Contemporary Ballet

Today I will take ballet class, like I do every day. I’ll wear a black leotard and pink tights like the rest of my classmates. I’ll work my way through the barre exercises without once stopping to think. I’ll practice the same movements I’ve been doing for years. Ballet is a classic dance form. It’s often perceived as stuffy, strict and structured, with little room for personal interpretation. Traditionally, ballet dancers must look bony, behave modestly and do what they’re told. Ballet is always the same, so where does it fit into a world that is continuously changing?

Unfortunately, classical ballet is old news to most dancers, choreographers and enthusiasts. We’ve all seen The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. We’ve studied the variations, learned the steps and performed in the shows it certainly gets monotonous. These days, dancers and choreographers on the cutting edge are taking the next step. They’re finding ways to bend the rules without completely disregarding the conventions of traditional ballet.

Ballet has provided a strong foundation, but perfect technique just isn’t enough anymore. Many dance programs, especially those at colleges and universities, now choose to concentrate on a combination of modern dance and classical ballet. Ballet training is still essential, but the boundaries have been broken the rise of modern dance has allowed ballet dancers to reach another level. In ballet, there are the age-old positions that are established as correct. Straying from the norm is considered wrong. In modern, there is no right and wrong. So, with this new style of modern-ballet fusion, dancers may choose to mix and match their training. Ballet training helps to strengthen modern dance pieces, and knowledge of modern style gives some freedom to traditional ballet. When the styles are combined, the result is much more powerful than either form on its own.

Ballet class will never lose its importance – all dance technique is rooted in these simple exercises. But nowadays, young dancers are more involved in using their technique to help them create something innovative, rather than sticking with the same structured steps. The emerging popularity of contemporary ballet has opened up a world of opportunities for dancers. There is much more creativity involved in coming up with movement rather than simply copying classical pieces from the past. Contemporary ballet can be inspired by absolutely anything. Traditional pointe work may be performed to an unconventional song. On the other hand, off-beat steps can be done to classical music. The floor is open these days for all kinds of dance to come together. Contemporary ballet allows dancers and choreographers to really tap into their creative side and come up with something the audience will remember something they have never been exposed to before.