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About modern dance

Modern dance is a broad genre of western dance that originated in Europe and the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It started as a rebellion against classical ballet and its structured steps, movements and traditional techniques. Modern dance is a very expressive style of dance that focuses on expression instead of following a specific set of positions and postures that most other dancers are trained in. Movements in modern dance are considered freeform and are often inspired by various different styles combined.

Modern dance also rejects the traditional and set costumes most other styles like ballet have. Instead, dancers are often barefoot and wear costumes that reveal their bodies.

What classifies a dance as modern dance?

There are a few recognisable traits that modern dance usually consists of which you can use to tell it apart. One of the main characteristics of modern dance is how improvised it is. It is often described as freeform, quickly changing from long, slow movements to quick and jerky ones. There are no set movements, many dancers create moves specifically for one routine or they often just improvise on the spot.

Furthermore, modern dance is emotional. The goal of this genre is to let dancers freely express what they’re feeling on the dance floor, as raw as it may be. Another big difference it has compared to classical ballet is the use of gravity. While ballet dancers aim to be as light on their feet as possible, modern dancers often use their body weight to enhance their movements. They often propel themselves across the dance floor, sometimes by tumbling, rolling and jumping.

What are the differences between modern dance and contemporary dance?

Although it’s a common misconception that they’re the same thing or at least very similar, in reality there are very obvious differences between the two.

As mentioned previously, modern dance was created to battle against the restrictions of classical ballet. It focuses on free interpretation and improvised moves that are derived from the dancer's emotions. 

On the other hand, contemporary dance is a more specific genre of concert dance that concerns non-choreographic movements influenced by compositional philosophy. While modern dance focuses on emotions, contemporary dance focuses on creating new styles and techniques.

Last but not least, contemporary dancers add very light and fluid movements into their routines, while modern dance as already discussed uses gravity more with it’s rolls and jumps.

Where can I take modern dance lessons?

Nowadays there are plenty of studios you can visit that offer group classes in modern dance. A quick online search will present you with various options located near you. If you’re not sure where to look, TutorExtra has got you covered. We offer a wide variety of teachers and studios where you can learn modern dance. Browse through our options and choose the one that you like the most! Prices vary from studio to studio so make sure to ask when you get in contact!

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