The Dancing Piano:

Now entering its third year, The Dancing Piano: A Summer Course For Dance Musicians is a week-long period of intensive study running from the evening of Friday 30th August until Friday 6th September 2019. It will be held at The Du Boisson Dance Studios in Shepherds Bush.

The aim of the course is to provide instruction, training and empirical learning opportunities to musicians in the field of dance accompaniment. Participants will learn the skills required to be able to play for a professional ballet class. However there will also be opportunities to develop skills for playing for young people, contemporary dance and accompanying rehearsals.

Each day will begin with the opportunity for warm-up and practice. That will be followed by an interactive ballet class with live dancers and professional guest teachers. Here students will get the chance to play, observe and give and take feedback in a realtime environment.

The afternoon will be a chance for various seminars, workshops and Q&As. Sessions in playing for contemporary dance, children's ballet classes, and even the chance to try out some ballet for yourself (no dance experience necessary!) are all planned. At the end of the day there will be time allotted for individual private lessons and participants' own private practice.


This year the course is open to pianists over the age of 18. Although there will be some time spent looking at playing for rehearsals this course is definitely not solely designed for super confident score readers as this course is focused on learning about the ballet class. Nor is it restricted to those with a classical music training. In the professional world there are a huge range of backgrounds from conservatoire education to jazz and pub gigs. However, it will be assumed that applicants, whatever their current musical leanings, will have a reasonably good grasp of theory and harmony (theoretical and/or practical), a level of technique commensurate with ABRSM Grade 8 or higher (or a brief resume of practical experience if your learning has been less formal), and a desire to try new things and be open to new ideas. People with all levels of experience of playing piano for ballet are welcome on The Dancing Piano course.

The job of dance accompanist can be a job for life. It is definitely a skill that will provide real earning opportunities and chances for freedom of expression throughout a professional musician's career, no matter what other avenues you may pursue. Adaptability, creativity and energy are highly useful skills in all areas of music and the rest of life.

There will be a focus on sourcing material, improvisation, and development. Students will learn about myriad styles and techniques and garner the ability to execute these skills effectively in a ballet class. Sharing of ideas and support from fellow students and staff are paramount. Empirical learning and practical experience are two of the course's main tenets.



09.30 - 10.00     Musicians' Warm-Up
10.00 - 12.00      Interactive Ballet Class
12.00 - 12.30      Class Debrief
12.30 - 13.30      LUNCH
13.30 - 16.30      Seminar/Workshop/Masterclass etc
16.30 - 16.45      BREAK
16.45 - 18.15      Personal Tuition and Practice Time

The cost of this week long course is £750, payable in advance. If, however, you are a UK national and in full-time education there is now a student price of £350. In order to support exceptional students from lower income backgrounds or suffering from personal financial hardships it is also possible to apply for a reduced-cost bursary place. If you feel you may qualify for a bursary place please add this request and any relevant supporting details to your application form. All requests will be properly considered and complete discretion assured.

After being accepted on the course a deposit is required to secure your place. For full fee-paying applicants this is £250. For students £150. For bursary placements the deposit payment will be made by negotiation with the applicant. All deposits due within 10 days of a place on the course being offered. Outstanding fees to be paid within one month of a place being offered. Full payment up front is also accepted.