The Pianist of Ballet – Improvisation in ballet class
Now it seems to me that I accompany ballet since I was born.
Each combination given by the ballet master immediately ignites in me as sounds,
rhythms and accents. I grow together with the dancers, their motions cause in me
a response reaction, which immediately through the tips of my finger splashes out on
them as sounds, pushing them to the responding motions.
It is pleasant to work with the musical dancers, who value this and answer
with reciprocity. We play together in a team, we are in the ensemble. It is not
that I accompany the dancers and not that they follow the music – we are making exercise
together. It is good, when keys obey me as the piece of soap in my hands. I
improvise. Well, someone must make this at the lesson.
I once accompanied the dancing improvisation – that was really something!
Two famous girls, Vera Sander and Panja Fladerer, persuaded me to
experiment with this type of dancing technique. We have build a plot – who, when and
where – all very approximately: entrance, the solo of one girl, the solo of another,
the duet and the conclusion. Everything else was left for the liberty of fantasy and
inspiration. The excellent art came out! This was considerably more complex than
playing the class. Nevertheless there is a ballet master who gives exercise, and we
are limited by his framework.
Classical Piano Improvisation. Some musical conventions of ballet classes.
The structure of ballet classes and musical conventions have not changed since 200 years.
Some musical conventions of ballet classes.
Classes take place in a ballet studio that is equipped with barres. The class will be taken into two parts: barre, where dancers exercise each side of the body separately, while resting one hand on the barre, and centre where more exercises are performed, but without the barres.
A ballet master sets a series of exercises, typically lasting about 32 or 64 bars, which vary in effort, speed and complexity, culminating in energetic jumps at the end of class. Many teachers use recorded music for classes, though in vocational schools and ballet companies, live music is still the norm.