Dance and Music:
A Guide to Dance Accompaniment for Musicians and Dance Teachers

Harriet Cavalli


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"Harriet Cavalli has been a great influence on me and my work with music. She understands dance accompaniment better than anyone and explains how and why in her book."-- Mark Morris, artistic director, Mark Morris Dance Group

"An insightful and detailed guide that will help novice dance musicians to navigate the demanding and often unstated expectations of the dance class, providing an invaluable resource for both dance teachers and dance musicians."-- Kathryn Daniels, Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle

"All dance accompanists and teachers must own this publication."-- Ruth C. Petrinovic, consultant, Alabama Ballet School, Birmingham

Harriet Cavalli, internationally recognized as one of the most talented and experienced specialists in the art of music for dancers and dance teachers, presents here the definitive book on accompaniment, as well as her personal--often humorous--look behind the scenes at the world of dance. The text is enhanced by diagrams and 83 complete musical examples, providing a wealth of repertoire choices.

One of the most comprehensive books to acknowledge the intimate link between music and ballet technique, Dance and Music emphasizes the necessity of effective communication between dance teachers and their accompanists. Cavalli lays the groundwork with descriptions of most musical forms used in the dance classroom and stresses the need for teachers to make music a living part of their classes.

For the inexperienced accompanist, she describes the pianistic demands of the profession, as well as the qualities of dance steps and movements that will facilitate the identification of suitable music. She also discusses the kinds of dance classes an accompanist may work in and offers a lengthy section on the functions of a pianist in a dance company.

With forty years in the field, and firsthand knowledge of what dancing feels like and how to re-create that feeling, Cavalli invites musicians to move gracefully into the special, sometimes intimidating world of dance accompaniment.

Harriet Cavalli is the company pianist for Martin Schläpfer’s BallettMainz at the Mainz State Theater in Germany. She has worked for most of the major dance institutions in New York, such as the Joffrey and Harkness Ballets and American Ballet Theater, and with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, First Chamber Dance Company in Seattle, Zurich Opera Ballet, Basel Ballet, and Bern Ballet. In addition, she has studied ballet with Perry Brunson, Maria Swoboda, Flemming Halby, Donna Silva, and Martin Schläpfer.

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"Cavalli endeavors to encourage more musicians to explore dance accompaniment, to offer suggestions to those already in the profession, to provide musical experience to dance teachers, and to promote productive communication between dance teachers and accompanists… All those involved with the production and performance of dance will benefit from this book." - American Reference Books Annual American Reference Books Annual

By far the most thorough treatise on the subject in print. Highly recommended. Library Journal

"An invaluable introduction to the specialized world of the dance studio and company. While reading is no substitute for doing, the support provided by this text, along with over 80 musical examples of different tempi and styles suitable for dance classes will give confidence to the most inexperienced pianist, and offer a refresher course for those looking for a new approach. " - Dance International Magazine Dance International Magazine

"At last a book that will be of real help, value and interest to dance accompanists and teachers. Every page is crammed full of wisdom and helpful information. Harriet Cavalli's book is a very welcome addition to dance literature, and I am sure that accompanists and teachers ill find it not only useful but also a wonder source of inspiration. Whilst reading it I was constantly reminded of the maxim, of which all dance teachers are aware 'Teachers are only as good as their pianists.' "- The Dancing Times Dancing Times

Definitive book on accompaniment. Dancer

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