Generally when I get asked for a six, the teacher is wanting a 6/8. Say adagio, or perhaps a fast 6/8 for allegro.
However, sometimes I get asked for a six with something else in mind.. music with 6 count phrases..
What if YOU are actually looking for a music type that is in six count phrases? You know there’s music types that are phrased and counted like that, but which one do you want? You might even spend some time trying to figure out which music type you want only to give up and plan your exercise using a waltz or a march instead.. am I right?
That's pretty normal, you're not alone if you are thinking to yourself.. "Ohh.. that's me, I'm so embarrassed to admit it to myself."
Here is a short synopsis of the mainstream varieties of 6 count phrase music available to you from quick to slow!
Plan on TAKING ACTION at the end of reading this blog post!
I want you to think about which exercises match the musical qualities that you're imagining as you read through this blog post.
For example, grand battement, pas de bourrees, relevai, piques, walks from the corner, frappes, allegro, etc. Keep these exercises, and others I haven't thought of, in your mind as you go through these 6 count phrase music types!
I'm sure you'll get a sense of which ones you might like to use.
The quickest of these is the mazurka. It’s light, bright, fun and a little bit cheeky! Say you want a six count phrase piece of music for a relevai exercise for pointe class, you likely want a mazurka! Think about a chandelier with diamonds, sparkly and lovely!
Say you need 6 count phrases that are not quite as quick and spunky as the mazurka but still lighter and moderately tempo'd, no problem, you probably want a minuet. Classy, lovely and in a major key, the minuet is a pleasure to listen to. Rather than the chandelier, I want you to picture the lights in the lobby at the local concert hall; perfect lighting that's not too loud, bold or 'in your face!'. Pleasant and enjoyable.
Now let’s say you need MORE from your music type, stronger, HEAVIER, more powerful and full, then you don't want a mazurka or a minuet. You definitely do not want a chandelier of music or pleasant lobby lighting, you're really actually wanting sound comparable to a stage with all the lighting on full power!
You want a polonaise in all of it's intense weight and power!
Say you loved the tempo of the polonaise BUT, you need the music to be a little lighter, a little sassier and rhythmically interesting! Instead of the boldness of all the stage lights on, imagine flashing lights at opening night; that's the beauty of a bolero! It's a polonaise with a treatment of Spanish flair and fervour. Spunky and powerful in one music type!
And finally, your slowest option, the Saraband. Slow and elegant.. and delicate. Royal, but not in the heavy, military march, powerful kind of way. Rather than the lobby lights, stage lighting, opening night, etc, the Saraband can be compared to elegant wall sconces with a dimmer switch!
Though we haven't gotten into how to count the 6 count phrases (I'll save that for another blog post), for those of you who already have that skill, I believe this knowledge can serve you well as you create unset ballet classes!
We all know that the futures of our dancers are directly tied to their ballet teachers and the well rounded, technically sound, musically secure training they provide.
As you may know by now, MY MISSION is to develop musical dancers by ensuring that EVERY ballet teacher can CONFIDENTLY understand, INTENTIONALLY choose and CAPABLY use music while teaching unset ballet classes. By consistently providing resources for you, I am purposefully creating a space for creativity and musicality to become tangible and life-giving tools in every ballet teacher's tool belt!
I've created a free resource for you to download and print out so that you can reference back to it when you're needing a fresh creative idea! Grab it here. I recommend printing it out and then filling it in with exercise types that you'd like to try with that music type!
Sign up here to nab your free 3 page PDF guide for ballet teachers who want to be more prepared and capable when it comes to working with a pianist!
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