Education

What Is Contemporary Dance? And How To Get Started With It

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Contemporary Dance

If you’ve been looking for a form of dance that combines emotional and artistic expression with a little sprinkle of various dance styles, then contemporary dance might be just what you need.

Contemporary dance is a unique dance genre that borrows techniques and flows from other genres to create an innovative, non-traditional form of movement. Often incorporating elements of jazz, modern dance, lyrical dance, and classical ballet, contemporary dance focuses more on fluidity, improvisation, and emotion rather than following certain beats and formulae.

Many dancers love contemporary dance as it allows them to explore and push past traditional dance boundaries. Even the most experienced or highly trained dancers will still enrol in a contemporary dance class or a bachelor of dance to unlearn rigid movements, let their hair down, and explore dance’s emotions, improvisation, and freedom.

As an art medium, contemporary dance performances have evolved as a form of storytelling. Contemporary routines can explore more abstract themes such as social, societal inequality, or personal issues. Dancers will often use their performance to tell a narrative, or a personal experience, replay a past event and even add depth to a character.

Dancers are encouraged to explore their own mind-body connection to connect with the audience on a more emotional level. To communicate their story, a contemporary dance performance will often be accompanied by music, spoken word, poetry, or even silence.

Contemporary dance is often performed in soft shoes, ballet slippers, or bare feet. Costumes and props are used to enhance the story, although most commonly, the performance will take place on a large, open, empty stage to give the dancers more room to move.

What’s the best way to get started with contemporary dance?

From complete dance beginners to highly experienced performers, the best way to learn contemporary dance is to enrol in a dance class or a bachelor of dance. Although contemporary dance is a step away from traditional dance, it still requires some understanding of basic techniques and methods of expression to begin building your artistic foundation.

If you’re unsure if contemporary dance is right for you, you can always explore YouTube dance videos of contemporary dance performances to see what sparks your interest.

Keep an eye out for any contemporary dance classes at your local studio (don’t forget to warm up and stretch before class!). You’ll want to look for a class that teaches common dance moves such as Chassés in a slow, methodical way. Even if a dance routine looks random and chaotic, it must have a solid foundation of movement to ensure that the emotion of a contemporary dance performance comes through.

The beauty of contemporary dance is that there is no level of perfection or precision with every move. Express yourself through your movements, and let the performance become an extension of your emotions and story. As always: don’t forget to enjoy yourself, too.

Heather Breese
Heather Breese is a qualified writer who fell in love with creativity and became a specialist creator and writer, focused on readers and market need.

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