Monthly Archives: December 2012

Hurray for Len Goodman’s “Dancing Feet”

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I only ended up watching Len Goodman’s Dancing Feet because I’d been stood up, so instead of seeing Life of Pi in 3D in what would have been my first trip to a cinema in almost a decade, I sat self-pityingly at home, trying … Continue reading

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Playing for ballet class tips #25: respect the ritual

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Class has a ritual, liturgical quality to it, particularly in a company. It is daily, it happens at a particular time, with such religious regard for punctuality that a teacher will begin class without music, rather than be late. It … Continue reading

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Playing for ballet class tips #24: Speak up – don’t act the pianist

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I can’t remember when exactly I discovered this, but it was life-changing. If you’ve got a question in class or rehearsal, speak up, don’t act the pianist. If you’re going to ask a question at all, ask it loud and clear. … Continue reading

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Playing for ballet class tips #23: Watch the teacher

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The advice to ‘watch the teacher’ is so obvious, it should have been one of the very first tips. But if there’s a reason I’ve hesitated so long, I think it’s because like many  apparently simple concepts, ‘watching the teacher’ … Continue reading

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Playing for ballet class tips #22: With harmony too, less is more

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If you’re improvising or harmonising a melody, there’s a lot to be said for just sticking to simple harmonies, and avoiding chromaticism or excessive modulation for the sake of it. It’s not a competition to see who can fit the … Continue reading

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Playing for ballet class tip #21: Make friends with a notator

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If there’s one kind of person in the ballet universe who can really understand where you’re coming from as a musician, and where you need to go, it’s a notator, whether the system they write in is Labanotation or Benesh … Continue reading

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