The Pianist’s Guide to Dance Accompaniment

This institute is now closed. Late registrations accepted only with instructor permission.

NOTE: Eastman’s Student Living Center will be completely closed for renovations during Summer 2024; on-campus housing and dining will not be available. All participants will need to make their own arrangements for housing and meals.

INS 486
The Pianist’s Guide to Dance Accompaniment
July 22-26, 2024 / Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (10 a.m. start time Monday July 22 only)
Room: OSL 101

Yoshiko Arahata, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University
In collaboration with Heather Roffe, Nazareth College Department of Theatre and Dance
Guest presenters:
Søren Bebe, internationally active pianist and composer, creator of Music for Ballet Class
Winnie Cheung, international Argentinian tango piano and bandoneon artist
Ruben Ornelas, contemporary dancer and director
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.

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.

This institute is designed for late-intermediate to advanced-level pianists (collegiate and adult, age 18+). No audition is required; admission is by résumé review only (use this template if you need help putting a résumé together). To apply, contact Dr. Arahata at; include your music résumé with your message. Registration deadline: May 1, 2024.

Students wishing to take this course for 1 credit must email Dr. Sylvie Beaudette at to register as independent study.

Orientation: Monday, July 22 – Meeting in Lowry Hall at 10 a.m.
Faculty recital: Monday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Hatch Recital Hall

Participant Showcase: Friday afternoon, July 26 (exact time TBA) with artists from Nazareth College’s Department of Theatre and Dance

Professional Development Hours:  30
$705 / noncredit

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