Music for Dance Class: Emotional Flow

Cathy Roe has done it all in the dance world. Her experience as a university dance program director, TV choreographer, studio owner, master teacher and choreographer are all part of what makes her an in-demand teacher today. Roe has also produced more than 150 instructional dance videos and operates her own competition and convention company.

 

Even with all she has going on, finding great teaching music still excites Roe. “Emerging, innovative artists are always my pleasure to discover. Truly, there is no dearth of musical treasures to encounter, but it does take exploration!” she says. “I try to keep in mind that the message I choose my dancers to act out will be rehearsed in body and mind repeatedly. Therefore, the message needs to be one that is age-appropriate, pertinent to their emotional maturity and a positive influence on their young and pliable psyches.” Here, Roe shares just a few of her favorite finds.  DT

 

Artist: Enigma


Album: Enigma MCMXC A.D.
 

 

“This is my favorite CD for technique class. Just play it straight through and it works for opening stretches, pliés, tendus, dégagés, passés, floor stretches and battements.”

 

Artist: Pat Madden and Sally Potter

Album: It’s About Time

 

“If you like instrumentation, the song ‘Jubilee’ has me envisioning a duet for my older students. ‘Forever Young’ works well for younger dancers. I choreographed a dance to it that used sign language.”

 

Artist: UltraMax


Album: Resurrection

 

“Music for lyrical dance doesn’t need the most literal language. I look for music that is emotionally engaging so that I can tell my story without words. Max Formitchev’s music has inspired me many times. My favorite song is ‘Sweet Harp.’”

 

Artist: Gipsy Kings


Album: Cantos de Amor

 

“We can’t get around the fact that teen girls want to dance about love. I try to find different ways to fulfill my budding students without succumbing to the cliché ballads that rock their iPods. My preference is to engage the emotion in different languages. My all-time favorite is ‘Mi Corazon,’ by the Gipsy Kings.”

 

Artist: Second Opinion
 

Album: Last Rose

 

“A cappella songs are a stunning means of capturing the attention of both performers and the audience, especially when the voices are as enchanting as Pat Madden’s (who is also a member of the trio Second Opinion). Listen to ‘The Last Rose of Summer’ and ‘Add a Little Faith.’”

 

Artist: Leonard Cohen

Album: The Essential Leonard Cohen

 

“Leonard Cohen’s music is a springboard for ideas. A prolific poet, he weaves ideas through his lyrics that are fertile ground for visionaries. Many of his songs are covered by other artists, who add their own melodic voices and arrangements—iTunes has numerous versions to consider.”

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