When Tomoko was a child, she saw her mother dance to music as she worked around the home. She remembers dancing at a party with a Hungarian young man, who would become her husband. And Tomoko has watched her own daughter dance to music as she skates during practice and in the Olympic ring. In short, dance and music have always played an important role in Tomoko’s musical life.
Tomoko notes how Bartok’s compositions often built on folk music, particularly Rumanian folk dances. Chopin and Liszt also used folk dance tunes. The communal spirit of dance responds to the spirit of the music. “Music and dance are natural parts of human community celebrations such as weddings.”
Performance involves the whole body, much like dance, asserts Tomoko. “The music starts from the heart and comes out through the fingers.” She continues, “Like the neck in singing, the wrist is very important; the fingers follow the wrist action.” Of course, performance requires high eye-hand coordination. The whole body needs to be in a good position ergonomically to play optimally.
In addition, dance, like piano performance, involves practice and discipline. “Look at Dancing with the Stars.” They spend hours and days training and practicing so that it looks natural and easy when they perform on TV.”