WHAT IS BALLEGRO?
Ballegro Player is a ballet music streaming app. It features an ever-expanding ballet music library with a unique built-in music player designed for dancers. On top of that, it lets you adjust the tempo and you can upload your own music.
Ballegro Player is a virtual ballet pianist who can help the dancers to find the ideal music for the practice by exercises, by lengths, by rhythms, and by genres. It is aiming to provide an experience close to having a live pianist in moments that you do not have one. It is a creation, an experience, that models after how a ballet pianist thinks, by providing an ever-expanding library, smart quick search filters, a built-in music player that allows the tempo to be modified to optimize teaching. Practice anywhere, anytime, any tempo.
WHY DID I CREATE BALLEGRO PLAYER – YOUR POCKET PIANIST?
Dancers are one of the most hardworking and inspiring people in the world, and they deserve good music that inspires them back. Good music unlocks the dialogue with the soul, motivates the practice, magically and subliminally encourages many of the ‘right things’ to occur.
The moment when I see the light radiating from their face and their movements lifted by the music – THAT, to me, is deep satisfaction.
During the last two decades playing for countless Plies and Tendus, I have also heard endless complaints from the dance teachers about the insufficiency and inefficiency of the obsolete technologies such as CDs, as well as the time and efforts required for them to hunt for the right music for their class, when they don’t have the luxury of having a live pianist. I was inspired to create a virtual ballet pianist to solve the problems – a new tool that can not only deliver more intuitive performance than CDs (through a tempo adjuster), but also process/think almost like a real and experienced ballet pianist who knows exactly what to play for a specific exercise (through the Ask The Maestro smart search).
Nothing can replace the live human spirit in a live ballet pianist. But when that is not a possibility, I am aspired to provide you a virtual ballet pianist that you can pull right out of your back pocket!
Founder, Creator, Composer & Pianist
A genre-defying interdisciplinary artist, Yawen is known as “a dancer at the keyboard” (Georgia Straight) and has created a body of work in the realms of music composition, gallery installation, performance/movement art, music theatre, music for dance, radio play/PodPlay, and interactive media. As a pianist she has performed across Canada, in the US, Taiwan and Japan. Her work has been recognized by a variety of artistic and cultural awards. Currently she is one of the principal pianists at Ballet British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada).
MY PASSION AS A DANCE PIANIST, AND MY HISTORY WITH BALLET BC
“Dancers inspire me. They show me how pure aliveness feels, what pure presence is and the joy of moving through space.”
I love making music for movement and dance. When I watch movement, I hear the kinaesthetic music. When I translate what I sense into sound, I feel I am dancing at the piano. When I play music for/with the dancers, I’m exploring that perfect dialogue between the body and the sound.
It is a great honour to be working with these exquisite dance artists at Ballet BC. Each class is a new experiment where I explore new sound and new musical possibilities for an exercise. With each class beginning at the barre, I am challenging myself how I can raise my own barre for these amazing artists. I take dance classes myself – and a lot of ballet. For me, it is crucial to be in my body and understand the essence of these movements and exercises inside out. Understanding dancers’ process has helped me to become a better ballet pianist.
I have been a dance pianist since 1998 when I was doing my MFA at SFU School for Contemporary Arts. I was able to start my practice by playing for eclectic dance styles such as modern (Limón, Cunningham, Grahams, Horten), contemporary and, of course, ballet. My first contact with Ballet BC was way back in around 2003 when I was called in to sub for a few classes, when I was literally playing for most major dance schools in the Lower Mainland. Last season I was invited to join Ballet BC for their Adult community classes, subsequently for the company classes.
WHERE CAN WE BE FOUND?
Ballegro Player works on various platforms. You can stream it via our web app (desktop/laptop version), download the iOS app from the App Store, or download the Android app from the Google Play Store.