Dance And Your Smartphone

Smartphones are becoming omnipresent, and depending on what you do in dance, you may want to consider building your own app. Like applications on your computer, an app for a smart phone can do numerous things. For example, a ballet company may want to provide information on shows, tours or other upcoming events, whereas a studio might want to have class and recital information available to the public. You could also use your phone app to direct fans to your website, show them videos, and more.

Those who want to be, if not ahead of at least on the curve, can find an easy iPhone app builder or an easy Android app builder and start figuring out ways to best reach their customers. Here’s one I found doing a simple search—which I may try and use for 4dancers to build an app in the coming year.

Keeping up on smartphone technology, social media and other ways to advance your brand is always a good idea, and you can make an app work for you in many different ways, depending on your needs. After all, the more channels through which people can reach you and learn about your studio/company, the better!


The “One Dance, One Chance” Competition

Do you have a dance group that has terrific choreography and a lot of spunk? If so, you might want to consider entering the following dance contest…

Ovation, a television network that is devoted to arts culture, has launched the One Dance, One Chance competition–where one lucky class will win a $10,000 grant or scholarship as well as exposure on national TV. This contest is open to all groups in the U.S., with members age 13+.

Here is an overview of some of the details:

  • Dance groups need to have at least three members and the teacher/professor/coach or instructor should submit a 1-3 minute video of a recent performance to (Limit one entry per group.)
  • All dance forms are acceptable.
  • Entries will be judged on creativity/originality, form, technical dance skills and group choreography.
  • The Finalists, Viewer’s Choice Winner and Grand Prize winner will be announced January 2012.

All of the requirements are spelled out clearly on Ovation’s site, so for more details, check their page. The deadline for entry is December 1st, 2011.


10 Questions With…Robert Long

Robert Long

Today on 10 Questions With… we have Robert Long, a musician who plays for dancers…

1. Can you tell readers a bit about how you got into music?

I started in music the way most kids probably do. There was a lady in the village who gave piano lessons, so off I went. I was 7 or 8.

2. How did you wind up playing for dancers?

I had finished university (Mus. Bach, M.A., University of Toronto), and couldn’t find any employment.Through friends I received some contacts for ballet schools, so I decided to give it a try, even though I had no idea what to play.

3. What are the special considerations you must address when arranging music for dance class?

For me, the considerations to be addressed involve the instructor I’m working with. Some like quicker tempos, some slower; some like lengthy exercises, some shorter, and so on. Beyond that, an instructor could have personal preferences: ragtime, tangos, habaneras, adages in 4/4 instead of 3/4, continuous exercises at the barre with 4 counts to turn the middle; things like that.

4.  What do you enjoy most about working on this type of music?

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Review: Modern Ballet Studio Melodies, Volume 3

Yet another ballet class music CD by Christopher Hobson, and it does not disappoint. Modern Ballet Studio Melodies, Volume 3 has more of the excellent quality music that I have come to expect from his albums. Again, this CD is filled with unique arrangements of familiar music, such as “The Way We Were”, “Rehab”, “Misty” and more.

There are 17 tracks for the barre and 36 for the centre. Frankly, I think that owning all three of these CDs would be a great idea for any ballet teacher or studio owner. They add a bit of spice and verve to the class environment without being silly. It’s nice to change things up a bit here and there.

If you can’t have a live pianist, it pays to invest in good music that you will be able to use again and again. This CD of ballet class music qualifies–and it is available in the UK (as well as other places…see link below) – something that I get requests for all the time.

It’s obvious that Hobson plays for dancers. Not every pianist can arrange music so that it is paced correctly without taking the life out of it. He is able to maintain passion and energy while keeping proper time for the exercises. Well done indeed.

Keep an eye on what’s up with Christopher Hobson and his music by joining him on Facebook


If you like, purchase Modern Ballet Studio Melodies, Volume 3 here.


10 Questions With…Jacob Lyon

Today’s “10 Questions With…” features Jacob Lyon from Ballet Quad Cities….

Jacob Lyon

1. How did you become involved in dance?

I had done a few years of show choir in high school with no formal training.  Then, when I was 18, a friend of mine asked if I would join her in taking the ballet class at the community college we were attending.  I didn’t have any reservations or anything better to do, so I did.

When I went to buy my first pair of shoes, and the store was attached to a studio.  While I was trying on shoes, the owner of the studio walked in and stopped dead in her tracks and said, “oh, a boy!”  She told me that if I took the ballet partnering class and one other ballet class a week, I could take as much as I wanted of everything for free.  The partnering with the ladies was my favorite class, and I started taking as many ballet classes as I had time for.  The rest is history.

2. What are you currently doing in the field?

Currently, I dance for Ballet Quad Cities.  We do a lot of contemporary work along with some character and modern dance.  I love being in a small company because I dance till I drop.  Even in shows when I don’t feel like I’m dancing much, I remember that in larger companies, people sometimes only get to do ONE thing in a show.  We all get to dance a lot, and I get the opportunity to dance a lot of great parts that I would never have gotten in a larger company.  The friendships I have made with the other dancers are also increasingly more important the older I get.

3. Can you share a special moment from your career?

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Review: Modern Ballet Studio Melodies, Volume 2

I reviewed Volume 1 of Modern Ballet Studio Melodies recently on the site and gave it a big “thumbs up”. This CD, Modern Ballet Studio Melodies 2 is another good choice if you are hoping for ballet class music that is different from the typical fare.

Again breaking out of the traditional box, Christopher Hobson puts out renditions of familiar songs such as “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'”, “The Swan, from Carnival of the Animals”, “I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin”” and even the “Mexican Hat Dance”! Treat yourself to lovely arrangements of these favorites and spice up your ballet class a bit without taking things over the top.

Hobson is obviously a top-tier player, and he also has experience arranging and playing classical piano music for the ballet class. This is an important factor, and the tunes here work well for both barre and centre exercises. The barre has 18 tracks to choose from, including staples such as plie, tendu, round de jambe and grand battement, and the centre offers a lovely adage, as well as pirouettes, jumps and several allegros to choose from.

All in all this is really a successful CD, and it is available in the UK, which, from what I’ve heard has a dearth of good ballet class music out on the market. I really enjoyed both this CD and the previous one. There’s one more coming up–so stay tuned (argh!) to hear what that one has to offer in the coming weeks.

If you like, you can buy Modern Ballet Studio Melodies Volume 2 here.



10 Questions With…John Nevin

Today we have John Nevin with us on “10 Questions With…”

You’ll be getting to know John better in the coming months as he signs on as a contributor, sharing his insights about music and dance with us here on 4dancers…

John Nevin

1.      Can you tell readers a bit about how you got into music?

I started by working in recording studios, recording all kinds of different music by whoever booked the studio — a lot of R&B, rock, metal, and several of the first House records when that all started.  After a year or so, some of the artists started asking me to produce them, and  I still think of myself first as a record producer.

As the world of music began to change, though, producing began to include much more original composition — we were writing parts on drum machines and keyboards — so I started writing original music as part of the group ‘ohana Dreamdance.  It wasn’t until one of the choreographers from the Thodos Dance Chicago New Dances series (Jillian Chu) asked me to compose music for her work that composing music for choreography became such an important part of what I do, and what ‘ohana Dreamdance does.

2.      How did you wind up working with dancers?

I began working with Melissa Thodos mixing and editing the tracks for her choreography.  When she began Thodos Dance Chicago, we did the music for most of the company’s work together, but it was when she founded the New Dances series that I really began to work extensively with a lot of different choreographers and dancers.

3.      What are the special considerations you must address when arranging music for dance?

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