The music behind the motion

An interview with a dance class accompanist

By Trinity Stevens

Liam Smith, a CSU dance class accompanist as a percussionist and believes there is science behind music and uniting it with dance, By: Trinity Stevens

Can music help unite the world? Liam Smith seems to think so. An interview with this Cleveland State University dance class accompanist yielded some insight into the role, and to the power that music has to connect. 

Smith attended Oberlin College for science and orchestral percussion. Science and music may seem like opposite areas of study, but when asked to clarify the connection between the two, it made perfect sense. 

“There’s an organic nature about music, like there is in science. Science exists within music, and music within science,” Smith stated. This seems to only enforce the bond between music and dance even more, since science is clearly also a part of motion.

Smith first started accompanying dance classes as a percussionist five or six years ago upon the recommendation of a friend. He enjoys accompanying classes because, “There’s something special about working to serve another art form. You do so in the best way that you can, and then you are actually able to see whether it is going right as a result.” Smith wants to continue to accompany dance classes moving into the future, but he also subs for orchestras and plays with various music groups in the area, including jazz and Brazilian music styles. 

When music meets dance and dance meets music, there are benefits for each of the artists. Smith feels that having the experience to accompany a dance class can be beneficial for a musician because, “it teaches accountability and collaboration. You have to be there for other people, but you also find an unusual way of interacting with those people through a different medium in physical space.” 

Dancers should have the experience to dance to live music because, “it opens them up to interacting with a live person who is an artist of another genre in real time,” states Smith. A unique feature about CSU is that they are fortunate enough to have live music for most of their dance course offerings, providing their dancers with this experience.

On a larger scale, Smith feels that there is an importance of bringing these two genres of art together for the better of the community. 

“You are making room for communication between various different groups of people. While actively working to notice similarities rather than differences, bridging the gap and bringing the world together,” Smith stated.