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Dance accompanist looking for advice!
http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=33922
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Author:  Eyrie [ Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:50 am ]
Post subject:  Dance accompanist looking for advice!

I play at a ballet school two nights a week, I just started in August so I am rather new to it.
It is my favorite job, I look forward to every class, and have started to take class myself!

Anyway, the teacher is pleased and would like me to do a workshop this summer on music. I am researching and trying to arrange what to discuss, plus activities.

As dancers, what would be the most helpful for you to learn about music? I am expecting to have many listening exercises, and also hopefully use some Dalcroze exercises as well (still researching dalcroze and eurythmics). I figure time would also be spent on vocab. I have a bit of an outline and was wondering if dancers here could tell me "more of _____" or "less of ____". Any input is greatly appreciated! The students are in ballet 6, high school age. Teacher has okayed the outline but she is very busy and I don't want to take up a lot of her time with details if possible.


Music theory and terms (lots of listening examples) - major vs. minor, "cadences", "phrases", "tonic", "dominant", polyphony, polytonality

Music history - eras of music such as baroque, classical, romanticism, modern -impressionism, expressionism, primitivism, neo-classicism. Common trends/qualities/ideals in each era/movement. The way history of music relates to history of ballet, etc. Overview of composers for ballet. Perhaps a bit on Balanchine, the relationship of his choreography to music, and his musical choices.

Issues of timing (dance exercises to accompany)- duple vs. triple meter, what is the difference between the words "rhythm" "pulse" "beat", explanation of rubato, ritardando, accelerando. Overview of odd time signature - 5/8 etc. Irregular phrasing.

Movement and music - Dalcroze exercises (hopefully!), analysis of movement in relation to beats using conducting, discussion of what makes a dancer "musical", compare and constrasting of performances (maybe using youtube?).

Author:  Dean Speer [ Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance accompanist looking for advice!

Each of the subjects within your outline seem quite good. I suggest an initial overview, so the students don't feel overwhelmed...and importantly, show how this knowledge does and can relate directly to their classroom technique/classes and how it may be applied to performance.

When I was a ballet student in college, my classmates couldn't always understand why they were in music theory ("Music for Dance") and were fairly upfront about their displeasure, so I think you need to be clear about its relevance and importance to their work.

That said, help and coach them to be more musical. I've been on audition tours, and I cannot tell you how often I see very nicely trained ballet students who are not also able to be equally musical. Often they are not on the beat -- typically behind -- and have trouble placing the "center" of their poses/shapes on the center of a downbeat; usually not anticipating enough.

They are dancing to the music but not necessarily with it.

Many teachers that I've recently interviewed for my book, "On Technique," http://www.upf.com have all said that many (and in a couple of cases, all) technical problems can be fixed by fixing the musical ones.

Good luck with your program. It's very important and I applaud your efforts. Thank you!

Author:  Eyrie [ Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance accompanist looking for advice!

Thank you so much!
Yes, I did not think of that but I should definitely show how the information pertains to them and their performance.
Thank you for the well wishes. I'm extremely excited about this job and putting together this workshop!

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