Category Archives: Advent calendar

Madge Gillings and Mrs Bagot Stack on record

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The Women’s League of Health and Beauty Exercises—music from the early 1930s, and a beautiful documentary, all online. Continue reading

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Kostrovitskaya’s career as a plasterer

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In these days when artists are insulted by the idea of having to retrain as something else, let’s take a moment to remember Vera Kostrovitskaya, famous pedagogue—and plasterer, restorer of Leningrad after World War 2. Continue reading

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Confessions of an anxious ballet pianist day #25: 9/8

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I was tempted to put the ballet-class equivalent of the Holy Family on the 25th of this advent calendar, to finish off the series with a heart-warming sentimental twist that starts “… in spite of all these things that make me anxious, I love playing for ballet, … Continue reading

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Confessions of an anxious ballet pianist day #24: Happy birthday

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Special occasions make me nervous. Take birthdays, for example. It’s someone’s birthday, and so one of the dancers comes up before class and says “Can you play happy birthday for so-and-so, please?” Sure I can. But the question is, when? … Continue reading

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Confessions of an anxious ballet pianist day #23: Metre-less counts

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An absence of metre is kind of cool. It’s like decorating a room white, having no books or furniture, and hanging Malevich’s White on White on the wall. You have no history, and you give nothing away when you mark an exercise with counts, … Continue reading

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Confessions of an anxious ballet pianist day #22: Inappropriate music choices

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When I say inappropriate, I don’t mean in 4/4 rather than 3/4, or a barcarole instead of a mazurka. I mean inappropriate in the sense of “Oh no. Let the earth swallow me up. Get me out of this tune … Continue reading

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