Maestro, Please. . . .
What difference does it make to a dancer onstage whether the music is piped over a loudspeaker or emerges from the orchestra pit, directed by the hands or baton of a live conductor?
One reply to this question was given by Victoria Pasquale, a gifted young soloist with the Joffrey Ballet. 1 She said: "There is nothing like dancing with a live orchestra! You do have problems, with tempo and so on, for it seems that no matter how much you rehearse, you never know what the music is going to be like until you actually hear it in performance. So you've always got to be prepared to change your tempo, to be quicker or slower. You have to have that little bit of anticipation of what's going to come next.
"But there is really nothing like it as far as the music 'bringing it into you.' You get a tremendous feeling of being part of the music when you are dancing to live orchestra, rather than just dancing to the music. If you haven't danced, it's kind of a hard thing to understand. But when you have orchestra, you're definitely more a part of the music."
"If you have a tape, you know the tape will be playing no matter what, until someone stops it," Miss Pasquale continued. "But the orchestra has so many parts that it creates a whole different feeling. It's not just one stream of sound; there are all different kinds of sounds coming up from the pit. And so, each time there will be some slight variation: maybe the clarinet will be stronger one night, or maybe the violins will be a little stronger on another. This can affect our dance performance, because we really depend a lot on the music as we hear it," she emphasized. "You can't dance without the music, and I think an orchestra really gives you a lot more inspiration and a lot more freedom. It has such a richer sound coming up to you. It certainly has more feeling in it than a tape that is being broadcast from speakers. It's just nice when you go