The Pianist’s Guide to Dance Accompaniment

INS 486
The Pianist’s Guide to Dance Accompaniment

Registration for this class is now closed. We are no longer accepting applications.

July 18-22, 2022 / Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Room: A902

Yoshiko Arahata
In collaboration with the University of Rochester Program of Dance and Movement
Guest faculty:
Edo Frenkel, Jette Parker Young Artists Programme Ballet Conductor at Royal Opera House
Greg Woodsbie, SUNY Brockport Department of Dance

This course is available in two formats: a one-week in-person institute and a six-week online workshop. This listing describes the in-person institute. For information about the online workshop, click here.

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.

The course is intended 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 an understanding of basic chord technique. Basic music theory knowledge is also recommended. This course may be taken for credit (collegiate piano performance majors may use this institute as an elective toward their degree) or as a noncredit institute. No audition is needed to register for the noncredit institute.

This institute is designed as a residential program; high school students age 15-17 may reserve on-campus housing and meals at the Eastman Student Living Center for an additional fee. Due to COVID-19 restrictions for Summer 2022, on-campus housing and meals at the Eastman Student Living Center will be available for high school students only. All collegiate and adult participants will be responsible for their own off-campus lodging and meals. For information about on-campus housing and a list of resources for those staying off-campus, click here.

Orientation: Monday, July 18 at 10 a.m. (new start time for Monday only) – meet in Lowry Hall
Faculty recital: Monday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Hatch Recital Hall
Participant Concert: Friday, July 22, time TBA at the University of Rochester’s Dance Department

Planning your arrival and departure:
First scheduled activity: Orientation meeting, Monday, July 18 at 10 a.m. (new start time for Monday only) – meet in Lowry Hall
Last scheduled activity: Participant Concert, Friday July 22 (time and details TBA)

Professional Development Hours:  30
$1,820 / 1 credit   
$650 / noncredit    



An audition is required to take the course for credit. Please submit a current copy of your music résumé and a video that includes two pieces/movements, with at least one piece written in a lively character/tempo. Recordings are due July 8, 2022.

Click on the link at the bottom of this page to use our online Audition Form.

Audition video instructions:

All applicants must submit separate video links for each piece on the audition list.

All videos must conform to the following format:

  • Camera 5-15 feet from student, clearly showing you and your instrument
  • Uploaded to YouTube for ease of transmitting (unlisted links suggested; public links okay; private links don’t work)

Please send video links together in one Word document as shown in the example template below (do not forward individual videos to the Summer@Eastman office). Links should be “active” so that videos can be viewed directly from your document; you may wish to test this before submitting your audition.

Application material templates:

You may use an existing résumé if you have one; templates are provided in case you need help putting information together.

Audition Video Links

There is no fee to audition for this institute. Auditions will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received.

Audition deadline: Please send your résumé and recordings by July 8, 2022.


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