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As I have a bit of time off over the summer, I am compiling exercises I have devised for piano improvisation. These will lead onto exercises for ballet class. It's an enormous task putting the material together! Meanwhile trawling through the internet I came across a great article on Wayne McGregor using impro techniques in dance and documented/inspired by the computer.Titled 'Thinking with the Body' https://wellcomecollection.org/exhibitions/thinking-body-mind-and-movement-work-wayne-mcgregor-random-dance/?video=5

25/07/2016 13:25 By Karen MacIver
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. !
09/02/2016 18:34 By Karen MacIver

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.

04/02/2016 18:13 By Karen MacIver
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.
03/02/2016 11:06 By Karen MacIver

I've been posting a lot on my facebook page. Worth following for bits n bobs on info for class! https://www.facebook.com/MusicForBalletAndDanceClass

05/06/2015 15:09 By Karen MacIver

I see there are a number of music training elements popping up dance institutions around the UK. AT LAST!

28/05/2015 18:25 By Karen MacIver

Tomorrow sees the beginning of the assessment period for the Music theatre students at the The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. these talented people have to have a 'QUADRUPLE threat' now. Dance,Act, Sing and Play an instrument to a fine level. Poor students are sitting their Ballet exams tomorrow. Oh well Mikah Smillie and me at the helm. they wil be fine!

25/05/2015 19:14 By Karen MacIver

Just to keep you in the loop that I am adding posts to my FB page with loads of hints and tips on playing music for dance. Have a look on https://www.facebook.com/MusicForBalletAndDanceClass

only 5 more LIKES till 1000!

24/05/2015 17:25 By Karen MacIver

THanks to everyone who is Liking my Facebook page. I suddenly have over 800 and so it has spurred me onto writing so much more there. Please do have a visit at https://www.facebook.com/MusicForBalletAndDanceClass and contribute your thoughts. Like and Share would be good too!

14/05/2015 16:44 By Karen MacIver

We in the UK are in an odd position in that 56 of our 59 constituencies in Scotland have become Nationalist and in England the Tory party rule us all. The Conservatives have little regard for the Arts and are keen on removing non-essential subjects in schools such as Dance and Music. How little do they understand.....

This will be my only blog ever about politics.

13/05/2015 12:39 By Karen MacIver

Please visit (and Like if yu wish!) my page dedicated to music for dance . I shall post ideas and exchanges with you all to enjoy . Please join in, comment and give of your  thoughts please! https://www.facebook.com/MusicForBalletAndDanceClass

10/05/2015 19:58 By Karen MacIver

Some great dance companies gracing our shores again this year at Edinburgh Festival Have a look and enjoy!

29/04/2015 12:58 By Karen MacIver

I have had a dormant facebook page called Music for Ballet and Dance Class and to be honest am a bit busy to keep it alive. However, of late, I have had SO MANY LIKES that it has spurred me on to bringing the old girl back to life! Thanks all my dance pals worldwide!

27/04/2015 09:04 By Karen MacIver

If anyone is coming to Scotland to see or participate in the Edinburgh Fringe or Edinburgh Festival please do get in touch through my website. I will be there performing in my duo PianoPiano.Piano impro on two Grands!

31/03/2015 12:11 By Karen MacIver

Have a look at this article. My great friend Peppy Hills based in Birmingham does the most astonishing work!


26/03/2015 17:17 By Karen MacIver

As a little aside to my work in dance.....I am playing tomorrow night with my partenr in crime Hilary Brooks as pianoPiano. We impro on two GRAND pianos. Oh what fun! Tickets at The Maltings...Have a look or indeed come.

19/03/2015 16:51 By Karen MacIver

Tonight sees the official reopening of the GlasgowTheatre Royal in a gala Royal Variety show. Home of Scottish Ballet and Scottish Opera and many many touring productions for Ambassadors theatre. I'm playing piano in the orchestra for the lighter side of the programme....

11/03/2015 09:08 By Karen MacIver

In my other guise as PianoPiano, Hilary Nrooks and I are performing at The Maltings next Friday. Two piano impro. Bring it on!

More to come....

08/03/2015 11:42 By Karen MacIver

Would a music course tied to academic study of dance be beneficial? Discussing this with colleagues here. Interesting stuff!

04/03/2015 11:42 By Karen MacIver

The exceptionally talented Paul Liburd made a return visit to Scotland last week to impart his vast knowledge of classical and contemporary dance to the students here in Glasgow. I played music for his video classes available on youtube.#mce_temp_url#

24/02/2015 11:51 By Karen MacIver
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