100 tips for working with pianists #8: Develop a shared language
There’s no point in asking a pianist for a krakowiak if they don’t know what it is. Aim to build a shared vocabulary which means something to both of you. If you both know what you mean by a “diddly diddly” or a “cheesy waltz”, they’re the best words to use.
All the same…
Shared knowledge is quite rare in this field, because both musicians and dancers specialise so narrowly in their own fields, but it’s a great thing to develop. It’s not just about dance styles – it’s about having a shared reference pool of tunes & repertoire. That’s why I was passionate about helping to develop A Dance Class Anthology, which is a compendium of 50+ styles of music and famous bits of dance repertoire that are good for class which can become shared culture for pianists and teachers.