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Other ways of doing?

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this is a question of curiousity really... There are many ways of 'doing' ballet: dance classes, performing, going to watch performances... I just wondered what other ways there were of getting involved in the ballet world, and whether other ballet-alerters were involved in these alternative ways.


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Hi beckster,

I'd forgotten about being an accompanist!

A friend of mine played piano at his local dance school when he was a student. They advertised for a pianist in the university careers office, the only prerequisite being that he could play the piano and was good at sightreading!

He said the teacher gave him a few books of the RAD music, and when the exercise was a free one she's just say, this is 4-4 time or whatever it was. I think the class music books are divided up so the music fits with the exercises. Of course after a while of doing it you'd get better at judging what music would be good etc.

i'd like to hear from a pianist with lots of experience too though! My friend did it for a year and then his course finished. I think he quite enjoyed it.

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We have a balletalertnik who's a ballet class accompanist. Perhaps she'll post here.

I'm a musician although not a pianist. I've played for Irish step dancers in performances and know that one major quality of playing music for dancers is being able to keep the tempo. Inexperienced, or nervous, musicians have a tendency to speed up during a piece.

Once upon a time, I made costumes for pre-pro school performances. I also trained volunteers in hair and makeup (if you know me, you'd laugh, but I WAS good at it) for the ballet.

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In a previous lifetime, I was a repair tech for stringed instruments, and took an ebony block that we used for fingerboards and made a pair of castinets for my daughter. I got a thrill watching her use them in performance.

I've always been fascinated by the construction of point shoes and wondered what it would be like to learn to make them.

I am also interested in sprung floor construction.

Stuff like that...

the crafty Watermill

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I finally happened on this thread! Such a creative question! I have been an accompanist for dance for many years.For me it's a lot of fun,as I play several different kinds of classes from adult to boys to pre dance to World dance forms.Sometimes I repeat passages over and over and over,but often I'm with wonderful teachers who'll sing the whole class.I am proud to be known as the "Music Mamma."I do enjoy my job.One teacher I have been with for years says along with me how lucky we are to be doing what we love.For beckster-if you can play piano pretty well I'm sure you can be coached to accompany classes.It's a plus if you're a great reader(of music),but I know accompanists who improvise and read little.If there's someone on music staff at your school who will help you ease into classes that would be great.Pre dance uses creative music(being a butterfly,etc.rhythms to move to the beat,etc.)These may be good starting classes.You need to know ballet terms and what goes with them.It takes time and with experience you'll grow.I also took up some hand drumming and will bring in the thumb piano sometimes.I'm glad to help if I can!Of course another way to be involved is to try class yourself!Then you can see that it's not easy what your kiddos are doing!And while they're spending all that time in class you can get fit!Get into those open classes!;)

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Yes, let's have more accompanists in ballet class! It makes a huge difference to the dancers.

My involvement with ballet: I take classes, I teach classes, I watch videos, I see performances when I can (I hoping to see San Francisco Ballet's Othello this weekend), I do the BalletAlert thing, I audit master classes and transcribe the classroom exercises, I volunteer at the local ballet company whenever they need help and I usually sign up to help backstage during the Nutcracker. I'm sure there are even more ways to be involved but this is all my schedule allows for now!

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Hi everyone, thanks for answering my question! It's fascinating all the different ways you can be involved.

piccolo - you said

I'm sure there are even more ways to be involved but this is all my schedule allows for now!

- I'm surprised you have time for anything else!;)

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