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Topic: Ballet pianists  (Read 4074 times)

Offline Tash

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Ballet pianists
on: December 05, 2004, 09:50:39 AM
hey i was wondering if anyone here has had some experience playing for ballet classes? i'm considering doing it at my sister's old ballet school to earn myself some money and get some experience but i'm wondering if i'm capable of doing so. you have to have quite a large repertoire for open classes, and i don't know the difficulty of the set music for graded ballet though it shouldn't be too hard. so can anyone offer me any advice in this area of piano playing?
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline thracozaag

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Re: Ballet pianists
Reply #1 on: December 05, 2004, 01:38:56 PM
hey i was wondering if anyone here has had some experience playing for ballet classes? i'm considering doing it at my sister's old ballet school to earn myself some money and get some experience but i'm wondering if i'm capable of doing so. you have to have quite a large repertoire for open classes, and i don't know the difficulty of the set music for graded ballet though it shouldn't be too hard. so can anyone offer me any advice in this area of piano playing?

  I haven't played for a large class, but I have played for dancers.  Playing as steadily as possible (within reason) and above all, knowing the choreographer completely are the key, I've found.

koji (STSD)
"We have to reach a certain level before we realize how small we are."--Georges Cziffra

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Ballet pianists
Reply #2 on: December 05, 2004, 11:34:22 PM
I know that it is very important to have very good sightreading skills.  You will probably be given stacks of music to learn and be able to play any of them at sight if you can't remember them.  Because the music is for dance, the tempo must be very steady.  If you have to sacrifice the treble or bass just to read through some parts of the music, sacrifice the treble.

Offline anda

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Re: Ballet pianists
Reply #3 on: December 11, 2004, 08:21:02 PM
depends on what kind of school it is and on why they need a pianist:

1. the dancers learn new variations? then you will be given scores for those variations and everything is pretty easy - just play the score.

2. the dancers learn classic ballet, you are needed to play music for their exercises. now, you probably could find/ask the ballet teacher for scores for each type of exercise (and believe me, there are many types - depending on how advanced the students are), or - and if you can do this, then you have no problem - you can ask the teacher what kind of music s/he needs for each type (what kind of beat, rhythm, auftaktic or not, etc.), write this down, and then improvise every time. if you choose to improvise, it's also good because you won't repeat yourself and it won't be boring. and you don't have to improvise complicated stuff because they need the music to be simple.

best luck

Offline Tash

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Re: Ballet pianists
Reply #4 on: December 12, 2004, 01:04:28 AM
thanks all. i think the hardest part is getting the suitable repertoire and say if you're playing for an open class picking a piece of the right length and stuff. i think i shall have a nice listening fest of my sister's million cds she owns of piano music for ballet classes, and talk to her old ballet teacher and get some info. thanks heaps!
'J'aime presque autant les images que la musique' Debussy

Offline Floristan

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Re: Ballet pianists
Reply #5 on: December 15, 2004, 07:15:17 AM
I knew one ballet pianist who was also a dancer for Joffrey.  He had phenomenal sightreading skill, plus, being a dancer, he knew the entire repertoire.  I've never known anyone who could sightread like him, and always in tempo, first time through.  He'd fudge some stuff in really fast pieces, but mostly he was dead on.  Since he was devoted to dance, he didn't think his abilities as an accompanist were anything special, as though he was just driving a car.  Uncanny!  And he was just their fill-in pianist when the regular accompanists didn't show.  It sure looked like hard work to me!

Offline Nina_too

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Re: Ballet pianists
Reply #6 on: December 16, 2004, 04:01:13 PM
I've played for ballet classes before.  Rhythm and tempo are important, and you also need to keep an eye out for the teacher, as she will tend to cue your stops/starts, including stopping in mid-exercise.

I've only played for two ballet schools, and both had their own music.  One school (Russian-based) simply chose "standard" classical music that they liked--Chopin waltzes, etc.  The other was based on the Royal Academy of Dance, and they had a very specific curriculum with specific music that went with each exercise and dance.  You can even buy CDs of the RAD music, which many studios use in their classes.

You should ask the ballet studio what specifically they want, and practice a few times with a metronome.  There's very little opportunity or desire for rubato and the metronome will help you locate the spots you are speeding up or slowing down.

Offline piano88

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Re: Ballet pianists
Reply #7 on: December 17, 2004, 02:59:42 PM
Im a pianist for the Royal Academy Classes in London. Its hard work but the money is excellent. Don't be fooled, the graded music is very hard, be it RAM or otherwise. Your sightreading skill must be excellent also, and improvisation is a very attractive ability here. The most important thing is that you put the music to the dancers and not the other way round - you have to follow their every step!

Offline mnmleung

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Re: Ballet pianists
Reply #8 on: November 23, 2013, 10:51:36 PM
I would recommend taking some dance classes yourself as well.
learning
Chopin etude op 10 no 6
Chopin mazurka op 24 no 4
Szymanowski prelude op 1 no 1

Offline Bob

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Re: Ballet pianists
Reply #9 on: November 24, 2013, 12:32:54 AM
I wonder what ever happened to Tash.  She's been out for 5.5 years now.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Ballet pianists
Reply #10 on: November 24, 2013, 12:36:23 AM
I wonder what ever happened to Tash.  She's been out for 5.5 years now.

I wonder what's happened to a lot of the old PF members.  Remember Koji?  And Da SDC, Alkan-obsessor who thought he had madz skillz but didn't?  I wonder if he ever got those madz skillz for Christmazz.  ;D

Offline Bob

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Re: Ballet pianists
Reply #11 on: November 24, 2013, 05:18:02 AM
The teenagers grew up.

Koji is a piano professor somewhere, isn't he?

I think I sent Tash a PM on here a few years ago.  Didn't hear anything back.

Such is life.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."
 

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