Connect Your Body and Soul in Contemporary Dance

15th August 2019
Contemporary dance is a study of dance that explores the deepest emotions and converts them into moving art. Read our post today and discover how to find yourself through contemporary dance!

The contemporary dance trend began at the end of the 21st century during a time where classical dance dominated the arts. But the thirst for greater freedom, expression, and movement lead to its beginnings, which was then called “modern dance.”

Until the end of the Second World War, the term “modern dance” referred to a dance form that looked for something more than the rigidity of classical ballet. Modern dance was barefoot and offered much more freedom in its movements.

Around 1940, the modern dance began to adopt the name “contemporary dance”. Today, contemporary dance is a popular dance form of great artistic value.

Contemporary dance: expressing the intangible

Sadness, happiness, anger, nostalgia, hope and other feelings are all intangibleAnd because they’re intangible, they can be expressed in endless ways such as through painting, music, writing, theater and, of course, dance.

Thus, contemporary dance gives form to the intangible. As a result, both dancers and spectators alike can experience something one-of-a-kind.

Movement is always present in contemporary dance

Some of the most characteristic traits of contemporary dance include pronounced and free movements. The structured rigidity of classical ballet is left behind for a much more open style.

contemporary dance characteristics

An important figure in the world of contemporary dance is Isadora Duncan. In her biography My Life, she wrote:

“I was born by the sea… my first idea of movement, of the dance, certainly came from the rhythm of the waves…”

Contemporary dance consolidates the ties of inspiration to the things that spark emotion in us to reflect them through movement; this was what Duncan danced for and her idea of the rhythm of the waves.

The movements in contemporary art are based much more on what is human or even earthly. On a further note, the presentations don’t necessarily follow a linear structure; the history or the message that the artist wants to express can take on many forms.

Physical demands

Contemporary dance is full of natural movements that are set on expressing different ideas. However, many steps and choreography actually require a certain skill level.

Despite the fact that the movements are more natural for the human body, this dance form requires a significant amount of technique to be able to perform on stage. One contemporary dance class might work on the following elements:

  • Physical training: exercises strengthen the body and make it more flexible. These exercises are incredibly important because they help dancers acquire the endurance, strength and body control they need.
  • Improvisation: a large portion of a session focuses on experimenting with movement individually or as a group. Dancers generally explore with music.
  • Composition: consolidates the movements from the movement lab. In other words, composition exercises the psychomotor function in order to develop a dance or piece.
  • Observation: finally, dancers study everything they’ve done. By studying their movements, they stimulate their critical spirit and ability to generate new ideas.

Considering the above, on a physical level, contemporary dance is very physically demanding as is classical ballet because dancers have to train their bodies to move in ways that it normally wouldn’t.

But, those four elements are key; dancers can only construct and strengthen the connection between what they feel and its expression with their bodies by means of physical training, improvisation, composition, and observation.

contemporary dance elements

Can anyone be a contemporary dancer?

Contemporary dance is naturally a head-turner because of the expressive content and movements it implies. In short, it’s a genre that’s open to anyone who wants to experience something new and reinforce the connection between their body and soul.

If you’re looking for a new way to explore what you carry inside and express it in a different way, don’t miss out on the contemporary dance. Go on and give form to what’s intangible!

  • New York Times. 15 de septiembre de 1927. «Isadora Duncan». Disponible en: http://www.aintnowaytogo.com/duncan.htm
  • Chircovski, Boris. Danza contemporánea: Técnica y creatividad. Universidad de Alicante.
  • Stevens, C., & McKechnie, S. 2005. Thinking in action: Thought made visible in contemporary dance. In Cognitive Processing (Vol. 6, pp. 243–252). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10339-005-0014-x