If there’s one word that describes David Plumpton’s Divas for Ballet, it’s “epic.” Few ballet accompanists could pull off playing Mariah Carey, Katy Perry, Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Cher on one album without the whole thing sounding campy or silly. In Plumpton’s supremely capable hands, the effect is glorious. Who wouldn’t want to waltz to Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway” or begin plies with Adele? Plumpton’s skill is in capturing the energy both of the song itself and the exercise it’s designated for. The result is satisfyingly broad in texture, encouraging a full range of expression and energy in the dancer.
There are seventeen tracks of solo piano music for barre and fifteen for center, with no repeats. All tracks are either eight or sixteen measures of eight. If I could change one thing about this album, it would be to include a track in 6/8 time for jetes at barre and for allegro in center. Here it’s all 2/4 and 2/4 time. What Divas for Ballet lacks in timing variation for the faster tracks, it makes up for with plenty of music suitable for adagio, fondus, and port de bras, both at barre and in center. The across the floor tracks are long enough for several groups of dancers to move without running out of music. This is a big plus for larger classes or to enable the teacher to look at smaller groups of dancers.
Because this disc contains only pop music, it’s not one that I would prefer use with great regularity. However, Plumpton’s skill and the fun melodies contained on Divas for Ballet make it a special treat for those days when the class routine needs a shake-up.