Any dance student is bound to want to be a contemporary dancer in this day and age.
Duncan was a ballet performer who decided to part ways with the style and create her natural freestyle. Many other performers followed along by showing the world that there can exist a dance that ignores old conventions and allows performers to push the boundaries of human expression.
You can look up the work of Melanie Clarke and learn from her lessons. Melanie Clarke has created guides for contemporary dance and many other tools that can help you dominate this art.
Contemporary dance has many different styles, some closely linked to music, such as jazz, rock and roll, and hip-hop. This style was created during the 80s and it became highly popular during the 21st century.
Due to its technical similarities, contemporary dance is often perceived to be closely related to modern dance, ballet, and other classical concert dance styles.
Continue reading to understand more about every technique used by contemporary dancers or go to the Superprof homepage to start searching for dancing tutors in your area. You can be proactive and search for tutors who teach at your level, in your city, and ask for fees you can afford.
Keep in mind that mastering dancing classes takes effort and to develop skills you must be patient with yourself and your process. You must work on your discipline and dedication if you want to master contemporary dance in a heartbeat.
What is contemporary dance?
Many people are still asking themselves what exactly contemporary dance is. Contemporary dance has grown popular across the world, but it is most common in the United States and Europe. Contemporary dance is a type of dance that was created to express one's feelings through movement.
This dance is known for having no strict rules, and it is common for each performer to move and have a personal understanding and interpretation of the dance. It is all about being creative!
Compared to other dances, contemporary dance adds a modern twist to a classical genre. For instance, other dances like ballet, are known for being a strict and established form of dance, where dancers have to follow movements by the book.
Since contemporary dance is a type of dance developed to allow the dancer to express anything based on their feelings, it is usually practiced barefoot, to allow for better technical control of the movement.
The key to understanding this art is that it is based on allowing the performer to be creative and fluid. Improvisation is an essential part of this dance.
Modern-day contemporary dance is open to interpretations which is why it has many different applications. Even when traditional forms of dance are still popular, we can see a rise in their use of it in theatre, movies, videos, and more.
The genre's versatility allows the performer to use the influence of a storyline and music to create characters and entire theatrical performances that stray away from the more traditional methods of storytelling.
Overall, this genre offers the dancer ultimate creative freedom to perform something that identifies with them. If you want to do it you can search for private tutors right here on Superprof and start weekly classes.
What are the three basic techniques of contemporary dance?
As it was mentioned before, Melanie Clarke is one of the most influential performers in the genre. She is a lecturer and program leader in dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London and the author of The Essential Guide to Contemporary Dance Techniques.
In this book, she provides information about each technique that is used in contemporary dance. There are three —Graham, Cunningham, and Release, and each of them makes part of the genre's history in the United States.
The Release technique was, as its name suggests, developed to allow performers to move their bodies in a way that allows them to release their stress, emotions, and thoughts. The main idea is to let go of any tension built through different movements.
There's also the Graham technique, which is characterized by its emotional individuality and expressionism in a technique that meets movement and music. It is said that this technique continues to evolve and even though it has an essential base, it continues to change year after year.
Finally, there's the Cunningham technique, which was born from the Graham technique since Merce Cunningham was a student of Graham. Like every pupil would do, Cunningham broke away from the structures developed by his mentor and created his own techniques.
The technique breaks away from the original form of contemporary dance —which embodied feelings and emotion— and focuses on finding freedom only through physical movement. This means that this technique doesn't necessarily follow musicality and it highly relies on improvisation.
To learn each technique you have to find a good teacher or dancing academy where you will have class, follow your training, and practice as much as you can.
Learning new skills is about allowing yourself to fail and try again. This is why you need to understand that you won't dominate any of these techniques if you don't practice and dedicate yourself.
What are the elements of contemporary dance?
Contemporary dance has quite a few elements that make it stand out. However, it also has the five basic elements every genre has, they are body, action, space, time, and energy.
The first element, the body, is probably the most important one since it is the medium through which dance is performed. Dance critic Walter Terry put it best this way:
“No paints nor brushes, marbles nor chisels, pianos or violins are needed to make this art, for we are the stuff that dance is made of. It is born in our body, exists in our body, and dies in our body. Dance, then, is the most personal of all the arts . . . it springs from the very breath of life.”
The next element is action, which is the mere act of moving that makes this, one of the elements of dance. Then there's space, which refers to where the action of moving the body takes place.
Another element is time because performers must think of how to move their bodies in relationship with time. Are they moving fast or slow?
Finally, there's energy, which refers to how the performer moves through space and time with energy. Energy helps us to identify how the performers are moving. What effort are they using?
If you take a look at the work of famous contemporary dancers, you'll see that everyone used different elements of the genre but they are always using the five basic ones.
When it comes to the elements used in contemporary dance, it depends on the technique being used, the resources each dancer uses, and more. This does not mean that every choreography has to have every element, in fact, performers get to choose which ones to use.
Learning contemporary dance with a private tutor
Many people believe the only way to dominate a new skill is by attending an institute for dance, academy, school, or class; and private tutoring sometimes is not considered a viable option for learning a new skill.
Nonetheless, tutoring lessons are growing in popularity, especially since the pandemic and quarantine in 2020. Parents and students have quickly realized the value of private tutoring and are now opting for this option more than before.
If you want a private tutor, who has extensive experience teaching contemporary dance, to give private lessons, all you have to do is search for someone right here on Superprof.
On a tutor's profile, you'll find information about their teaching background, their level of experience, their rates per hour, the techniques they use, and more.
Keep in mind that it is best to have every class in person so you can understand everything better and see every movement clearly. If you have online lessons it will probably take you longer to understand the moves since your tutor won't be able to see every move clearly.
A tutor will guide you through your learning process, as they'll also correct your mistakes, support you, and be tough with you when necessary.
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