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Robert Long
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Another song that works very well as music for ballet class is "Be our Guest" (Ashman/Merkin), from Beauty and the Beast. It can be transformed to have several uses, all assisted by the pronounced anacrusis, or pick up (the "Be our" portion of "Be our Guest")

At a slower tempo, using a dotted rhythm on the anacrusis, it makes a perfect piece for an accent-in grands battements exercise. At a quicker tempo, with a lighter touch, it works well for fouettes. Some ballet instructors like to use marches for pirouettes; this piece can fit the bill perfectly.

If you really want to get creative, you can change the meter to 3/4, and transform it into a grand allegro waltz.

There may be other uses, but all in all, this is a very handy song for ballet pianists.

Music for ballet class can come from unexpected sources. Pianists playing for ballet classes are forever looking for new music pieces, for variety of repertory as well as meeting classroom needs, so any source, unexpected or otherwise, is great to know about.

In a ballet class I was playing for, the instructor was marking the dancers through an across-the-floor exercise set to a waltz meter. As she was demonstrating, she was emphasizing the beats as follows: AND A one, AND A two, AND A three; the two beats preceding the downbeat were more pronounced.

Well, I’m not sure why, but a song that was a big hit for Dean Martin suddenly came to mind: “That’s Amore!”. If you’re familiar with the song, perhaps you’ll see the logic: WHEN THE moon, HITS YOUR eye, LIKE A big, PIZZA pie, and so on.

Fortunately, it seemed to work pretty well, so if you’re a ballet pianist, perhaps it’s a good piece for your repertory. And if you can sing it like Dean Martin, by all means.

One of Frederic Chopin's better known mazurkas is Opus 7, No. 1, in B flat. Mazurkas can be an important part of a ballet pianist's arsenal; they're great for releves, and some ballet instructors like them for pirouettes as well.

Several years ago, when I was just starting to play for ballet classes, I was desperate for any music I could find that would be suitable for classroom requirements. One day I remembered from my school studies Chopin's B flat mazurka. She'll be thrilled with this, I thought, thinking of the instructor I was working for. So, sure enough, I played it for an appropriate exercise, and was greeted with "IT'S NOT SQUARE!!". "Square" meaning in 8 bar or 16 bar phrases, and sure enough, Chopin's beloved mazurka is NOT square.

Well, if you're not adverse to committing the odd sacrilege here and there, you can convert this mazurka into square phrasing. The first 8 bars are fine as is, it's the next 4 that cause problems. So, to get around this, you can play the first 8 bars, then go back to the beginning, play bars 1 to 4, and finish off with bars 9 to 12. So now you have a square mazurka and hope that you never meet Frederic Chopin in the hereafter.

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For ballet teachers and pianists who like to use repertory music in their classes whenever possible, the following video has several well known ballet selections transcribed for piano. Each selection is presented with a helpful title, the ballet it comes from and the Act and Scene where it can be found.
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he music of Franz Schubert can be a very fertile source of music for ballet class. He is very melodic and renowned for his numerous songs (and of course many other works). There are several examples of what ballet instructors refer to as "square" phrasing, that is musical phrases of 8 or 16 bars, or multiples of 8 or 16. Here's an excerpt from his ballet music from Rosamunde:
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You can listen to the complete ballet music of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet with the convenience of a complete list of Acts, Scenes and Musical Numbers (time markings provided):
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With sincere thanks to all my friends and supporters, I would like to announce that I now have a second YouTube video which has surpassed the plateau of 100,000 visits.

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"All by Himself":
Courtesy of DanceTeacher Magazine, an article with suggestions for dance studios with a lone boy student in a school of girls: how to keep him interested, how to keep him from feeling totally out of place. Tips about costuming, choreography and more.
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Hope you can check out my latest ballet class music YouTube video:
Sheet music available. Visit me at
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