June 24, 2024

ballet class music

Ballet class playlist, 30 songs I remember from a time in my life where I was in a ballet studio pretty much every day 🩰

This week, I had to write something for an old friend whom I first met when we did rather intense ballet together as children/teens. To get into the mindset of our old ballet memories, I searched for some nice playlists on Spotify with the music I remember being played in our ballet classes.

I was very confused to see that when I searched for ballet class music, it was either newly-composed music for specific sections of the class (plies, tendus, adagio, allegro, grand allegro), pop music turned into piano music, or music from the storybook ballets like Don Quixote, Giselle, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, etc.

This was all well and good, but I was looking specifically for the classical popular piano music that I'll occasionally hear on the radio, in movies/TV, playing in the background at a store or restaurant. Music that has permeated most corners of society, but without fail specifically transport me to the ballet studio.

I thought I'd quickly whip up a playlist myself, when I realized I didn't actually know the names of these pieces that keep floating through my life like ghosts. So I sat down and began going through classical pops music playlists to see what music would call to mind the creaking of the ballet barre, specific ballet steps, the breeze from the AC during adagio...

The above playlist are 30 songs I heard almost every afternoon for most of my teenage years—from Chopin, Debussy, Brahms, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, Liszt, Handel, Schumann. A little time capsule for me, maybe useful if anyone needs a playlist of time-tested ballet class accompaniment music, specifically classical pops.

The three pianists we had that I remember most were Yoshi, Leon, and Inna. We had to bow to them at the end of every class; I realize now how rare it is that I got to hear live piano at such frequency and played with such gusto, verve, and attention. I am so grateful to these three, and the many others who have accompanied my ballet classes and others 🎹

Here is a small dedication in Playbill to the tremendous work that these artists bring to ballet classes: