Patience Clements is the company pianist for Charleston Ballet Theatre and has been accompanying dance classes for over 30 years, beginning when she was still a teen. She studied both ballet and piano growing up in Washington D.C. and attended Interlochen Arts Academy, American University, and Manhattan School of Music. Patience has played master and company classes for Nashville Ballet, ABT, Alvin Ailey, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Eliot Feld Ballet, Harkness Ballet, Susan Jaffe, Gelsey Kirkland, Jill Eathorne-Bahr, Paul Vasterling, and many highly respected teachers.
New Piano Music for Ballet Class is a series of four CDs of original music for ballet class created to provide proper tempos and accents for all barre and center work in the serious ballet class.
Ms. Clements sent two of her discs for review and I’m pleased to be able to share my thoughts on them with you. Either (and perhaps all four) would be great additions to your studio music library. Both are available on Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby, Asgard, and more. Our links to Amazon (click the pics) and iTunes can be found below.
This, the fourth album in the series, is the result of a collaboration between Ms. Clements and former American Ballet Theatre dancer, highly regarded teacher, and choreographer, Susan Jaffe. Each piece was created for Ms. Jaffe’s class at her Princeton Dance and Theatre studio and later recorded in the studio.
Teachers will really appreciate the assortment of tracks for both barre and center, variety of tempos, and clear yet dynamic phrasing. Students will enjoy the diverse musical styles and almost singable melodies.
Most unique about the album is that a few of the compositions feature synthesized guitar or other string instrumentation. I personally like the change-up, knowing that students tend to respond favorably when given something a little out of the ordinary. But for those that prefer the more standard keyboard accompaniment, a duplicate solo piano version is usually provided side by side with the augmented track.
This album for beginning to intermediate dancers has 15 “Barre,” 10 “Center,” and 12 “Allegro” compositions. Though, as Ms. Clements urges in her album cover these may be interchangeable, everything is tidily arranged with plenty of lively tunes to keep younger or new students engaged and moving.
The tracks on this album are titled, conveniently giving clues about the musical style of each. There are Polonaise, Tango, Ragtime, Waltzes, and plenty of Polka. There’s even a hint of Broadway among the 37 compositions. New Piano Music for the Young Dancer features longer bands for beginners to fully explore each exercise and, once again, you’ll find tempos that are clear and appropriate for novice dancers.
This time, Ms. Clements’ Dance Advisor and collaborator is Kathleen Callaghan, artistic director of the Centennial Youth Ballet and a ballet instructor for the acclaimed dance program of Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation.
Looking for more class music? More reviews and recommendations:
- Five Favorites: Music for Children’s Dance Classes
- Richard Maddock Music (Review)
- Teacher’s Top Three: Music for Adult Ballet
- Teacher’s Top Three: Little Movers
And since Halloween’s around the corner: 40 More Haunting Halloween Songs
What’s YOUR favorite ballet class music CD?
Do you use any of Patience Clements’ CDs in your classes?
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.