CPHS student involved in local ballet production

Amberly Tabor

Butler has been dancing for 12 years, since she was four years old. At the age of 10, she started more rigorous training, auditioning for roles in productions, and participating in summer intensives, which are five to six week long summer programs that last about seven hours a day.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to become a professional ballet dancer,” Butler said. “When I was 10, it became more of a reality.”

Butler usually practices ballet for two to three hours a night on weekdays and several hours on Saturday as well. The total number of hours lands somewhere in between 15 and 20 hours a week, about the same amount of time students spend at their part-time jobs.

Butler hopes to continue dancing after high school, and has also considered dancing as a career.

“I hope to go to a school that offers ballet classes or go to a city with a company and apply for a trainee position,” Butler said. “I definitely don’t want to give up on that yet.”

But dancing isn’t the only thing Butler wants to do.

 “I want to go to medical school and I’m thinking about taking a year or two off before I start college,” Butler said. “I could dance professionally in a company. That would kind of be the best of both worlds.”

She’s been told by her instructors that if she continues to stretch and practice hard, she has the potential to go far in the world of professional ballet.

Even now, Butler has already made a huge splash in the ballet world, with her role as Clara. In previous years she has played the smaller roles in The Nutcracker, but this is Butler’s first year to play the lead.

“I already feel famous because these little girls got an autograph pillow and came up to me in the hall between rehearsals and said, ‘Can you sign my pillow?’” Butler said. “It was so cute.”

Such demanding activities, however, does take its toll. Butler doesn’t have as much free time to hang out with friends or even to do homework. Sleep is a rare and precious luxury and caffeine is her safeguard through it all.

“The majority of my teachers are understanding and realize that people have a lot going on,” Butler said. “My teachers at the ballet school also realize that school gets tough and stressful at times so I sometimes have to skip practice and then make up for it on the weekend.”

Luckily, she has plenty of friends at her ballet school to keep her company. They take breaks from their long practice hours for lunch or coffee and because they have similar schedules, they can hang out more. Butler and her family have a Friday night tradition of watching movies and on Sundays, Butler goes to Starbucks with her dad to complete homework and wind down from the long week.

Her family has been to be a key component of her life, supporting Butler in everything she does, unconditionally. Instead of pressuring her, they actually want her to relax a bit more.

“[They] tell me that they don’t care if I have high grades or not and not to push myself so hard,” Butler said.

Butler is self-motivated when it comes to school. She realized what she was capable of accomplishing after the first semester of freshman year when the class rank came out and then decided she didn’t want to give that up.

“I’m very much a perfectionist,” Butler said. “There’s times I wish that I wasn’t so high-ranked because then I wouldn’t push myself so hard.”

Although leading such a full life gets hard at times and she’s wanted to give up several times, Butler finds a way to push through, creating a balance between her passion and her academics.

“You have to be willing to sacrifice and realize that you can’t always live the life of a normal teenager,” Butler said. “Really put in a whole-hearted effort.”