Hey my sweet ballerina friends…. A few months ago when the dance season was wrapping I asked everyone to stay IN. Stay consistent, keep stretching, take classes, listen to music, ballet barre in your bedroom and cross training. Then the summer sun came, too much free time, good friends and things that not only took our hearts and energy but did make us smile. Summer happiness crept into my life as well and the sunshine stole my heart. Which is why you haven’t heard from me in awhile. I actually have a million things to write about, so you may hear from me a lot in the next few weeks. I was having a hard time trying to decide where to start… I decided to start with one of my favorite gifts, which is always a song.
The last couple weeks I have been really focused on choosing music for this years ballet pieces. Listening, listening again, crying, dancing and listening. And so tonight I decided to start from the very beginning. The place it all starts- with a song. Without music what is dance? So it seems that as I look to the first week of dance, and my first blog for this dance season I should start with what matters The MUSIC.
As we all know I am addicted to music. All music moves my heart and I think it is my secret love language. As a dance teacher choosing music for you dances is crucial. It makes and breaks your class and the year. Choosing the wrong song can be painful, not only for you but for your students. It causes you to dig deep and try to find inspiration every week that should easily be found in the musicality of the music. Here are five things to think about as you listen to music and match it to class lists.
- Age and ability. This is obvious but the song needs to fit the students, Their maturity level as a dancer. Can they grasp the music, the notes and the theme?
- Music that was used the year prior. You want to give the class and students knowledge and the challenge of dancing to different types, tempos and ideas.
- Does it move you? I honestly think this could be one of the most important questions to ask yourself. If I cry when I listen to the song I know it is on the keep list. If it doesn’t move my heart and my soul I know it won’t move my spirit when I start to put the movements to it.
- Can you see the vision? If I like the song I can lay out the dance in my mind in two quick listens. This does not mean I have actual steps, movements and transitions but I have an overall lay out of ideas that will move the dance forward.
- Does it challenge you as a choreographer? hmmm do you want it to? Last year I honestly picked songs that were easier for me to create to. They didn’t make me think, but I loved them and they all came together. This year the songs that I have chosen are more difficult. When I was working on some ideas today, I considered bailing on one song, but… I know in my heart it is the right song. It moves me, I see the layout of the dance, it will move the students and I know they will grow. I also know it will push me, it will make me think, and it isn’t going to come easy to me. Guess what I am up for the challenge.
During the Summer I created a list of songs I loved. All that had potential for me to use in the coming year. Now that my songs are chosen I thought I would share with you the list of songs I did not use. I also have included some songs I used in years past. Click below for a playlist of ballet ideas. I hope as you pick songs, you dream, cry and are inspired to create big things. Music is the blank canvas. You are the paint brush and your dancers are the paint. Choose the songs that will bring color to your year, to your dancers, the stage and to all that watch.
I would love to play any role you need me to from afar. So if you need help choosing a song, seeing the vision, creating the steps or inspiring your students let me know. I want to share my love for dance across miles, oceans and skylines.
As always my gift is my song and this ones for you! Love Kelli