time away and thoughts on the dance department


Today begins another three day getaway for Jupe and Eileen. I think I badly need it. Despite  my best efforts, I had to deal yesterday with the Dance Department thinking about how it treats its pianists. I would have preferred not to do this on my busiest day of the week. Julie had asked to talk with me. I went a bit early. Basically I guess she wanted to thank me for starting the conversation around the pianists and how  much they are paid. Weirdly, Julie is into recognition for the pianists as well. She wants us up on the website with a bio, I guess.

I told her recognition didn’t interest me that much. I enjoy the work. I enjoy working with her. But it’s underpaid. Someone needed to point it out. When I pointed out that I was paid $100 for four hours work and that it wasn’t enough, she told me in her house $100 was a lot of money. I guess there was no way she wouldn’t be a bit defensive since I’m on the offensive.

I also chatted with Matt the chair of the department. Matt is one of the younger teachers. He graduated from Hope. He is a good dancer and seems very idealistic and ethical. I thought it would probably bother him that the pianists were not being paid fairly. It did. He had already talked to the Dean (of the Fine Arts?) about it. I think this is his first semester as chair of the Dance Department. He feels like he is learning. 

He asked me if I would play for him in his Modern Classes. I told him I had worked with Modern Dance teachers before at Hope and it was fine. I told both Matt and Julie that I enjoy the work, but I enjoy a lot of things.

The upshot is that all the pianists are submitting when they can work. The department secretary will draw up graph (this according to what Matt told me) and they will go from there.

I thought about this. I have benefited from going in at 11 AM instead of 8:30 AM. This gives me needed time to recuperate and relax and study. So I told them I was available Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 AM to Noon and 2 PM to 4. I have no idea when classes are scheduled. No one bothered to tell me (or probably any of the other pianists).

The dance faculty doesn’t seem to have a weak link. They are all pretty excellent. The department seems under valued by the university. Otherwise, how could they build a zillion dollar new music department and not make any allowances for dance.

Right now the dance department does its recitals at the Knickerbocker Theater which has a very small stage. Not big enough for dance really. And very shallow wings. Dancers fly off stage and literally hit the wall on stage right.

Anyway, you can see I need some perspective and time off. Notice I’m not even bitching about church. Sometimes it feels like rehearsing my stress so screw that.

I wonder about doing this blog. It’s like talking out loud alone in a darkened theater or church. I suspect people read what I  write, at least part of it. I can judge from my analytic software that I am getting “hits” daily, sometimes as many 70 or more.


I think one of the reasons I persist in this exercise is the writing itself. I love to write and have always done so since I was a kid. There’s something about it that helps me think.

Well enough. It’s early. I have spent the dark hours of the morning cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry. I started rereading Beckett’s Molloy a bit before sitting down to blog. I hope I can get some relaxation in at my brother’s home. .Thanks for listening. If you’re there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.