Musician Mark Greathouse and his wife, Prague-born singer/dancer Helena Greathouse, form an artistic pair known collectively as “The Greathouse of Music.” This is the second volume the couple has produced of dances, accompanied by original musical compositions for the piano. This second volume features the choreography of Czech Republic-based Elena Kameníková, transcribed and translated into English by Helena Greathouse.
This second volume features ten dances for small groups. The dances are more involved than those in the first volume and they presuppose a knowledge of the terminology of formal dance. However, the authors have included a helpful glossary of terms to aid rusty memories.
For each dance, the authors provide detailed instructions of the choreography as well as a piano score. Because written instruction isn’t the best medium to convey dance moves, the authors have thankfully created videos available on YouTube to demonstrate each dance. (An appendix in the back of the book attempts to help readers find the YouTube videos, but the long, unwieldy URLs printed here are too cumbersome to be helpful. It would be more useful simply to give readers the Greathouse of Music web site address, since the links to the YouTube videos are clearly visible there.)
The piano scores should be no challenge for an intermediate level pianist. While the music is a bit more adventurous than in the Greathouses’ earlier volume, it retains the mid-19th century Central European charm of those previously published compositions. As before, the music and dance, taken together, evoke varying moods, such as the playful “Who Cares?”, the humorous “Muffin Dance,” or the more grave “Reflections.”
Overall, the Greathouses are producing a charming body of minor work in music and dance. This second collection of their work offers a good starting point for the dance beginner who wishes to take his or her skills to the next level.