The Pianist’s Guide to Dance Accompaniment

INS 486
The Pianist’s Guide to Dance Accompaniment
July 17-21, 2023 / Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Room: A902

Yoshiko Arahata
In collaboration with artists from Nazareth College’s Department of Theatre and Dance
Guest presenters:
Søren Bebe, internationally active pianist and composer, creator of Music for Ballet Class
Winnie Cheung, internationally active tango pianist, Tango with Winnie
Edo Frenkel, Assistant Ballet Conductor, Royal Opera House
Emily Wong, pianist, American Ballet Theatre
Greg Woodsbie, dance musician, SUNY Brockport

Dance accompaniment is a great gateway for pianists to deepen skills in music performance, improvisation, sight-reading, composition, and mastery of collaborations encompassing broader musicianship and interdisciplinary artistry. In this course, pianists will learn methods for preparing piano accompaniment for ballet and contemporary dance classes, using repertoire and improvisation based in Baroque, Romantic, jazz, and contemporary styles.

If you are looking to gain skills needed for professional ballet accompanying jobs, learn an approachable method to start improvising music, develop exquisite listening skill, or find ways of collaborating with artists across diverse disciplines, this weeklong intensive institute will help you become a more versatile musician and artist.

A typical day will feature instructor presentation of techniques/tools to enhance dance accompaniment music, participants demonstrating their work in class, detailed comments by the instructor and feedback from other students, small group activities, and practice time. Assignments will include a variety of activities such as listening, arranging, practicing improvisation at the piano, and some composition. Participants will perform (with dancers) in a group concert at the end of the week.

This institute is designed for late-intermediate to advanced-level pianists (high school, collegiate, and adult). No previous improvisation experience is required, but participants should be able to sightread or easily learn Classical sonatinas and Chopin waltzes, and should have some knowledge of keyboard harmony.

Orientation: Monday, July 17, 2023 – Meeting in Lowry Hall at 9 a.m.
Faculty recital: Monday, July 17, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. in Hatch Recital Hall
Participant Showcase: Friday, July 21, 2023 time TBA with Nazareth College’s Dance Department

This institute is designed as a residential program; participants age 14 and older may reserve on-campus housing and meals at the Eastman Student Living Center. The housing cost includes three meals per day. Students must be 14 by the first day of the program in order to stay in the Student Living Center; students under age 14 may not stay on campus and will need to make alternate housing arrangements. Note that housing space is limited this year; please reserve early once you have confirmed you will attend. For information about on-campus housing and a list of resources for those staying off-campus, click here.

Planning your arrival and departure:
First scheduled activity: Orientation meeting, Monday, July 17 at 9 a.m. – meet in Lowry Hall
Last scheduled activity: Participant Concert, Friday July 21 (time and details TBA)

Professional Development Hours:  30
$725 / noncredit (institute tuition only)
$1,265 / tuition with housing and meals

Eastman students needing this course for credit should consult with the Academic Affairs Office (undergraduate students) or the Graduate Studies Office (graduate students) before submitting an independent study proposal.   

Read our blog: Summer@Eastman Spotlight: The Pianist’s Guide to Dance Accompaniment