For those of you who are teaching ballet at a competition studio there are tons of ways to make ballet class interesting. With all of these ballet pop CDs… you can find top 40 and rock songs to fill your ballet classes. While I’m not the biggest fan… It does keep the kids entertained and they are able to count the music better. Charles Mathews put out his first POP HITS for ballet class while Nate Fifield has put out his third volume that followed his Hollywood Theme Songs. (Don’t forget, to buy, you just have to click the image)
If you are a LALA Land fan, David Plumpton made a supplemental CD of La La Land tracks. Not a full class, but if you are like me and make new playlists for every class, there are some pretty good tracks to put in! ($11.99 USD)
He also has put out another volume of Ballet goes Rock and Roll. And if you missed his summer album it is all TV show theme songs. ($15.99)
Don’t forget!! If you are in LA or Orange County this upcoming week!!
a vacation… haha just kidding, no really they do, myself included… But who has time these days to go on vacation?
Now for the real post…
As a ballet teacher, I always find it hard to find good ballet music. Sure, there are a lot of great CDs out there, but sometimes the quality is not that great, the tracks aren’t long enough for longer combinations, the tempos don’t make a lot of sense, or they are just structured kind of funny. The reality is, it would be nice to have a pianist that can play by ear and understand how to play with music in correlation to the steps, but if the budget isn’t there it isn’t there. For the past couple years, I have been mixing and matching CDs together and creating my own playlists of different CDs. Some of my favorite accompanists include (Charles Matthews, Alessio De Franzoni, David Plumpton, Nate Fifield and Gill Civil) All of these accompanists are brilliant for ballet class and all for different reasons. But, my newest, and latest and greatest discovery is for VARIATIONS class. This is a must have for every ballet teacher out there. UK basedCharles Matthews recently created a collection of CDs that are rehearsal versions of variations for men and women. The collection spans 8 discs but covers literally every variation you will ever need. Specifically, there is a great rehearsal version of Laurencia and his rehearsal version for Talisman. These discs are affordable through his website, and a little more expensive on iTunes, but available. The sound quality is great, and are set at great tempos for all levels of dancing. For beginners it lets the dancers focus on the steps and technique. For the intermediate dancer it allows for the dancer to explore phrasing within the melody. And for for the advance dancer, it allows for artistic exploration within all of the notes he captures from the orchestrated versions.
Another great set of music he created are his ballet class discs as a lot of the music is ballet repertory music, so it helps familiarize students with music from the ballet. It also helps them learn how to recognize music from different ballet scores. It is definitely something worth the purchase, and a great teaching tool. It is also a great companion to the Guide to Variations.
While Lisa Harris set the standard for music for class, and Rob Thaller gave us the classics… There is a new wave of CDs out there for teachers to use. The biggest one right now is David Plumpton… He really does have some great CDs out there. Additionally, there is Charles Mathews who uses a lot of classical ballet pieces in class form and tempos. They are cozy. Then there are the CDs by Craig WIngrove that are really nice as well. He has a categorized his CDs really well. Actually all three of them have. I also really enjoy using Eun Soo Kim’s tribute to L. Minkus. It is really good for a slower paced class. I have discovered Debbie Parks and Norman Higgans who have crafted full ballets into class work. The only issue is that barre and center are two separate CDs… I would buy them, but not that committed to them yet. The collection consists of The Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Coppelia and La Bayadere, All of these composers/ accompanists/ arrangers have mastered musicality for class and designed each CD over a musical journey. It isn’t just a hodgepodge of music for class steps. Each one is actually well thought out to capture the character of the step, timing and musicality.