Music For Creative Dance
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About Eric Chappelle
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"The rich variety of tempos and styles in Eric Chappelle's music inspires dancers of all ages and all ages to dance!"

- Anne Green Gilbert

Artistic Director of the Creative Dance Center & Kaleidoscope Dance Company

All photos on this page by Andrew Wilds Photography

Aventurine Music - Moving the Imagination

About Eric Chappelle

Based in Seattle, Eric is known in several overlapping arts communities: a musician and actor in musical theatre, a sound designer for non-musicals, an accompanist for ballet and modern dance classes and a composer/performer for contemporary dance projects. Beyond Seattle, he is primarily known as the creator of the Music For Creative Dance series of CDs and for the BrainDance Music CD.

Eric is the husband of Ingrid Hurlen, dance educator and middle school administrator, and the father of Leif, 25, composer and Cornish College of the Arts graduate, and Soleil, 19, Naropa University student.

Music for Arts Education

Eric and Ingrid moved to Seattle in 1981 from San Francisco. After the birth of Leif in 1984, Ingrid discovered a Parent/Toddler dance class at The Creative Dance Center. Her dance background led her to teach creative dance, and Eric began accompanying classes at the Creative Dance Center. In the early 1990's Anne Green Gilbert, director of the Creative Dance Center, approached Eric about making a CD that would be appropriate for use in a conceptual approach to dance education. Anne needed music that presented contrasting sections clearly and that alternated through the duration of a piece. This compositional challenge was the beginning of the Music For Creative Dance series of CDs. Through the 1990's Eric produced the first four volumes of Music For Creative Dance, subtitled Contrast and Continuum - indicating that some pieces featured contrasting sections and the other pieces were written with a continuous flow.

Through the work of Anne Green Gilbert and the networking of a variety of dance teachers, Music For Creative Dance found wide use in schools, studios and homes. Tens of thousands of copies of MCD are now in use throughout the USA and around the world. The Los Angeles Unified School District has sets of the CDs in all of its arts focused elementary classrooms. The Grammy Foundation purchased CDs to be distributed to schools. In Canada, MCD is on the resources lists of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. A partial list of countries where MCD is in use include Great Britain, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan, China, New Zealand and Australia.

MCD has also been adapted for use in teaching creative writing, visual arts, music and drama. A new series of MCD is planned for the coming years incorporating suggestions from current users and employing the "next generation" compositional skills of Eric's son, Leif Chappelle.

BrainDance Music, released in 2007, is created for the BrainDance warm-up as developed by Anne Green Gilbert. More information is available on the BrainDance Music page and at the Creative Dance Center's web site. Two years after its release, BrainDance Music has sold over 2,000 copies.

Eric began accompanying college level ballet and modern classes at the University of Washington and Cornish College of the Arts in 1993. He also plays for modern and ballet classes at Dance Fremont, Seattle, and continues his close association with The Creative Dance Center.

Eric has played master classes for Bill Evans, Donald McKayle, Kitty Daniels, Carla Maxwell, Clay Taliaferro, Susan McLain, Gary Masters, among others. He has accompanied members of the Mark Morris Dance Group for Dance for PD classes at Evergreen Medical Center in Kirkland, WA.

Music Composition for Choreographers

Eric has composed for and performed in dance productions for over 30 years. His earliest produced work was with choreographer and performer, Ingrid Hurlen and percussionist, Kendrick Freeman, in an evening of pieces called Fidlandans at Centerspace in San Francisco in 1978. His most recent dance performance was with Ingrid and instrument inventor, Ela Lamblin, at the Arts In Nature Festival in Seattle, August 2009, performing Earthsong II, a variation on a piece originally choreographed for Ingrid by Christopher Beck.

Recently, Eric directed and collaborated with Ela Lamblin on music created and performed for Dancin' Z Path at the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park. Charlene Curtiss, of Light Motion Dance, and Joanne Petroff and Debbie Gilbert of Whistlestop Dance choreographed.

Many of Eric's recent compositions for dance have been collected on the album DanceMakers and are discussed in DanceMakers Commentary, soon to be available on this web site (September 21, 2009).

Other collaborations include The Mouse Project (2003) for Locate Performance Group - Pablo Cornejo, choreographer, Isla del Cielo (sky islands) (2002) for Groundwork - Pablo Cornejo, choreographer, The Mouse and the Light (2002) for the New Jersey Youth Orchestra, the Somerset Hills Children's Chorus and Dance Innovations - story by Lisa Suhay, She Knows (2000) - Aiko Kinoshita, choreographer, Celtic Groove (1999) for Light Motion Dance and Whistlestop Dance - Debbie Gilbert, choreographer, Earth Song (1995) - Christopher Beck, choreographer, Rain (1993) - Lee Anne Hartley, choreographer, Native Color (1990) for On The Boards - Jesse Jaramillo, choreographer, Four Pieces (1988), Nightvision (1987) for The Allegro Dance Festival - Ingrid Hurlen, choreographer.

Composition and Sound Design for Theatre

Since 1990 Eric has created sound designs, many with original music, for Seattle area theatres. He has arranged some of his theatrical music for the Music For Creative Dance series. These pieces include The Bayou Both-Step (vol. 3) from a production of An Italian Straw Hat, Raggedy March (vol. 3) from a production of The Skin of Our Teeth and Walt's Waltz (vol. 4) from a production of A Midsummer's Night Dream.

Eric Chappelle - Music and Sound Design for Theatre Credits (PDF)

Performer and Composer

Throughout his career Eric has performed on acoustic and electric violin, occasionally doubling on mandolin and keyboard, at venues from clubs to concert stages. For a period of time he was a street musician in San Francisco before performing in a variety of eclectic Bay Area groupings. In Seattle, Eric fiddled in a number of country and country-rock bands, touring Canada and Europe, before moving on to theatre and dance concert venues.

Eric has been invited to perform fiddle, occasionally as an actor, in numerous theatrical productions beginning at the Bathhouse Theatre in a country music revue called Buckskin to Satin. Other credits include The Hostage and An Italian Straw Hat at the Bathhouse, Rodeo Radio at the Empty Space, several productions at Tacoma Actors' Guild including Quilters, Chaps! and Pump Boys and Dinettes. He played violin and keyboard for Buddy! and was a fiddling townsperson in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at The 5th Avenue Theatre. He has a long history with the musical Das Barbecü beginning with the original production for Seattle Opera, a production at The Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut, a productions at Tacoma Actors' Guild and two productions at ACT Theatre.

Eric has also performed original music in dance concerts for dance works and as a featured soloist. These performances include work with Ingrid Hurlen, Danceworks! of Dance Fremont, Next Stage Dance Theatre, Locate, Whistlestop Dance and Light Motion Dance and the Bill Evans Dance Company.