while many dance studios enjoy live piano accompaniment there are also many that don’t have that luxury and use cd’s designed especially for ballet class. with cd players capable of speed adjustment, and some of the wonderful cd’s available these days, this is actually not so bad at all : ) mind you, there are some lousy cd’s out there and i admit i can be a bit picky. i won’t buy a cd if the tracks are too short, or if there are not enough waltzes (i like waltzes, ok?) or if i don’t like the tempo of the degage’s or whatever- but the main thing that would keep me from buying a cd is if the music sounds boring and plunkety. because who wants to do tendus to a funeral dirge? which brings me to christopher hobson’s modern ballet studio melodies series. chris is the antithesis of boring. and while i have one teacher friend who thinks he’s “too crazy”, i absolutely love his music.
i came across the first (and only, at the time) volume of modern ballet studio melodies about 5 years ago, and after listening to sample tracks decided to give it try. mbsm cd’s are generally a blend of classical tunes, pop and theater songs and chris’ own compositions. well, i loved it and the students loved it- so much so that i decided to contact chris and offer up some praise. i don’t even remember now if i emailed him, or found him on facebook or what, but since then we have become great online pals. (we’ve not met in real life since he lives in bloody england, but he’s promised to play for my class if he’s ever in NY and i plan to hold him to that, haha).
so this (sort of) brings us to mbsm volume 4, which was released a few months ago. as on all previous volumes chris plays with great passion, richness and sensitivity. the adagios are beautiful and moving and the allegro tracks are just downright fun. you can just tell chris loves to play which makes everyone want to smile and dance! all of the tracks are lengthy so at barre you can repeat both sides without stopping or tack on a port de bras, and in centre you can run many groups without a pause. some of the highlights include “mr. bojangles” (and i don’t even love the original song that much but i love it here), “iris” (the goo goo dolls song!) “the fairy-tale song” from shrek and “fever” (the peggy lee song, in which chris really goes to town!) plus my daughter’s favorites on this cd – “brahm’s hungarian dance #5” and “on my own” from les miserables, both played brilliantly. my only issue with this cd is that for some reason the grande allegros are realllly slow, even sped up all the way they are slow. which is strange because this is not the case with any of the other mbsm cd’s.
but wait! i almost forgot the best part! on the cover of the cd is a picture of…… my feet ; ) ok, maybe it’s not the best part but if you are just a regular average person and your feet end up on the cover of a cd it’s sort of a little bit cool i guess. this came about because chris saw some pictures my brother dave, aka davewoodphotography, (renowned roller derby photographer and celebrated photographer of
naked people artistic nudes) had taken of my feet and asked if he could use one on the cd : ) thrilling, i know. look! here they are!
cool, huh? ok, whatever. anyway, if you happen to be looking for music for ballet class i would very strongly recommend this, or any of chris’ other cd’s, as they are all inspiring and exquisitely played. one more quick note- right on the heels of mbsm #4 chris released mbsm “musical theatre hits”. i received a copy last week and it’s FABULOUS! check out this and all of chris’ cds here:
and you can check out my brother’s photography here: : )