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Ballet Talk for Dancers

contemporary


Guest haylee

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Haylee, Contemporary is Britspeak for Modern Dance. How it differs from ballet is highly dependent on which technique is studied. Graham technique, for example, is just as codified as ballet, but very different in the ways that it uses muscles. She found movement and energy proceeding from "centers" in the body, with the major one at the solar plexus. Other techniques have different kinesiologies.

 

It's different, and not necessarily easier.

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Hi Haylee,

I'll second what Major Mel said - it's different, not necessarily easier. And it really depends on what technique the class is based on - there is one one kind of "modern" dance. There are tons! Some may seem more like performance art, others are very similar to ballet.

 

The modern classes that I love most are Horton technique based, which is very rigorous - I'd say as challenging as ballet. You really work on your back and arms in that class (it helps your ballet technique!!)

 

Some of my teachers also have Graham training and incorporate that into their classes. I've only had the opportunity to take a full graham syllabus class once though, and I have to say I didn't really like it - it may have been though because I jumped in without much background, and the teacher for this particular class didn't explain very much, so I was sort of lost. I think I could get to like it if I had it regularly though.

 

I also have a teacher whose class is based on Dunham technique, which works on the ideas of fall/release and recovery - I love it. It's a great complement to the other stuff I do.

 

In all the modern classes I take we still do plies, tendus, degages, rond de jambe, etc., plus the other exersizes that are particular to that technique.

 

Where are you in Australia? I was in Melbourne last year and I wasn't able to find any modern classes like the ones I was used to at home - but I'm sure there are others I might have liked if I'd had time to try more places out.

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