There are few ballet movements that got me as intellectually engaged with ballet as the fondu did.
I was so intrigued that two legs, exactly the same length, had to travel different speeds from a bent position to arrive fully stretched at the same time. How was that possible? I remember trying it out when I thought no one was looking. lol. I was really really intrigued by the difficulty of the coordination of it.
And then came the music for it.. oye.
One teacher only wanted tangos.. another, always a barcarolle, a 3rd, 3/4s. I would memorize which music type different teachers preferred but I didn't know why they preferred them or, why they would never choose a different type.
Once I had spent time getting a decent grasp on ALL the different exercise types in a ballet class, then I circled back to fondus and began to give it more thought.
At first I thought, perhaps teachers don't know how to count the other music options with a fondu in mind.. or maybe they're just stuck in one type.
These days, after years (over 20 now) of accompanying ballet, I've come to the realization that it's really one of three things (If you have another idea, let me know!).
Let's explore those 3 options, shall we?
I can see that for Teacher A who has only ever used a tango for fondus, it might feel vague and too fluid to use a triple meter with the fondu movement; it's almost as if the dancers never truly arrive..ever..
Likewise, for Teacher B (who prefers triple meter), I can see the attack and accent that comes from a tango feeling too sharp and abrupt, not allowing for the budgeting of movement needed to pull off a quality fondu movement; the coordination of the legs is lacking and ...sad.
I can see both of these teachers finding it frustrating to use the other teacher's music for a fondu exercise. They know they like what they like for a reason and other music just feels wrong.
This happens A LOT! Am I right? Raise your hand with me if you find yourself defaulting to the most familiar music you like to use. You're soo not alone on that one! I find myself slipping into that rut myself. To stop myself, I actually have different collections of class music and I'll grab different bunches of music fairly consistently so that it doesn't get old for me or anyone I'm playing for.
For you, this could look like not allowing yourself to listen to your favourite album on Spotify when you're creating class or teaching. Different music will trigger different accents, patterns and qualities, right?! Soo good for you and your dancers!
This is a big one.
One teacher I know uses only 3/4s for fondus because it's important to them that their dancers are continually moving both legs. The right 3/4 is great for that. The wrong 3/4 will drive your dancers to pop up anyway so here you're dependent on the right 3/4, something with continuous notes and less of an accent on the dancer counts.
Another teacher I know prefers tangos because they LOVE the lift that comes from the bright accent in a tango. The dancers arrive and are well positioned with great lift in their body and pelvis at the top of their fondus when dancing to a tango, that saucy accent leaves no room for anything else, right?!
Another teacher prefers barcarolles because they prefer the continuous long phrases of movement to music that isn't too heavy. It's not about the arrival, a position, or one direction of movement, but the entire exercise moving together in long phrases of coordinated movement.
Is any one of these teachers wrong?
No. I think each one has discovered that there is a specific quality of movement that is more important to them than any of the other parts of a fondu movement and so they're focused on supporting that, in their music choice.
Do you use a variety of music types for fondus? Or are you a 1-music-type-for-fondus kind of teacher? If you are a 1-music-type-for-fondus teacher, I would like to challenge you to reconsider your mindset on this one. There are some incredible pieces of music that you're missing out on and some really cool impacts of music on movement that you're missing out on in your dancers!
It's December 20, 2021 and Christmas is almost here! New Years Eve is shortly after that and with Omicron here now (a fabulously mild virus), this crap-shoot of a couple of years should be almost over! (You should see the dance my soul is doing over that!) Please make sure you head into 2022 with an open mind musically and a thirst for seeing the impact that using different music has on your dancers! Experiment! Play!
If you're uncertain about how to count or use anything unusual, please make sure you take advantage of a Christmas discount code that I'm offering this year and grab The Official Music Training Course for Ballet Teachers at 30% off! That is a massive discount and will NOT be replicated, that I can promise you. It ends at midnight on Christmas Day so make sure to take advantage of that DISCOUNT CODE while it's available if this course has been on your mind! You'll get lifetime access to it so if you don't have time to work on it right away, that's ok, at least you got it on sale, right?!
Merry Christmas 2021 and a Happy New Year to all of you awesome, awesome people!
xoxoxo, Lorel L.
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