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Class notes: great music CDs for many genres.


Ballet teacher Kathryn Sullivan says the class accompanist is "another teacher." So true. The accompanist can expand even a basic tendu combination or a magnificent adagio. The sound emanating from a piano (or drum or even a CD) provides emotional support and rhythmic energy as well as dramatic context--and even a touch of humor.

Dance Class II

78 mins.; $24.25.

A traditional ballet class played by Whit Kellogg with gusto and finesse. Terrific selections from the operatic repertory reflect Kellogg's vast experience at the Metropolitan Opera and beyond. And a. piano arrangement of "Bali H'ai" never sounded so seductively beautiful.

Percussion for the Dance Technique of Lester Horton, Vol. 1.

75 mins.; Written, $19.99.

Written, produced, arranged, and performed by Victor Y. See Yuen and William Catanzaro, these deeply layered tracks, created with a wide variety of percussion instruments from djembre to cola nut rattles, are all played live, communicating a kinetic exuberance. Included is ah instruction booklet describing the corresponding Horton exercises. Most tracks are five minutes or longer, perfect for extended movement phrases whether original or those of Horton's. Ana Marie Forsythe served as artistic director.

Live Choreography Collection Vol. 1.

74 mins.; $19.95.

This first volume of a series from Tezoro Productions is a variety pack covering all the bases in the hip hop and funk ballpark. It also includes tracks suitable for tap, "street jazz," "threatre dance, and one with an amusing vaudeville flair. Great one-stop shopping.

Ciao, Amore!

70-plus mins.; $29.95.

Wilhelm Burrnann and Miro Magloire dedicated their CD to Alessandra Ferri and Julio Bocca. This music for ballet class is filled with romance and detail, with music repeating exactly for exercises on both sides. Selections include excerpts from ballet and opera, with Magloire contributing some lovely original compositions as well.

Ballet Music for Barre & Center Floor A Fabulous Ballet Class

75 mins.; $29.98 each.

Kathryn Sullivan has supervised a series of six CDs for ballet class. My favorites were Ballet Music for Barre & Center Floor, with pianist Nick Levinovsky, who brings his Soviet jazz background into play. And for robust romantic flair, we have pianists Eugenia Ler and Flora Arbitman. A Fabulous Ballet Class, played by Doug Schultz, includes particularly energetic tracks for center floor work.

Dances for Recitals and Exams

36 mins.; $20. This excellent and varied collection reveals Nina Pinzarrone's experience as both a concert pianist and ballet accompanist. Lively selections from all over the world are interspersed with polkas and gavottes as well as Leroy Anderson's "Sandpaper Ballet."

Beethoven's Wig 4: Dance Along Symphonies

43 mins.; $11.99.

In case you thought many of your favorite instrumental classics were lacking text, Richard Perlmutter has come to the rescue. The first 12 tracks on this CD are familiar melodies (Bach, Strauss, Sousa, Joplin) performed with vocalists singing clever lyrics, for instance, "Beep Beep Beep," set to Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" (which has been featured on NPR's Car Talk). If this is not your cup of tea, tracks 13-24 are the original instrumentals, sans text.

Scott Killian, New Ballet Music 12

77 mins.; $30.

This CD from the Finis Jhung series for ballet class is both grand and simple in all the right places. Colorful digital orchestrations by composer and musician Scott Killian augment simple melodies when sweeping gestures are called for, or a piano alone sings a smaller song. The music transports us to faraway lands or days gone by with the sound of tambourines, trumpets, castanets, and more.

Linda Dowdell is a composer and accompanist. She was music director of the Mark Morris Dance Group and The White Oak Dance Project.
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Title Annotation:'Dance Class II', 'Percussion for the Dance Technique of Lester Horton, Vol. 1.', 'Live Choreography Collection Vol. 1.', 'Ciao, Amore!', 'Ballet Music for Barre & Center Floor A Fabulous Ballet Class', 'Dances for Recitals and Exams', 'Beethoven's Wig 4: Dance Along Symphonies', 'Scott Killian, New Ballet Music 12'
Author:Dowdell, Linda
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Sound recording review
Date:Oct 1, 2008
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