Tag Archives: Christmas carols

A christmas carol ballet class #14: Ports de bras – Coventry Carol

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trafalgar-sqaureTo download the song, either right-click (Mac: ctrl+click) the player above and select ‘save audio as’, or right-click (Mac: ctrl+click) this link and select ‘save link as‘.

Sorry about the wonky order of ports de bras after adage, but the version I wanted to do of Santa Lucia yesterday was too slow for port de bras, and I’m still racking my brains for any, ANY christmas carol that is suitable for tendus and pirouettes without calling the taste police. I may just commit the crime anyway, but I’m giving it another day in case I can think of something I can live with.

Coventry carol has been a favourite of mine since I was at school – probably because its modal strangeness is a relief from all the usual christmassy Victoriana  of other carols. I’ve played it so many times in a ballet-version that I’d forgotten how it actually went. I’ve kept it square for this exercise, even though the more irregular-shaped original is much nicer. This is yet another song that shows how very particular ballet class music is – people talk about ‘regular eight bar phrases’ as if that’s a common thing in music, but it’s actually pretty rare, except in a very small bandwidth of social dances.

A christmas carol ballet class #13: St Lucy’s Day Adage – Santa Lucia

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It’s christmas. I’m standing on the street corner of the web, handing out carols for ballet class.

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Ballerina Daria Klimentová with her lovely cat, Lucy.

To download the song, either right-click (Mac: ctrl+click) the player above and select ‘save audio as’, or right-click (Mac: ctrl+click) this link and select ‘save link as‘.

To most English people, Santa Lucia isn’t a carol. But if you live in Sweden (and some other places, I think) you’ll be singing this today, as it’s St Lucy’s day, and that’s what you sing. After you’ve put a crown of candles on your head and marched through the town. Read more on St Lucy’s day celebrations in Sweden.

And as it’s St Lucy’s day, and this is a ballet blog, let me introduce you to a very special Lucy from the ballet world,  Daria Klimentová’s cat. Lucy’s not only very pretty, but she also eats her food by picking it up with her paw, and then putting it in her mouth, which is something I’ve never ever seen a cat do before. A huge thank you to Daria for sending me the pictures so obligingly.

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Lucy, Daria Klimentová’s beautiful cat

 

 

A christmas carol ballet class #8: Battements frappés – Angels from the Realms of Glory

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It’s christmas. Have a carol for your class, on me.

tooting-sky2Just a word of warning – if you were hoping for subtlety, you’ve come to the wrong place.

To download the song, either right-click (Mac: ctrl+click) the player above and select ‘save audio as’, or right-click (Mac: ctrl+click) this link and select ‘save link as‘.

 

A christmas carol ballet class #7: Fondus – The Holly and the Ivy

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It’s Christmas (well, Advent) so have a christmas carol for class on me. Free to use for class, just don’t sell it on.

Holly from my garden in Tooting

Holly from my garden in Tooting

To download the song, either right-click (Mac: ctrl+click) the player above and select ‘save audio as’, or right-click (Mac: ctrl+click) this link and select ‘save link as‘.

I’ve known this tune since I was a child. A book of christmas carols, edited by Elizabeth Poston and Malcolm Williamson, credits it as an English folk song collected by Cecil Sharp (though Elizabeth Poston did the arrangement in this book). In Ancient and Modern, the 2013 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern, you’ll find the tune under ‘Christingle’, as the melody for the hymn It’s rounded like an orange, words by Basil Bridge. The tune is harmonised by ‘Compilers of Church Hymnary, 4th edition, 2005′. I found it only by accident, since the first line ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ isn’t in the index (because the hymn isn’t there). This is rather like that ballet thing where people only know the music to a variation by the the name of the ballet in which the solo appears, or the person dancing it. As the same solo can turn up in Paquita, Le Corsaire, or Don Quixote, this can be confusing.

Cecil Sharp heard it sung by Mrs Mary Clayton of Chipping Camden in 1909, but there were other tunes before that  (for examples, see here). My favourite, though, is the one sung in the pub at Dungworth, in the video below.

A christmas carol ballet class #5: Battements glissés – In dulci jubilo

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Have a happy christmas with a carol for class. Free to use, but not to sell on.

The fifth of December

The fifth of December

Finally, something that sounds like it might be useful for a ballet class. Sorry about the ragged timing, this is just a bit of fun, I’m not looking for a Grammy Award.

To download the file, right click on the player above (Mac: Ctrl+click) and select ‘save audio as’ or right-click  (Mac: Ctrl+click) this link and select ‘save link as’.

For people who are interested in such things, I have been convinced all my ballet-class-playing life that this song is irregular, and I’ve had to look at it 10 times just now to convince myself that it isn’t. By ‘irregular’, I mean unable to be sectioned into 4 eights for a class exercise. This is regular, but it sounds irregular to me because the lyric phrases are irregular, even if the final number of bars isn’t. At the end, you will hear a warning that the slow stir of ronds de jambe is next.

 

A christmas carol ballet class day #4: Degagés – We Three Kings of Orient Are

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It’s christmas. Have a carol for your ballet class. It’s free to use in ballet classes, as long as you don’t go selling it on ebay or anything.

The fourth of December

The fourth of December

To download the file, right click on the player above (Mac: Ctrl+click) and select ‘save audio as’ or right-click  (Mac: Ctrl+click) this link and select ‘save link as’.

I’ve quoted something shamelessly orientalist in this, to go with the title. This might be the moment to read about Ippolitov-Ivanov and the theme of the Arabian in the Nutcracker. It’s fascinating, I promise.