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Is lyrical ALWAYS based on the lyrics of a SONG?


DancingtoDance
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I was wondering is lyrical ALWAYS based on the lyrics of a song? Like can it be based on spoken words, a poem etc? And if it CAN be based on spoken words etc how do you tell the difference between lyrical and contemporary?

Any answers will be greatly appreciated.

Edited by DancingtoDance
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In my experience of recent festivals there does always seem to be a song. Not sure about poems, DD had a poem in Greek dance. We once went to a lyrical section where the adjudicator reckoned most people's dances weren't Lyrical as things like they spent too much time on the floor! If I can find the notes I made will let you know. You can perhaps see if looking up All England and Lyrical produces anything. Have never watched Contemporary sections so can't comment on that. Lyical normal seems graceful and flowing to me!

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If it's for a competition you might be better to refer to their category guidelines but you can have lyrical or contemporary to anything but they are different styles of dance.

 

Lyrical as I understand it is ballet oriented with story telling and interpretation of lyrics.

 

Contemporary is more modern/unpredictable strange and unusual movement with recognisable contemporary technique.

 

I've seen both styles done to the spoken word and poems and they are becoming a lot more popular and I've seen some competitions have their own category for spoken word pieces now

 

:)

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The syllabus for a dance festival fairly local to me states, 'based on modern dance technique, lyrical modern should show flowing movement expressing the emotion of the music. No acrobatic moves and floor work should be kept to a minimum.' This may vary from festival to festival but should help as a starting point. I scribe at several festivals (and therefore watch a lot of dances!) and would say that it is more usual to dance a lyrical modern to a song with lyrics (but avoid inappropriate love songs for younger girls) but it's not uncommon for it to be instrumental. Hope this helps ????

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DTD I'm really not the best person to describe contemporary but from what I have gleaned it's more independent of the music, variations in speed and direction, lots of contract and release stuff

 

Technique based around Cunningham principles. Other technique that dd talks about is door/wheel/table planes.

 

Flexed feet more common than pointed feet and things such as breathing or sounds

 

Gosh that's probably the worst explanation ever .. Dd would rip me to pieces haha.

 

Just to confuse things further if it's an American competition the proper contemporary belongs more in their 'modern' categories rather than contemporary which seems to be more contemporary jazz with high kicks, pirouettes etc

 

For All England there just seems to be a blend of lyrical/contemporary in both categories and from the ones that qualify or score high my personal opinion is it's just what the adjudicator liked regardless of category :)

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Well actually as I wasn't getting many answers here at first, I asked this, and I had also asked similar question about what style a dance was which turned out to be contemporary, somewhere else and someone (a former professional ballet dancer from the US so this would be the US explanation) said contemporary dance has no rules, can be danced to music, noise, silence or spoken words, can be emotional or completely devoid of all emotion and just be line and movement, and that the technique used for contemporary dance is rooted in both ballet and codified modern dance technique but movements can range from very balletic to simple and pedestrian (the explanation is hers except I took out some words like 'it', but it is her explanation).  She also said that the term contemporary dance is often misused in recital and competition schools. That explanation was also what I had in mind when thinking about 'contemporary' dance. According to her answer (not word-for-word), and also what I had in mind 'lyrical' means based on the lyrics of a song or it can be spoken words, but the difference between that and contemporary is that in lyrical dance it is literally reflecting the words. I don't know if that is what 'lyrical' means in the UK though.

 

By now I think definitions are super confusing!!!

Edited by DancingtoDance
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We had a wonderful Contemporary teacher at Urdang; an American called Therese Nelson. She adored Martha Graham. The first term I was completely useless; far too balletic.She used to yell at me, "You're bastardising Martha Graham"!! I just didn't have a clue. Then for some reason,about half way through the second term I just got it and "felt" it, the way I had only ever "felt" dancing ballet  before. Ended up loving it almost as much as ballet.

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Contemporary dance has come from pioneers of Modern dance, its the techniques of it Graham Cunningham etc.

I would say Lyrical Jazz is freer and less rigid than traditional jazz, its execution allows more space for personal expression, You can play with the music a little more tilt lines have a more expressive upper body. It often has a more balletic line and vocab.I always think it looks like silk when you watch it you feel peaceful rather than excited.

Hope this helps

Edited by Nicola Moriarty
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Dance2dance. Your US friend gave a perfect description of both styles!!! I'm an ex contemp dancer (uk based) and current mum of dance competitor (all England etc). Those descriptions also hold good for the AED competitions. Contemp is based more in ballet than "modern".

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Dance2dance. Your US friend gave a perfect description of both styles!!! I'm an ex contemp dancer (uk based) and current mum of dance competitor (all England etc). Those descriptions also hold good for the AED competitions. Contemp is based more in ballet than "modern".

 

So in what exactly does 'contemporary' refer to - is it 'modern' or what I think of as 'contemporary' and is it different in competitions??? What do you call what is called Concert Contemporary in the US?

Edited by DancingtoDance
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So in what exactly does 'contemporary' refer to - is it 'modern' or what I think of as 'contemporary' and is it different in competitions??? What do you call what is called Concert Contemporary in the US?

As I said, in the UK we call Graham/Cunningham/Release/Limon etc "Contemporary" and in the US they call it "Modern".

 

I haven't heard of Concert Contemporary.

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Lyrical was described to me as being a fusion of ballet and jazz as it includes elements of both, but is above all expressive - showing emotion through dance and hence songs are often used as the lyrics and dance steps go together to create an expressive dance.

 

Contemporary dance to me is how the poster US friend above described it. No rules, danced to music or without, movements ranging considerably and taking bits and adapting them from ballet, jazz etc.  Contemporary is quite a generic term though and there are many different styles within contemporary but students are generally taught the techniques of Graham, Cunningham, Limon etc to get them started on their individual contemporary styles.

 

Jazz has its origins in Africa and the slaves that went over to America and kept their dance traditions going.  Again, there is a huge variety in styles of jazz. I believe our 'modern dance theatre jazz' is linked to the styles that became popular as jazz began to appear in films and theatres and as people wanted to be taught in classes.  That is obviously quite different to the more stylistics techniques of Bob Fosse, Luigi etc and very different to commercial jazz also.

 

I've not heard of concert contemporary as such but I do wonder if it is referring to a more 'popular' generic style aimed at theatre audiences, rather than class based technique-based dance.

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I struggle quite a lot with contemporary - for me dance & music are entwined and if I don't like the music I struggle to like the dance - contemporary without music or with 'modern' (rather than classical or pop) music I kind of lose the plot a bit and don't really enjoy watching it

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