Welcome! Right off the bat I want to say two things. One, I have not the faintest clue how to create or maintain a successful blog (but I'm excited to give it a shot anyway). And two, I absolutely am not an expert on playing for dance or on classical ballet as a whole. However, what I do know is that being a ballet pianist is something about which I am intensely passionate.
I began this unique journey in April 2016. I was about to graduate from college with my Bachelor's in Music, and unlike most of my (probably smarter) friends, I decided against a music education degree. I wanted to focus on composition, songwriting, and collaborative piano. At that point my only experience accompanying dancers was in the context of a musical theatre production in which I was the rehearsal pianist. Still, it was something I enjoyed greatly. Ironically the director of the dance program at my college offered to coach me in dance accompanying, but I turned him down because of my already packed schedule.
I had almost forgotten about that missed opportunity when I stumbled across a job posting that April for a company pianist. Unfortunately a Master's degree was required, so I moved on. Fast forward to October of that same year; I happened across another dance pianist position; this time accompanying for students, not professional company dancers. And this one, I was qualified for. Was it too good to be true?
To be honest, sometimes I still ask myself that question. Here I am, two years later, a pianist at a professional ballet academy. I go to work to play the piano; that alone boggles my mind. That being said, with just over two years of experience under my belt, I am still an absolute beginner. I have met so many incredible dance pianists, many of whom have dedicated decades to this amazing field of work. I have so much to learn, and that is one of many reasons for this blog.
Somewhat surprisingly, being a dance pianist is not a very well-known field of work for musicians. I was not aware it was even a career option until I literally stumbled across it. Along with that, there is also very little training available for dance pianists. For example, only one school in the United States offers a Master's degree in dance accompaniment. So far all of my training has come from other dance pianists sharing their experience and expertise, as well as in-class experience with a (hopefully patient!) teacher. It is definitely a bit of a "trial by fire" situation. In some ways I believe that being a dance pianist comes with a continual learning curve; we are always adapting, always striving to find the best way to meet the dancers' and teachers' needs.
My hope for this blog is that it is a place where I can further that spirit of learning, along with my passion for this field. As I said earlier, I am by no means an expert or even an experienced dance pianist, but I hope that through my own journey of learning and exploration I can be a source of inspiration and support to others. Thank you for joining me, and welcome.