A Ballet Class with David Howard

"Accompaning ballet and modern dance classes has been a big part of my life over the years. I accompanied my first classes in 1980 as part of my Composer-in-Residency for the Dance Program at Northwestern University, and, moving back east in 1983, I continued to accompany for New Jersey ballet and most of the major dance studios in New York City. In time, I became Composer-in-Residence for the New World School of the Arts Dance Division (Miami, 1993-99),  Music Coordinator for Mark Morris Dance Group (2006-12), and Company Pianist for Dance Theatre of Harlem (2012-13).

 

"Whether accompanying a ballet or a modern class, I watch and listen to the teacher very carefully  to determine which music will best suit the phrasing, kinesthetic quality, and meter of the various dance combination. My dance-music reportoire is drawn from numerous sources: classical, folk, ragtime, Broadway, but no music is played "as written." Rather, the pieces I select are invariably mere points of departure on which I improvise, continuously altering my playing to inspire the dancers along and reflect the evolving movement patterns.

 

"This page has excerpts from the music I performed in accompaning a  class led by David Howard at Broadway Dance Center on August 8, 2013. Between 2001 and 2013 we had collaborated on hundreds of classes at BDC and Steps, but this was to be our last one; the great teacher passed away only a few days later."    - Bruce Lazarus

Plies - Icarus, Paul Winter

Tendu - Ghost Rag, William Balcom

Degage - Two Sailor Songs

Ronde de jambe - Kurt Weill

Tendu (2) - Tango

Battements - Liberty Bell March

Porte de bras - Rag,  Joplin, converted to waltz

Ronde de jambe en l'air, Schubert

 Adagio - "As Simple As That"

       from Milk and Honey

Pirouettes - Waltz Medley

Piques - French Salon Galops

Free Stretch - original