Spring 2017

Theatre is an art where the human being is the medium the art is created with, and the art form is about bringing a human being to life. In order to achieve a great play, actors must learn and train in the actor’s quartet: voice, body, mind, and heart.

At Butler University, theatre students train in all these areas, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that the University had a well-structured and effective voice class.

“I knew we weren’t offering training that was good enough in this department, and I wanted something better,” Jordan College of the Arts Theatre Chair Diane Timmerman said. “We just had one random, inconsequential Voice for the Actor class, and now we have three that are very structured, specific, and effective.”

Timmerman spent four years obtaining a Linklater Voice certification to help create and teach Butler’s new Voice for the Actor classes. The Linklater Voice methodology uses a combination of imagery, art, and science to teach students to liberate their natural voices; the hallmark of the Linklater work being maximum effect with minimal effort.

“I like to look at the work with two main purposes,” Timmerman said. “One is called vocal hygiene—developing the breathing and speaking mechanism and restoring it to the way it was originally meant to be utilized. The other side of the work, which is of utmost importance to actors, is expressivity.”

Throughout the semester, Timmerman’s students complete a variety of physiological exercises and study the anatomy of the human body to gain a better understanding and awareness of how their bodies and their breath affect one another. Timmerman even utilizes a parachute, like the ones used in elementary and middle school gym classes, to help students better visualize how the diaphragm actually works.

“Ninety percent of people’s voice issues have to do with breathing issues. So we begin with skeletal awareness, breath awareness, and exactly how the breathing process works,” Timmerman said.

Timmerman explained the outcome of these exercises and the studying of anatomy is that students develop a picture of the skeleton which means they can better release extraneous tensions that impede the breathing and speaking process.

“Breath is the foundation for everything with your voice,” Timmerman said. “Your voice can be much more when you want it to be. Certainly an actor on stage wants the voice to be more effective. They’re playing a role and they want the feelings, the thoughts, and the essence of that character manifested in their sounds.”

Timmerman further explained that the Linklater methodology is holistic work that takes time to learn and master, but that it works, which is why Timmerman pushed to earn her certification to teach it.

“Once a student goes through even one semester of Voice for the Actor class, they have developed so much awareness of their breathing and speaking mechanisms that they do far superior work on stage,” Timmerman said.

Timmerman is one of fewer than a 140 individuals worldwide certified in Linklater Voice. This means Butler students, who learned the Linklater methodology through Timmerman’s class, are a rare group of students who hold a better understanding of how their voice works and how they can use it in various situations to excel both personally and professionally.

AcademicsArts & Culture

The Linklater Voice

Theatre is an art where the human being is the medium the art is created with, and the art form is about bringing a human being to life.

by Krisy Force

from Spring 2017

Read more
Arts & CultureStudent Life

Butler Theatre Presents 'The Little Prince'

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 05 2018

Butler Theatre closes its 2017–2018 season with The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery's tale of love and loyalty, April 11-22 in the Lilly Hall Studio Theatre 168.

Show times are:

Wednesday, April 11, 7:00 PM (Preview)

Thursday, April 12, 7:00 PM (Preview)

Friday, April 13, 7:00 PM

Saturday, April 14, 7:00 PM

Sunday, April 15, 2:00 PM

Friday, April 20, 7:00 PM

Saturday, April 21, 7:00 PM

Sunday, April 22, 2:00 PM

Tickets are $5-$15. They are available online at ButlerArtsCenter.org or at the box office before each performance.

The Little Prince, a childhood favorite, is the story of a pilot stranded in the desert who meets an enigmatic young prince who has recently fallen from the sky. Audience members can let their imagination take flight in an adventure that celebrates fantasy and friendship.

The cast:

Aviator: Zane Franklin, Morgantown, Indiana

Lamplighter/Geographer/Businessman: Ryan Moskalick, Highland, Indiana

The Little Prince: Abby Glaws, Deerfield, Illinois

Snake/King: Mary Hensel, Indianapolis

Rose/Conceited man: Kitty Compton, Evansville, Indiana

Fox: Lexy Weixel, Columbus, Ohio

(In the photo: Zane Franklin and Abby Glaws)

 

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Arts & CultureStudent Life

Butler Theatre Presents 'The Little Prince'

The final show of the season runs April 11-22.

Apr 05 2018 Read more
AcademicsArts & CulturePeople

He Helped the Dance Department Achieve Its Potential

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 02 2018

Stephan Laurent joined the Butler Dance Department in 1988, convinced it was going to be one of the top programs in the United States.

"And we proceeded to make it so," he said, crediting "aggressive recruitment and a fantastic faculty."

Thirty years later—the first 15 as chair, the second 15 as a faculty member—as he prepares to retire from Butler, Laurent looks back proudly at what he and the department have accomplished in developing a program that's consistently one of the top-rated in the country.

"It's been a wonderful experience because this is such a strong program," he said. "It's strong because of the curriculum, because of the faculty who deliver that curriculum, because of the students it attracts and because of the facilities in which it is delivered. It is a conservatory-level training program, but we all value the liberal arts and that's what makes the program unique."

Laurent grew up outside Lausanne, Switzerland, and moved to the United States to study at Southern Methodist University. After earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts, he danced professionally in Europe, then returned to SMU for his Master of Fine Arts.

He taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and had spent six years as Artistic Director of Des Moines Ballet when he saw the opening at Butler. The Board of Directors was reducing the size of its company to cut costs, so he decided to apply.

He expected a short stay in Indianapolis, but "it clicked so well. It seems like I had found my place – and I think I did. I have really planted my roots in this community. It will be bittersweet to leave."

He leaves with great memories of "all the wonderful productions we have accomplished with the Butler Ballet" and comfortable in the knowledge that he helped advance both Butler and the Dance Department.

"I've seen a lot of progress being made in establishing the strong vision of a comprehensive university where the liberal arts are valued," he said. "The core curriculum is really excellent here. I teach an FYS seminar (Spellbound: the Quest for Magic in the Arts and in Fiction), so I know firsthand how good that core is and how valued it is by all the members of the faculty across all the colleges."

Sophomore Stefanee Montesantos said Laurent "has been a wonderful instructor to work with in the studio." Not only that, "but he has given me opportunities that most first-years and sophomores wish for."

In Butler Ballet’s 2018 Midwinter Dance Festival, Montesantos was cast as the lead female in Farewell to the Singing Earth, an original piece that Laurent-Faesi choreographed.

"It was one of my most challenging roles yet, but it was such a pleasure to work with him," she said. "His positivity, yet silent discipline to execute the steps, brought out a drive I didn’t know I had in me. I am sure I speak for all of Butler Ballet when I say that he will be deeply missed."

After the semester ends, Laurent plans to move to Texas, where his wife, Ellen Denham, is directing the opera program as a member of the music faculty at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. He describes the move as "going full circle," since Texas was where he started in the United States.

Professor Susan McGuire, his colleague in the Dance Department, said Laurent set an example for others to follow.

"He is outspoken and liberal-minded in the best sense, and a staunch defender of academic freedom, for one," she said. "He knows the university system inside and out, and holds the people within it to a high standard, and quite vocally, regardless of the consequences. I appreciate this wholeheartedly, and I will miss his loud and clear voice."

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

 

AcademicsArts & Culture

Critics Called It One of the Best Books of 2017

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 29 2018

The news came in an email at 6:00 AM on December 22. The subject line: "New York Times!"

The recipient: Butler Poet-in-Residence Alessandra Lynch. The sender: Kaveh Akbar MFA '15, who now teaches poetry at Purdue.

Inside was this link, but no message. And Lynch thought, "Good ol' Kaveh. Yet again, someone has recognized his prodigious gifts."

She clicked on the link and saw the cover of her new book Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment under the headline "The Best Poetry of 2017." Along with it was this summation by David Orr, who writes the On Poetry column for The New York Times Book Review:

Alessandra Lynch, “Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment.” You can read 20 pages into Lynch’s book before you fully realize it’s about a sexual assault — and this is to her credit. She wants to show an act of violence in all its terrible particularity and also in the way it becomes a background against which identity trembles and sometimes fractures. It’s difficult to read this collection without thinking about how timely it is, but its force is in no sense dependent on that congruity.

"I gasped," Lynch said. "It felt, and still feels, so surreal. Unreal. I don't know how David Orr found the book. He must receive thousands of books to review. So what was it about this book? I have no idea."

That was just the beginning. About six weeks later, Lynch got a call from The Los Angeles Times informing her that her book was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize in Poetry. She'll be flown to California to participate in the newspaper's April 21-22 Festival of Books.

"I don't have experience like this," Lynch said. "From the time I was 9, I was just in my room, writing my poems. Then eventually I had enough poems and it dawned on me that I really wanted to make a book from them. For me, writing has always been a solitary, private situation. The public nature of publication and awards, while often nice, is very, sometimes chillingly, distant from the making and the life, the vitality of the poems."

*

As Orr wrote in The New York Times, Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment is, in fact, about a sexual assault—Lynch's. The attack happened a couple of decades ago.

She didn't report the incident and for years told no one.

"I think I was in an extreme state of shock," she said. "I didn't even realize for years that I had some sort of PTSD. I wouldn't have ever said that I had that. That's what soldiers at war have. But clearly the disassociation and distance from what had happened are hallmarks of this. For years I moved around in a daze. And it's all over those poems."

In 2005, during a two-month stay at Yaddo, an artists' retreat in Saratoga Springs, New York, Lynch developed a routine—eat some blueberries and go for a run through the woods. As she ran, a line or two would come to her. When she got back to her studio, she would type "meditation," along with that line or two. There were meditations on the body, on absence, on abandonment, on desire. She wrote about a hundred, numbering each. She wasn't thinking about publishing or even sharing them.

"It just felt like such a sacred experience," she said. "I felt very in tune with those words."

In 2007, during a second stay at Yaddo, she followed a similar routine, but typed "agitation" at the top of each page. The “agitations” that surfaced became poems more directly about the assault.

After a few years, ready to share the poems and thinking she had two separate manuscripts, her husband, Butler Associate Professor of English and poet Chris Forhan, suggested that the agitations and meditations might belong together in a book.

Lynch devised a sequence for the poems, then showed the collection to another poet-friend who suggested that she move one of the more overt assault poems to the beginning. "I was thinking, 'I can't do that,'" she said. "That would be shocking. But he was right. And then I realized I was creating a narrative out of these highly lyrical poems. I was finally telling the story. I was finally facing the violence I had experienced through poetry."

Then, in 2015, during a two-week fellowship at The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire—and after Alice James Books had already accepted Daylily for publication—Lynch wrote a final poem, "P.S. Assault." That "made the book fuller and more substantial."

The poem begins:

The girl it happens to
crawls out

of my body

"There are some really excruciatingly dark, excruciatingly personal moments in the book, and yet I think because it's poetry, there's so much metaphor and imagery," Lynch said. "It's not a direct report of what happened, and there's a meandering in and out of consciousness—a disassociated state, but a really beautiful state, a really comforting state. And the wandering out helps me and anyone who reads this book understand that the shock of it, the stun of it, makes you feel almost as though it didn't really happen to you."

Lynch took the book title Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment from the first line of one of the poems. A daylily flower carries a lot of time symbolism and implication, Lynch said, and daylily, in this case, was witness to "the fact that at some point I realized I had experienced a dangerous moment in my life."

She chose the cover painting, Time, by Metka Krašovec, wife of Slovenian poet Tomaž Šalamun, for the traumatized look in the woman's eyes. "There's a wariness, there's a deep sorrow, an unsettledness and an unnerved quality to the eyes," she said. "But the figure itself is still. It's almost like paralysis. Plus there's a bird on her hand looking at her, but she's not paying attention to the bird. And there's a hand on her shoulder, which is ominous."

*

This is Lynch's third published book of poems, but she's been writing poetry and putting together books since she was a little girl in Pound Ridge, New York. She remembers her first-grade teacher announcing that the class would be working together on a journal and asking, "Who's going to write the poetry?" When no one spoke up, she volunteered.

She recalls her mother saying, "If you want to do anything well, you have to practice it." She took those words to heart and started to write every day. She still does.

In teaching poetry and memoir writing at Butler, she asks her students to reveal what is most important to them, what has hurt them most, what has made them feel most joyful—"those deeper feelings we don't often get the opportunity to share, but when we do share make us feel known."

"I think in some subconscious way, teachers teach what they want to learn," she said. "After all these years of having my terrific, brave students reveal all these things to me, I think that actually helped me."

Lynch said Daylily was cathartic to write. She hopes it will help others who've been through trauma. And she has no expectations about winning the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, for which she's competing against Shane McCrae, Evie Shockley, Patricia Smith, and David Wojahn.

She said she looks at their biographies and long lists of accomplishments, then looks at her own, which says she "lives with her husband and sons by a stony creek, two hackberry trees, and a magnolia trio."

"It's as though there are all these better-known poets up on the stage and I'm like a piece of pollen that drifts up," she said. "And there I am. I feel like pollen. But pollen's not a bad thing to feel like."

 

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan MFA '18
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

AcademicsArts & Culture

Critics Called It One of the Best Books of 2017

'Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment,' Poet-in-Residence Alessandra Lynch's new book, is being praised from coast to coast.

Mar 29 2018 Read more
Arts & CulturePeopleCommunity

Community Arts School Head Honored As United Way 'Hero'

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PUBLISHED ON Feb 26 2018

Butler Community Arts School Director Karen Thickstun has been honored as one of United Way of Central Indiana's 100 Heroes for her efforts to grow the arts education program from 180 students in 2002 to more than 2,000 in 2016–2017.

The 100 Heroes awards are being given to 100 people from the Central Indiana community who have made a positive impact over the last 100 years.

"I appreciate the opportunity to share with the community what the Butler Community Arts School is all about," Thickstun said. "This is nice recognition for Butler, for the Community Arts School, for the Butler students who are doing something in the community. This isn't about one person. It is about one person plus staff and faculty and Butler students and community partners that have been with us from the very beginning."

The Butler Community Arts School (BCAS) provides affordable arts instruction to the Indianapolis community—people like Kennon Ward, who is now Assistant Music Director of The Salvation Army's Phil Ramone Orchestra for Children in New York—and enables Butler students to hone their teaching skills. BCAS offers private lessons, group classes, camps, and off-campus community programming.

Last year, 59 percent of the BCAS students taking lessons received a scholarship, and minority enrollment accounted for 53 percent.

The BCAS program was the vision of Peter Alexander, then Dean of the Jordan College of Fine Arts, who had started a similar community arts school at the University of Southern Mississippi. Alexander "saw the potential for using college students as the primary instructors and making inroads into the community with that dynamic," Thickstun said.

Alexander approached Thickstun with the idea in January 2002. At the time, Butler's only music instruction for the community was a piano camp. With the help of Arts Administration Professor Susan Zurbuchen, Thickstun secured a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission to provide need-based scholarships to students who wanted music lessons but could not afford them.

By September 2002, BCAS was up and running.

"It was a leap of faith by the Indiana Arts Commission because they were funding something that didn't exist yet," she said. "But Butler had credibility, and the Jordan College of Fine Arts had credibility, and I'm assuming they saw the potential."

The Indiana Arts Commission has renewed that grant every year since. Last year, BCAS received grants totaling more than $113,000 from the Indiana Arts Commission, the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, The Indianapolis Foundation, Summer Youth Program Fund, and the Lilly Endowment. Some 90 percent of the grant money goes to provide student need-based scholarships.

The program also now has:

-Thirteen community partners serving more than 800 students with music, visual arts, dance, and theatre programs. The Martin Luther King Center, Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, Auntie Mame Child Development Center, and Christel House Academy have all been community partners since the beginning.

-Sixteen summer camps serving over 600 students ages 7 and older. The camps include a summer ballet intensive that will be expanded to four weeks beginning in 2018, as well as theatre and music programs. A new guitar camp will debut in 2018.

-Nine group class programs—including Guitar for Young Bulldogs, Youth Theatre, and Children's Orchestra—serving more than 200 students ages 5 and older.

-Nine areas of private lessons serving over 400 students ages 5 and up. Lessons are available in piano, strings, voice, woodwinds, brass, percussion, guitar, music theory, and composition.

"I'm proud that Butler has stood behind the program for 16 years and continued to support it," Thickstun said. "Butler has recognized that it provides community engagement for the University students, in addition to all the good that it does for the children in the community."

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Arts & CulturePeopleCommunity

Community Arts School Head Honored As United Way 'Hero'

Karen Thickstun has made a positive impact on the central Indiana community.

Feb 26 2018 Read more
AcademicsArts & CulturePeople

Professor Lynch's Book Is a Finalist for LA Times Prize

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PUBLISHED ON Feb 22 2018

English Instructor Alessandra Lynch's 2017 book of poetry Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment has been selected as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Lynch will be flown to the April 20 ceremony where the winners will be announced.

Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment has been widely acclaimed, with The New York Times naming it one of the 10 best books of poetry last year.

Lynch has been teaching at Butler since 2008. She has designed courses in the First Year Seminar (Memoir) and Special Topics in Literature (Transformations in Literature), Introduction to Poetry Writing, Intermediate Poetry, and Independent Studies in Poetry, and she created and designed an Advancing Poetry course.

She has also designed the Poetry Workshop in the MFA program, created and designed Shaping a Manuscript, Finding Its Song: MFA Revision Class, and advised MFA students on their theses.

Lynch is the author of three collections of poetry: Sails the Wind Left Behind (winner of the New York/New England Award from Alice James Books, 2002), It was a terrible cloud at twilight (winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Award, Pleaides/LSU Press, 2008), and Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment (Alice James Books, 2017). She has received fellowships from The Corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony for the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center, and she has been the recipient of a Barbara Deming Award and a Creative Renewal Fellowship for the Arts from the Indianapolis Council for the Arts.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Arts & CultureCampus

Creation & Creativity, Adam and Eve

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PUBLISHED ON Feb 21 2018

"Creation & Creativity, Adam and Eve," an art exhibit featuring works inspired by the biblical text from Creation- Genesis 1-2:2, will be displayed on February 28 at 6:00 PM in the Christian Theological Seminary's Shelton Auditorium, 1000 West 42nd Street.

Admission is free and open to the public.

The Religion, Spirituality & the Arts exhibit will feature the works of local artists Becky Archibald, Emily Bennett, Ellie Brown, Anastasiya Combs, Linda Henke, Elizabeth Kenney, Brigid Manning-Hamilton, Bonnie Maurer, Tracy Mishkin, Mary Sexson, Jennifer Swim, and Karen Van De Walle.

Religion, Spirituality & the Arts is directed by Rabbi Sandy Sasso. The symposium is an initiative to bring people together from diverse artistic disciplines, practices and religious/spiritual perspectives for a sustained study and reflection on a Biblical text. Selected participants are part of a seminar that will engage the sacred text as they seek inspiration to create new work (music, poetry, visual art, dance, drama, narrative, liturgical art). These works will be shared in the seminar and in a final community exhibition.

 

 

(Artwork by Bonnie Maurer)

Arts & CultureCampus

Creation & Creativity, Adam and Eve

The artwork will be presented one night only, February 28.

Feb 21 2018 Read more

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