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The Early Music Week faculty share thoughts on the year's program

Ken PierceMay 13, 2016

Dancing to music

by Ken Pierce, faculty

It is possible to dance without music, or to dance "during" music but without an intentional connection to it. It is also possible to dance in a way that relates somehow to a piece of music, but without acknowledging its beat or phrasing.

We will do none of this. Instead we will learn dances this summer that were made with specific types of music in mind. The dances of the Renaissance and Baroque periods have a clear relation to musical structure and rhythm. We will learn steps and sections of dances from 16th-century Italy, including duple- and triple-meter balletti, galliards, saltarelli, and canaries; and from early-18th-century France, including bourrées, gavottes, sarabandes, gigues, menuets. In each case, we will be paying close attention to the way steps and music connect.

Although we will not have time to explore all of these dances in depth, we will be able to look at differences and similarities among a variety of dances and dance styles. The week's classes will offer a substantial introduction to a range of material, with emphasis on dance-music connections. I expect that the dance classes will be of particular benefit to dancers who are relatively new to early dance, and to musicians who would like to deepen their understanding of the dance and the music they play for it.

For the past twenty years or so, I have co-taught the Historical Dance for Musicians course at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, so I have a pretty good idea of what's important to dancing musicians, and of how to present essential material in an approachable way. I look forward to teaching some of the same essentials in a relaxed setting that allows for clear focus and congenial collaboration.


Recent posts:

EMW 2019:
Dances of Love and War, by Ken Pierce

EMW 2018:
Transformative Dance, by Ken Pierce

Transformation, by Larry Wallach

Music: A Transformative Art, by Pamela Dellal

EMW 2017:
Music and nature, by Larry Wallach

Images of Nature in Dance, by Ken Pierce

EMW 2016:
Dancing to music, by Ken Pierce

Playing for historical dance, by Jane Hershey

EMW 2015:
Language, by Pamela Dellal

Genre, by Larry Wallach

Legacy, by Larry Wallach

EMW 2014:
The Spanish Golden Age in the Netherlands,
by Anne Legêne

Sephardic Music, by Jay Rosenberg

Ensalada by Salomé Sandoval