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I’m not a teacher but I have purchased several Ballet Class CDs for home practice. Every Ballet CD I have ever heard has significant deficiencies in my mind. But then we all don’t like the same music anyway and I certainly don’t qualify as a music critic.

I would like to give a little commercial for one that I bought not too long ago. It is called Dance Class: New music for barre & center. It is produced by Antoinette Peloso (who is also a dancer), with the music played by Whit Kellogg. I bought it at Discount Dance for about $27 as I recall. It was their most expensive Ballet CD at the time.

What I like about the CD is the length of the tracks and the order in which they appear. The tracks are long, with most between 2 and 4 minutes, which I like very much. I like the organization too. You can just about start the CD and let it play continuously if you are practicing at home and know the combinations you are going to use that session. The music is different and refreshing. It is all opera music, which I also like very much. And Kellogg is an excellent pianist. Superb in my judgment, better than any other I’ve heard on CD.

Tempos are appropriate, though the music for plies is a bit slow and the first petit allegro is a little fast. But I’m an old, fat, slow guy anyway, so I really don’t hold that against the CD. The second petit allegro is much more to my liking.

Meters and counts are given for each exercise. Some are repeated with a pause to change side, which is great. Others have the repeat as continuous, which isn’t so cool. My counts don’t all agree with theirs either. And some of the tracks are really really long. Take for example grand battements—128 counts. That is 64 per side with an immediate repeat. That’s just too long for the normal grand battements. But I’ve learned to work around this limitation. It turns out that there are 32 counts of what I’ll call traditional grand battements music and 32 counts of non-traditional grand battements music. What I have done is to do a traditional grand battements combination for the first 32 counts and then another combination that ends with turning to the second side for the next 32 counts. Generally I find ronds de jambre en L’air, petits battement, pirouettes, and balances work well with that second combination.

Degage’s are long too—128 counts, a pause, then a repeat. For degage’s I’m pretty much repeating the combination just to fill out the music.

Overall, I like this CD and recommend it to anyone. When I got it, first I would listen to each track and verify the counts. When you have a very long track, consider combining steps. I’ve found that I enjoy doing that, by the way.

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thanks for all that info, garyecht. maybe i should get that one.

my favourites are those by nigel gaynor (an australian pianist who played for the australian ballet, and has now moved to england as music director for a company there).

he has 4 class CDs out - called INSPIRATIONS, NATIONS, SENSATIONS - and i can't recall the name of the other one.

in contrast to garyecht's CD, these have relatively short tracks - 32 or 64 counts, generally. the music is bright and motivating, with suitable tempi and dynamics for the exercises.

gary - in general, i often use NON-plie music for plies - regardless of which music i have for class. often i find plie music too laborious and uninspiring - too solid. so: try the centre adage music, or some other track.

btw, i recall a long thread at balletalert where class CDs were discussed, and victoria mentioned a favourite pianist who has lots of CDs out...

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I have Dmitri Roudnev's Best of Ballet Volume V CD, and I love it. The tracks aren't too long, but they are definitely adequate, and the tempi are all very good, with some classic ballet favorites interspersed with the pianist's own improvisations.

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