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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Can you teach rhythm?

Guest CarminaBurana

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knock, knock This isn't my group so delete if you want. I also had no rhythm. I'm not a ballet student. The way I have learned rhythm has been by conducting the songs for my church congregation. I started by learning to read music. Since this woman can already play and sing. Perhaps learning to conduct choir songs, in addition to ballet, would get her body and ear more connected by being able to read along. I started conducting by reading the music while the pianist was playing and gesturing the time signature rather than leading the pianist. Eventually I was able to feel/hear the beat without looking at the sheet music.

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I think that rhythm/coordination and all sorts of other issues are tied up in different parts of the same bundle. That's what ballet class is for, to work over the whole bundle! :rolleyes:

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I asked DH this question to see what his response was. (band/orchestra teacher)

He said that yes, in layman's terms you can teach someone to "follow" rhythm. That is very different from teaching someone to be rhythmic, which is more innate. What you are teaching when attempting to teach rhythm is actually teaching logic and math. To count and break down counts/beats. That will not make a person musical as musicality involves not just being rhythmic but also feeling internally the rhythm. But it definitely can make a person stay on a beat as testified daily in his rehearsals with musicians who are following to a "T" the conductor, playing the right notes at the right time but their little foot that is supposed to be keeping the beat is flailing around haphazardly stomping to some song that is playing miles away but not what they are involved in playing.


Thinking about dancing, he said that yes, he can see where a person can be taught easily to follow the rhythm or at a minimum those around them dancing on the beat. However, throw a different or unusual meter to them and they will need retraining by counting for them or at least breaking down the rhythm so that they know how to "find" it. . The musical person will just jump right in as their internal clock just changes to accomodate what was played.


for what it's worth!


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  • 3 weeks later...

Can someone suggest recordings that would be good to use to get used to ballet music? I like classical music in general, and music specific for ballet would be nice. I've seen a few at Discount Dance Supply, but I'm not sure which would be best or recommended. :)


I do find this different from the hula dance that I also learn, because we have specific songs for choreography. In ballet, it just seems to be general piano music.

Edited by papillon
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One question here: What kind of ballet music are you trying to become accustomed to? Is it the kind that is actually used in performances, or the kind encountered in class? If the former, listen to "sampler" recordings easily available from Amazon.com. They even have ballet class music available, so pick what you want, and listen away.

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