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The benefits of modern dance?


Ja Sm
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Just wondering if any of you knowledgable people can answer this. Just out of interest, why do application forms ask you to list what ballet and contemporary level and grade you have reached, but rarely ask specifically about modern dance? Maybe some do? Is contemporary considered more useful? Or even more fashionable? I wonder if anyone feels that there is a particular merit to one rather than the other, especially if a young dancer is looking at a dance career?

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I would think that Ballet-focused schools ask about Contemporary as Professional Ballet dancers these days really need to be versatile and have Contemporary training due to the increased amount of Contemporary/Contemporary Ballet in companies' repertoires.

 

Contemporary does require a level of physical and emotional maturity though, hence IMHO it is best studied as a teenager.

 

Modern - by which I mean ISTD style Modern Theatre/Jazz - is lovely and can be a nice relaxing contrast to Ballet, as well as being a style which can be studied at a younger age. I would say that it's a very useful style to have studied if one is interested in Musical Theatre or Commercial.

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I think that Ja Sm may have meant grade for ballet and level for contemporary... :)  Agreeing with Spanner, most ballet companies now have contemporary works in their repertoire, so teen ballet students have to have contemporary training these days.

 

The forms I've seen usually have three spaces - 'ballet', 'contemporary', and 'other', so presumably you can enter all the details of whatever dance style you like in the 'other' bit. There probably wouldn't be room on the application form for them to list jazz, tap, modern, street etc separately.

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Yes DD struggled with that - Jazz, Modern, Tap, Salsa, African, Ballroom & Latin wouldn't 'fit' anywhere :( & as she worked out most of them wouldn't care about the others

 

Oddly enough friend was talking about Contemporary - she was frustrated as when she asked school about the 'type' of contemporary they did (eg Horton, Cunningham, Release, Graham etc) & got the answer well just Contemporary you know,

 

Is there a sort of general 'contemporary' class or would it generally be based on the types I mentioned?

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I have also wondered about what type of contemporary the vocational schools teach .......

I also found it confusing as to what exactly " modern " meant . For younger dancers in a festival for example a modern piece can be lyrical , jazzy or contemporary . The classes are not often separated till 13 or 14 , so I suppose on the application form is can mean any kind of modern theatre dance as spanner says they don't usually have the emotional maturity to study contemporary at lower school entry level .

 

I have also wondered where the line is drawn in Ballet Companies between neo classical , contemporary and modern ballet ?

It seems , to this uneducated ballet watcher , when watching some of the more recent works e.g. some performances like Matthew Bourne's new adventures , that there is a fusion ?!

Is it perhaps becoming more difficult to categorise the newer ballets ?

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I have also wondered about what type of contemporary the vocational schools teach .......

I also found it confusing as to what exactly " modern " meant . For younger dancers in a festival for example a modern piece can be lyrical , jazzy or contemporary . The classes are not often separated till 13 or 14 , so I suppose on the application form is can mean any kind of modern theatre dance as spanner says they don't usually have the emotional maturity to study contemporary at lower school entry level .

 

I have also wondered where the line is drawn in Ballet Companies between neo classical , contemporary and modern ballet ?

It seems , to this uneducated ballet watcher , when watching some of the more recent works e.g. some performances like Matthew Bourne's new adventures , that there is a fusion ?!

Is it perhaps becoming more difficult to categorise the newer ballets ?

 

At one time the line drawn between the truely classical repertoire such as Giselle, Swan Lake, etc. and modern/contemporary dance was very obvious.  Since modern was born as a purposeful counter to classical ballet, it went to great lengths to not resemble in any way the classical ballet.  It did not emphasize - and often eschewed - turnout, it rseerved the right to run counter to the music, it was sometimes danced in silence, pointe shoes and even slippers were banned, costuming was minimal, nude, - aiming for anything but the classical look.   Hair was let down, or cut short - anything except a ballet bun.  Modern stressed its opposition to ballet.  

 

It did not use the French vocabulary of the ballet, and though now at times a modern dancer will use a ballet term, there are still people who bristle if the term "pas de deux" is used instead of "duo" or if "piroette" is used instead of "turn."

 

At one point, a ballet such as "Les Sylphides" (which we would probably list as classical) was considered neo-classical.  It incorporated several concepts which were a break from the "true" classical ballet. 

 

But for the last 20-30 years the two sisters - ballet and modern - have been acknowledging their relationship and debt to one another.  In some ways it is still a relationship fraught with suspicion but in other ways each has profitied.  It began with ballet's need for choreographers - it has always suffered from a dearth thereof whilst modern has almost always had an abundance of choreographers.  So, ballet borrowed and was changed.

 

On the other side, modern dancers began a reapprochment to ballet acknowledging there is much to gain from a ballet "education" - ballet class can provide the basic underpinning of strength and control that the modern dancer needs in order to respond to the difficulties of modern dance.  Thus, many professional level ballet class are well stocked with modern dancers.

 

I hope this helps.

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Oh thank you so much Anjuli that has so beautifully explained the perceived "fusion" or perhaps "evolution " and the reason for the need to evolve .

It makes me wonder where we will be in another 20 years by the time our little dancers are matured and pushing the frontiers of dance !

Whilst the pure clasical is a thing if great beauty and to be cherished I have no doubt that the future of ballet must be to move with the times which I suppose is the meaning if con-temporary !

 

It is good to know that what I have observed and felt is in fact close to the truth !

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