Recommended: Plié, Pirouette, POP!

Digital album and audio CD

by The Modern Ballet Pianist

28 tracks, approximately 50 minutes; $22 for digital download, $25 for CD

Justine Leigh founded The Modern Ballet Pianist—a collective of talented musicians who have played for American Ballet Theatre, School of American Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group and The Juilliard School, to name a few—with the goal of breathing new life into music for ballet class. The group’s first CD, Plié, Pirouette, POP!, will be a surefire hit with your teen dancers: Each track is a pop hit, played by a solo piano, and an accompanying ballet exercise is suggested (beginning with pliés at the barre and ending with révérence in center). Your students will love doing slow tendus to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” ronds de jambe to Beyoncé’s “Halo,” changements to Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” and grand allegro to Katy Perry’s “Firework.” (And no need to worry about editing out inappropriate song lyrics, for once.) It’s the next best thing to having a live accompanist in the room!

Both the digital and CD versions of the album come with a track listing that includes the tempo and number of measures in each song, to help you create combinations easily. The Modern Ballet Pianist releases a new album each month, and regular customers receive discounts. Ordering information can be found at themodernballetpianist.com.

 
Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less
Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
Getty Images

After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.