What is contemporary ballet?

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If you are a true lover of the performing art of dance, there is no chance that you have not heard, of contemporary ballet. What is contemporary ballet? A general definition would be that contemporary ballet is a genre of dance that incorporates elements of both classical ballet and modern dance. What is unique about this genre is that it employs classical ballet techniques, but it allows for greater range of movement of the upper body. Simply put, it is not constrained to the rigorously defined body lines and forms found in traditional ballet.

Contemporary Ballet Technique

For its training methods and technique, contemporary ballet draws, as expected, from both classical ballet and modern dance. In addition to the classical ballet techniques, dancers of contemporary ballet study modern dance techniques as well. Also, they tend to do various forms of cross training to get physically prepared for the physical requirements of the movements. Some dancers practice yoga or train pilates as a way to loosen muscles and align the body. In order to be more versatile, dancers are required to first obtain classical ballet training and then to build on it with more modern techniques.

Costumes in Contemporary Ballet

The costumes and footwear in contemporary ballet differ from any other style of dance. Contemporary ballet dancers can be asked to wear anything from pointe shoes, through regular ballet shoes or even no shoes at all. When it comes to the costumes, there are no certain standards as well. Classical ballet dancers can use different types of costumes ranging from traditional to more modern costumes. You could even see dancers wearing costumes typical for the traditional Lion Dance which has great representations in the Lion Dance game.

Present Day Contemporary Ballet

There are many contemporary ballet companies found all over the world. Also, there are contemporary ballet choreographers, some of which have come to be quite reputable names in the world of contemporary ballet. Some of the notable contemporary ballet companies include Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, and Alonzo King LINES Ballet. However, there are also many traditional ballet companies that regularly perform contemporary works.

In fact, most classically trained dancers who want to make their name known as professional ballet dancers are required to be very versatile. This versatility means being able to perform such works as classical, neoclassical and contemporary ballet to modern dance. They are often required to have an impeccable ballet technique, but, at the same time, to be able to perform works of modern choreographers either in ballet slippers or barefoot. In addition, many ballet companies have an official choreographer to create contemporary works for the company.

It is more than obvious that it is hard to find new language within the classical ballet. However, this can be overcome by the openness of contemporary ballet which tries to bring in a new vocabulary and smash it together with the old and thus create something fresh and beautiful.


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