What is Contemporary Dance? | Move Dancewear

What is Contemporary Dance? | Move Dancewear

By Move Dance on 18th Jun 2024

What is Contemporary Dance?

When was Contemporary Dance Created?

Where did Contemporary Dance Originate?

What is Contemporary Dance?

Have you ever watched a dance performance and felt completely captivated, like you were seeing a story unfold without a single word spoken? If so, you might have been witnessing the world of contemporary dance. Let’s dive in and explore what contemporary dance is, some of its famous choreographers, and a few influential performances that have captivated audiences.

So, What is Contemporary Dance?

Contemporary dance is an expressive art form combining various dance styles to create unique movements. Unlike classical ballet with strict rules or modern dance with structured techniques, contemporary dance is all about freedom, expression, and innovation. It blends elements from ballet, modern dance, jazz, and even hip-hop, creating a versatile and fluid form of movement that allows dancers to explore a wide range of emotions and stories.

The Birth of Contemporary Dance

Let’s take a quick trip back in time. Contemporary dance began to take shape in the mid-20th century as a response to the rigid structures of classical ballet and the more prescriptive forms of modern dance. Influential dancers like Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham were at the forefront of this movement, each bringing their unique vision and style. Martha Graham introduced powerful movements that showed raw emotion. Her technique focused on the natural rhythms of the body, with contraction and release movements. Merce Cunningham created abstract pieces for audiences to interpret in their own way.

Famous Choreographers in Contemporary Dance

Apart from Graham and Cunningham, several other choreographers have made significant contributions to contemporary dance. German dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch created her unique blend of movement, sound, and stage design for her signature style. Alvin Ailey combined many genres including ballet, jazz and African dance to celebrate African-American culture in his performances. Known for her broad style, Twyla Tharp created innovative performances blending ballet, modern, jazz, and pop music.

Influential Performances in Contemporary Dance

Now, let’s talk about some performances that have left an indelible mark on contemporary dance. ‘Revelations’ by Alvin Ailey, performed first in 1960 ponders the joy and sadness of African-American history, performed to gospel music. ‘Rite of Spring’ was performed in 1975 by Pina Bausch. This production is an interpretation of Stravinsky’s score showcases dancers' primal energy. Finally, Twyla Tharp’s ‘In the Upper Room’ combines ballet, modern dance, and jazz for a dynamic contemporary dance.

Why You Should Try Contemporary Dance

Contemporary dance isn’t just for the pros; it’s for everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or someone who loves to move to the beat in your living room, contemporary dance offers a way to express yourself without the constraints of traditional dance forms. It’s about feeling the music, telling a story, and connecting with your emotions.

If you’re not ready to hit the dance floor, watching contemporary dance is just as moving. It’s an emotional journey that can leave you feeling inspired and moved.

What To Wear For Contemporary Dance

For contemporary dance, the outfits are usually loose fitting so the clothing can follow your movement. Find  contemporary dance costumes for a show or dancewear for practice. Many dancers dance barefoot for contemporary or wear contemporary dance shoes for extra support.

Final Thoughts

So, what is contemporary dance? It’s a vibrant and expressive form of art that breaks boundaries and celebrates individuality. It’s a dance form that allows both dancers and audiences to explore and connect with themselves.

Next time you get the chance, catch a contemporary dance performance or try a class. Feel empowered and comfortable for contemporary dance classes with Move Dance, find  dance shoes here.