Well I've been posting a LOT of material on my facebook page Music for Ballet and Dance Class. Loads of info and ideas. So now I'm asking for guest contributors to my page. First up my student Anna Shneider from Poland who trained in Austria then came to UK to join us at Scottish Ballet for 2 years. Wonderful!
There's a whole world out there of musicians who are really great at connecting in the world of dance. I guess the next step is to find a place where we can communicate our ideas to young enthusiastic techers and dancers who would like to know more about our world. Get in touch with me and we can start setting up contacts!
Disamyed to find that no teachers signed up for the Exploring Musicality CPD in Glasgow next week. It's more vital to a teacher and student's career in every way. A heartfelt plea. Don't stop the music. https://www.rad.org.uk
Well it's a grand day when a vocational school gets in the big guns as head of their music department. Well done Robert Parker for appointing Jonathan Still at Elmhurst School of Dance.http://www.elmhurstdance.co.uk/home.html
I think many of us wonder how we can optimize our presence on Linkedin. Well can I sugget you join a Group and you will suddenly find you have a world of like-minded colleagues.Teachers of Classical Ballet: here's a great link:https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2387086
Thanks to everyone who has bought or downloaded music from my site. I know it's a pain, but if you had just two minutes to post a review of my music - especially with ideas of what you would like - it would really help me identify what I can do to help dancers and dance teachers! Meantime here's a promotion for a GREAT event happening in London next week with the wonderful Mikah Smillie at the helm. I did an arrangement of the opening number Railroad Rhythm . National Youth Ballet nationalyouthballet.org is a wonderful organisation encouraging young dancers into the profession.
I've just been writing about musical instinct and how we , as dance musicans, should harness that. Not only to know your instrument well, but to understand how harmony and melody influence rhythm. I often work with dance teachers who I love and can kind of predict what they are going to do next .we can read body language more than you can imagine. I descibe playing well as a good game of chess to my students. Hope they get it! Have a read at this interesting article....http://www.ucalgary.ca/hic/issues/vol2/5
Well that's me finished the first draft of my book on music for ballet class. Sometimes it seems impossible to negotiate the difficulties of PRS,MCPS and PPL. However a request for usage I sent to Universal www.umusic.co.uk - the biggest worldwide publishers - could not have been easier. Lovely emails, helpful staff and all for just one tiny request. Thanks for making life easy for musicians! Is that not what it's all about?!
It's a great time of year for young dancers to get to know what they are capable of. Especially working with top class ballet teachers from all round the world. The difference many young dancers will notice is that Summer Schools use live music and if they are used only to examination syllabus music on CD they will find this an uplifting experience. Enjoy yourselves!
Thanks for your great comments on Bethany's insight. Here is her last contribution. If YOU wish to be our next guest blogger please get in touch!
3. Pay attention to how the music makes you feel.!
Musicians have their instruments; for dancers, their body is their instrument. The next time you’re in class, pay attention to how your body responds to the music. Sure, the structure of class dictates that you practice specific steps and combinations. However, emotional reactions to the music can clue you in to what kind of instruments, rhythms, and tones speak to you the most. Do you well up during adagio? Does the sound of violin make you cringe? Do you come alive with fast footwork? Our bodies are not merely machines for executing technique, but conduits for musical expression. Acknowledging the role music plays in your dancing will make you a better artist, helping you to be less self-conscious and a more seasoned performer. !
The marriage of classical music and ballet technique has produced some of the world’s finest performing artists. Whether you’re a professional dancer, or total novice, finding ways to connect to the music will give you greater insight into your craft. !
As promised, here is the next instalment from Bethany Leger. Thanks again to here and her work at Here she talks about composers.... 2. Research composers. Does your iPod library list only the latest pop hits? Try adding a classical song or two to change things up. Cultivating an interest in classical music will make you a better dancer. Not sure where to start? Famous full-length ballets like The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Romeo and Juliet boast some of the most popular, easily digestible pieces to introduce you to the world of classical music. Tchaikovsky too daunting? You can listen to albums composed specifically for ballet class, such as the musical stylings of Karen MacIver, a professional pianist who has played directly for the Scottish Ballet. There is no shortage of inspiration out there—CDs, DVDs, even YouTube can provide insight into the world of traditional and contemporary composers.
Hello and Happy 2016 to everyone. I have a wonderful guest blogger with me for a few days and thought you might like to hear her insight as a dancer and teacher in Dallas, Texas. Bethany Leger is host to a great website http://BalletForAdults.co/
Music and Movement: 3 Tips For Ballet Dancers
Music plays a significant role in the life of a dancer. Without it, dance would be reduced to mime. Classical ballet in particular incorporates some of the most beautiful music in the world, melodies that allow the dancer to express themselves and the movement in a way that no other dance form can. With the advent of social media and technology, it can be difficult for younger generations to develop a relationship with the more traditional, classical realm. Consider three tips dancers of all ages and abilities can use to better connect with the music they hear in class.
1. Attend class with live music, if possible.
There is nothing like live piano accompaniment in ballet class. Granted, not all schools have the budget to provide live music, and in these cases, recorded music works fine. It is not uncommon for teachers to house full-blown entertainment centers with complicated knobs, multiple disc changers, and now, iPod docks. If you’re able to attend a class with live accompaniment, by all means, trade the boom box for a pianist. The clear melodies and concise tempos add an interactive, more professional dimension to class. Not to mention, the teacher doesn’t have to mess with remote controls, or worse, interrupt class by walking back and forth to the CD player. Giving a professional the task of managing the music allows the teacher to perform their job more efficiently, and exposes students to the skills of a live pianist.