contemporary dancer

What Is Contemporary Dance?

Contemporary dance is a common form of dance that is often misunderstood. Unlike traditional dance methods, it is a raw form of dance that does not follow any rules. Popular to audiences and dancers alike, it portrays the world through the eyes of the dancer, their experiences, stories, and emotions. Here we look closer at what exactly contemporary dance is and how it is performed.

What is Contemporary Dance?

Contemporary danced emerged in the 20th century as dancers strived to exhibit more personal expression in their dancing. It was a way to stray from the more traditional and structured styles. Breaking the conventional style of dance, contemporary focuses on the freedom of movement.

When performing, dancers focus on connecting their mind and body through fluid dance moves. This allows dancers to explore emotions, and use their natural energy to portray personal expression in their dance techniques.

There is no rule of thumb to what type of elements their performance can include, but you will find a combination of techniques often ranging from ballet, jazz, modern, break dancing and even yoga and Pilates.

How is it performed?

Most dancers prefer using their bare feet or soft ballet slippers, and often costumes as well that will express their story and allow for easy movement on stage. The studio and performance theatre will usually be large and open, where the dancers can focus on floor work and are free to move about.

Dancers love performing contemporary as it pushes against traditional boundaries and commonly incorporates versatility and improvisation. They are free to create their own moves or routines, from sharp and abrupt to flowing and long movements.

As it incorporates different styles, it is also performed to a variety of music genres. The music will be important to help tell the story and set the mood. Some performances may even be silent or have voice overlay.

Where can you watch and learn?

Most major cities host regular dance performances through local and international dance companies. Dance schools are usually directly associated with dance companies, and offer classes for all levels, whether beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

When hearing the word contemporary, think freedom of movement and expression of mind and soul. Allowing a free range of creativity and passion to flow in dance has lead contemporary to become increasingly popular across the world. Aside from the theatre setting, you can also find popular dance television series with contemporary artists pushing the boundaries and ever-changing the world of dance.

Greta Leeming School of Dance offers contemporary dance classes, also known as lyrical dance. The contemporary program is offered in tandem with jazz or ballet class and is open to students ages six and open. Get in touch to learn more about upcoming registration!