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Ballet Pianist Life part 2- the things pianists have to learn

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

This semester I'm playing for Ballet Pedagogy classes- easily one of my favorite parts of my job! I get to work with dancers who will eventually be teachers and help them learn to communicate musically. (Hello favorite things!)


Here's a short list of things I didn't know when I started:


  1. Ballet class is for technique, not choreography! (different than musical rehearsals where we tackle both at the same time)

  2. Ballet combinations happen in 8-bar phrases. Always. If the music isn't structured that way to begin with, it's my job to change the music.

  3. Ballet combinations all have 4-bar introductions... that's why they always say "5, 6, 7, 8"! It's the last 4 bars of an 8-bar combo.

  4. In Ballet, "Coda" refers to a particular style of music that's fast and always in a duple meter. (Musicians use "coda" to refer to a specific section of the music... it has nothing to do with tempo or style)

  5. Dancers use the word "counts" to mean musical measures. Pianists refer to counting in the context of beats & subdivisions in individual measures.

Once we all start speaking each other's language it's so much easier to communicate and get to the beauty of music & movement.


Dancers- you're invited to join the discussion over in my Facebook Group Berlin Barre Talk!


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