Music for the Dance: Reflections on a Collaborative Art

By Katherine Teck | Go to book overview

10
What Is Musicality in a Dancer?

Like many other musicians, conductor Robert Irving unhesitatingly names Violette Verdy as one of the most musical dancers he ever worked with. One day the author questioned him further about this: "Mr. Irving, is such musicality an inborn thing?"

"Oh no!" he laughed. "Very much out-born!" Asked to elaborate, he suggested: "Well, they can hear the music while they're dancing. And they do hear it and listen to it. They understand it. That's not very complicated. And yet--" he paused to consider. "Some of the people haven't got the basic auditory apparatus to distinguish the sounds, to analyze them. I mean, there is an immense variety in the musicality of human beings, isn't there!"


VIOLETTE VERDY

A chance to hear Violette Verdy's thoughts concerning musicality came one morning with her gracious invitation to observe her teach the company class for New York City Ballet.

Long considered one of the most delightful of Balanchine's ballerinas, Violette Verdy went on to become artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet, and later the Boston Ballet. Most recently, she has rejoined New York City Ballet as a master teaching associate. In addition, she devotes considerable time and effort to setting both Balanchine's choreography and her own works on other companies in the United States and abroad. Her Set of Seven, to piano music by Mary Jeanne van Appledorn, was among the works featured in the American Music Festival presented by New York City Ballet.

When this dance artist finally sat down to rest for a few minutes, she was asked: "What is musicality in a dancer?" Miss Verdy responded: "That's dif-

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Music for the Dance: Reflections on a Collaborative Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions to the Study of Music and Dance ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • CREATION 1
  • 1 - Choreographers Talk About Music 27
  • 3 - The Partnership of Movement and Sound 51
  • 4 - Composer-Conductor- Instrumentalists 67
  • PERFORMANCE 83
  • 6 - The Orchestra for American Ballet Theatre 103
  • 7 - La Bayadère: from Rehearsals to Curtain Calls 113
  • 8 - Maestro, Please. . . . 123
  • SILENT ARTISTS SPEAK 147
  • 9 - Dancers' Tales 149
  • 10 - What is Musicality in a Dancer? 167
  • TOWARD THE FUTURE 185
  • 11 - Building Theaters, Patronage, and Artistry 187
  • 12 - Obtaining New Music for Choreography 193
  • 13 - A Festival of Ballets to American Music 199
  • Appendix 209
  • Notes 213
  • Bibliographic Essay 221
  • Index 225
  • About the Author 231
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