Learning a new dancing genre is not only about understanding technique, movement, performance, and bodywork. It is also about learning about its background, history, influences, and more.
If you want to learn contemporary dance, you should also learn about the trajectory of the people who shaped it during this century and before.
This genre was developed by a few amazing dancers who did their best to break the mold and created an art form that meets life, music, movement, creativity, and expression.
Today, this genre is danced across the globe in theaters, ballrooms, stages of all kinds, music videos, movies, and more. It has become incredibly popular due to its versatility, freedom, and beauty.
Year after year this genre continues to evolve and break out of previous nuances. When it first started, it was created as a rebellion against what was established, and this characteristic continues to uphold the genre and its dancers.
Learning to master a new dancing genre is not easy, which is why there are many schools, institutions, and teachers offering lessons to anyone interested in learning.
If you want to learn how it works, you can hire a tutor from Superprof and start to dance to contemporary music and choreography.
Keep in mind that many tutors on Superprof offer the first lesson for free to give students an opportunity to see their teaching methodology and to have a space to get answers to any questions they might have about the lessons.
Famous American contemporary dancers
Contemporary dance is becoming more and more popular across the world and it is highly popular in the United States and Europe. The most famous performers come from either Europe or America because it is where this genre mostly developed.
Here are the top 6 performers in the United States:
- Martha Graham - is one of the most influential dancers of the genre. She was a dancer, choreographer, and teacher and she is most popular for developing different movements of contracting and releasing from emotion. Nowadays, the academy of Martha Graham is one of the oldest in the country.
- Merce Cunningham - is an American dancer and choreographer who was at the forefront of American modern dance for more than 50 years. Cunningham broke away from the structures developed by his mentor and created his methods.
- Isadora Duncan - her work is one of the most recognized in the history of contemporary dance. Duncan broke with the rules of classical dance, movements, steps, positions, and everything that was established.
- Eric Hawkins - was awarded the National Medal of Arts due to his important work as a dancer. He began his studies in classical dance and soon became interested in modern dance. He was a dancer of the American Ballet and Ballet Caravan where he performed his first choreography “Show Piece”.
- Katherine Dunham - was an American dancer and choreographer and is mostly known as the mother of modern Afro-American dance. Her methods are still standing today and are one of the most important foundations in modern dance in the United States.
- Charles Weidman - is one of the great dancers and choreographers of modern dance and also pioneered the development of this art and genre.
Learning about the history of this genre will help you understand many aspects and can help you learn much faster. Knowing who are the artists, performers, and choreographers who developed the genre is important because it will make you understand the different techniques, movements, styles, and more.
If you are coming up with choreography but you feel stuck, then you can find inspiration by looking at YouTube videos of some of the great performers in history.
Current contemporary dancers
Aside from Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, and all the icons in contemporary dance, there are plenty of dancers who continue to leave a mark in the genre.
This is a genre that continues to be innovated and is filled with choreographers and performers who add their stamp to the genre. Below, you'll find a list of the performers who continue to innovate this form of art on stage and with beautiful choreography:
- Kyle Abraham
- Micaela Taylor
- Francesca Harper
- Darrell Grand Moultrie
- Claudia Schreier
- Robert Garland
- Amy Hall Garne
- Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
- Christopher Wheeldon
- Katy Pyle
All of the names above are highly recognized in the dancer community, not only among contemporary dancers, but also ballet, classical, and more.
Many of these performers have been dancing for decades and continue to show us time after time their talent and unique style. They've performed in every famous theater, stage, or school.
For instance, there's the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) School in New York, the American Ballet Theatre, and much more.
We are sure that there is more than one company in your city that offers dancing lessons of the style you're interested in. However, you should also consider private tutoring as one of the best options.
Private tutoring works for anyone who wants to learn how to dance if only they put in the hard work and hours it requires. If you want to be giving the performance of a lifetime, like all the dancers mentioned above, then you should consider working on your body technique, movement, courtesy, and more.
Learning contemporary dance
Many people keep wondering what exactly contemporary dance is. In simple words, it is a genre that borrows elements from classical, modern, and jazz styles but with time it has come to add more styles.
To become a contemporary dancer you should first understand some key things. First, this genre is known for being the genre that broke all the rules.
This means that, if you know other forms of dance, it won't help you be better at contemporary dance. As a matter of fact, you need to forget everything you know about dance before you start your contemporary dance lessons.
Some artists find it hard to unlearn everything they've learned in other genres. For instance, this genre is danced barefoot, which can seem unorthodox to any ballet, classical, or modern dancer.
Another thing that distinguishes this genre from others is that emotions and feelings play a big role. This doesn't mean that ballet doesn't evoke emotion, but the movements in this genre are designed to evoke emotion from the dancer and the audience.
This genre can be danced in a ballroom as it can be danced on the street, at different performances, and more. Typically, dances are commonly done on a stage in front of an audience, however, contemporary dance is not like that.
To dominate this genre, as an artist and dancer, you must get out of your head and understand that there are no rules, no defined structure, and no guidelines.
If you are ready to have a free artistic experience, then this is the genre for you! To learn the technique you must find a teacher or tutor who has excellent work and is ready to teach you.
You can search for tutors right here on Superprof by searching which category you are interested in and where. For instance, if you live in New York or Chicago, you can put whichever city on the search engine and see you around you offers lessons.
Finding a dance tutor
To find a contemporary dance tutor, you first have to establish some factors that will make your search much easier.
For instance, you should first know what level you're at —if you've never danced before then you're at beginner level, and if you've had a couple of months of training you're probably at an intermediate level. Knowing which level you're at will help you find a tutor because you can filter out those who don't teach at your level!
Another important factor is your budget. Having a defined budget is important because you can search based on rates per hour. For example, if you can afford $35 per lesson, then you can filter out anyone who charges more than that.
You should also pay attention to location, you're not going to hire a teacher who lives in Miami if you live in Manhattan. Finding someone close to you can also mean less time to commute which can always be an advantage.
To find a tutor you also need to know more about the subject, for instance, what techniques you want to learn, or what line of art you're interested in. This way you'll search for tutors who teach those techniques and filter out anyone who doesn't.
Finally, you need to have a clear idea of what your goals are. When you are searching for a tutor you can tell them what your endgame, your objectives, and your goals are. This way a tutor can tell you if they are equipped to get you where you want to go.
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