Contemporary dance may well be one of the more popular forms of dance among trained dancers. As a performance genre in dance, contemporary dance had its roots in a blending of classical, modern and jazz dance and now incorporates elements from many forms of dance. Of all the dance forms, it most closely resembles Modern Dance.

The Focus of Contemporary Dance

Strong and controlled legwork dominate the focus of technique in contemporary dance.

Changes in rhythm and direction also mark the contemporary style. You will also see influences from African dance or Japanese contemporary dance used.

Martha Graham is considered the founder of contemporary dance

Martha Graham, 1948

You might even call this style of dance, unconventional, as it is very interpretive in choreography, and movement. The expression of raw emotions is more often than not evident during a contemporary dance.

Martha Graham is considered the founder of contemporary and modern dance having introduced the style into the mainstream.

Contemporary dance choreography

The music used in this style is usually chosen (by the choreographer or teacher) for its abstract or narrative influence. In a stage production, dancers would be selected based on their skill and training. The choreography is created to match the music or sounds in the music. The music chosen to accompany the contemporary dance can serve as a strong backdrop to the dance itself. Costumes are chosen in part to influence the look and ability of the dancers to move on stage. Besides Ballet, African and Japanese influences, contemporary dance may incorporate other non-dance related practices like Yoga, Pilates and Mime.

Explore the World of Contemporary Dance

Alvin Aily is a famous contemporary dance company

The famous contemporary dance company of Alvin Ailey.

Exploring different styles of dance can be an exciting part of being a dancer. As ballet is the foundation for most all forms of dance, it can also lead to an exciting playground of jazz, hip hop and contemporary dance.

As a dance student, or the parent of one, encourage your child to try many forms of dance through dance classes! Developing the skills and technique for dance may open up doors and interests he or she may not have known existed. How wonderful that would be  to discover ways to use your body and soul to express yourself through music and dance!