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Cross-Training Benefits: Contemporary Classes

Contemporary tends to defy description as a dance form – largely because it derives from so many different genres and schools of teaching. The quick description is it’s an expressive dance, combining styles like modern, lyrical, jazz, and ballet. The full explanation would take many more articles.

But that broad background can add a lot to your dance toolkit. For example…

1. Fluidity. Anyone who struggles with flow-y, continuous movement will benefit from the almost liquid movement of contemporary. Hip hop dancers who want to do more than just ‘go hard’ all the time? This is your ticket.

2. Freedom. Contemporary is an expressive dance, using the arms, legs, and torso to create great open movements. This makes it well suited for those who tend to be too “careful” in their dancing.

3. Precision of Footwork. Despite the sometimes unbalanced appearance of contemporary, it’s very technical in it’s foot placement. And really, what dance doesn’t need good foot coordination?

4. Upper Body Flexibility. Tight-chested and tight-hipped dancers take heed: Contemporary encourages a LARGE range of motion in the upper body. Fortunately, just practicing often works wonders for your flexibility.

5. Emotion. The scariest part of dancing for many, contemporary encourages vulnerability, allowing you to gradually drop your defences and truly engage with your partner(s) and the audience.

6. Variety of Movement. Drawing from as many different styles as it does, it’s no surprise that contemporary is so creative in it’s movement. Perfect for hip hop, lyrical, and other style dancers who want to increase their repertoire.

7. Floorwork. Gravity is your friend in contemporary dance, where moving down to the floor and back up is just another part of the action. The different levels this provides allows you to create more interesting and dynamic stories.

8. Choreography.Naturally all this creativity comes with a dark side, often making the choreography more difficult to follow. But hey, that’s just an opportunity for more growth, right? Working with a contemporary choreographer doesn’t just teach you how to follow movement, but also understand the intention behind the movement; the story that’s being told.

Now that your interest is piqued, consider checking out the contemporary classes offered at the Joy of Dance Centre. We offer three separate classes: Contemporary-Jazz, Contemporary-Lyrical, and Contemporary-Modern – click here for more information.

Next week, let’s wrap up with one more dance style: Tap dancing!

About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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