Style Spotlight: Contemporary

Contemporary Dance is one of the most versatile dance styles. The style is a relatively new one in the world of dance, in comparison to classical styles like ballet, tap and jazz- however it has become one of the most popular, especially with dancers in their senior years. 

But what is contemporary dance?

The nature of contemporary dance is that it does not mark a period in time. Instead, it is a style of movement that is always changing and adapting to echo contemporary art forms and engage with contemporary concerns and ideas.The style is often misunderstood – unlike traditional styles of dance, it does not follow any strict rules. In fact, it was developed as a way to challenge the traditional hierarchy and structure found in traditional dance styles.

It involves a blend of ballet based technique with expressive movements, often contractions, releases, suspensions and elevations, to represent the dancer’s emotions. Because of this, it is a style unique to each contemporary dancer.

Contemporary dance emerged in the early twentieth century when the American dancer Isadora Duncan (1878-1927) departed from the traditional style of ballet and developed a more fluid style of movement citing the ‘ocean’ as her main source of inspiration, and experimenting with quick changes in direction, rhythm, speed and using more floor work.

Another key figure in the development of contemporary dance was Martha Graham(1894-1991), credited with bringing contemporary dance into the mainstream after founding her contemporary dance company in 1926.

Merce Cunningham (1919-2009), who was a student of Martha Graham, more clearly broke away from traditional styles by embracing technology, visual art like the work of Andy Warhol and experimenting with different sounds other than music.

Overall, Contemporary dance is a creative, expressive style that can be interpreted differently by each and every dancer!

If you are passionate about self-expression and interested in exploring emotions and creativity through dance, then Contemporary may be the style for you!

If you are interested in enrolling in or trialling a free contemporary class, contact us at





This article was adapted from the following sources:


17 Nov 2020