Difference Between Ballet and Contemporary Dance


Ballet & Contemporary dance is considered one of the most beautiful ways to express yourself to music, whether classical or modern hip hop steps. However, there are several differences and similarities in dance’s world containing cross-overs and borrowed steps. Various dance centers offer you almost all types of dancing, including ballet dance, based on their years of experience. Naturally, however, you are more likely to have your favorite one to dance to, and you prefer that one over the other. But if you are interested in the major difference between ballet and contemporary dance, then we got you.

In this article, we will talk about the differences between ballet and contemporary dance. Here are some of the things that set both of them apart. Read out the article to find more about it.

Differences between Classical Ballet and Modern Contemporary Dance

Classical ballet and contemporary dance are unique and different in their structures. No matter whether they share the same emitting of emotion, there are still countless differences between them. Ballet includes some graceful movements and focuses on the longest lines possible, along with its adherence to form and technique. On the other hand, contemporary dance offers you a huge amount of freedom.

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Read: How Baby Ballet Can Be Taught

How Baby Ballet Can Be Taught

How is Classical Ballet different from Contemporary dance?

You might think that ballet dances are always very liked by the audience. Here are some factors that ensure that your dance classifies as classical ballet. Let’s go through them.

1- The ballet must tell a story

Do you have any idea that Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Coppelia, and Romeo and Juliet are all famous ballet works? Most of them are very well-known and adored fairy tales that are inculcated into our minds in our childhood. In these fairy tales, a boy and girl often deal with a problem that may get resolved. Typically, good prevails over evil.

2- The ballet must have costumes and scenery

It would be amazing to know that classical ballet is always supported by soft music that perfectly goes with a story, expensive and extravagant costumes, and scenery. Being a female, you must wear pointe shoes and tutus in classical ballet dance.

3- The ballet must have a character dance

Classical ballet must include a folk or a character dance. Some of the most well-known roles for a character dance in ballet may include Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Giselle.

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Tips to Learn Russian Ballet

What is Contemporary Ballet?

Contemporary ballet is a style of modern dance that links or meshes classical ballet with modern dance. It creates movements that can be more expressive and less rigid in form and technique than classical ballet. This dance often starts with learning basic classical ballet techniques. After that, you must build up a range of movements and styles along with additional training in modern dance and ballet techniques.

How to Distinguish Contemporary Dance from Ballet Dance?

Here are some key characteristics that may help you distinguish Contemporary dance from earlier forms of ballet.

1- Incorporation of Floor work

It is an element of Contemporary dance that is heavily borrowed from contemporary dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. This element involves ballet dancers having to perform movements on the floor instead of just standing upright.

2- Do not have Ballet Shoes

In this ballet performance, dancers or ballerinas have to perform barefoot instead of wearing pointe shoes. The lack of ballet shoes allows them a comparatively greater range of motion than just adhering to the classical pointe work.

3- More upper body movements

The dancer’s spine is rigid in classical dance, so there is little upper body movement. But not in the case of contemporary dance. In this ballet, you may have to feature a wide range of upper-body dance movements that resemble modern dance more closely than classical ballet.

Read: what is modern ballet & classical ballet?

What is Modern Ballet & Classical Ballet

Why is Contemporary Dance Becoming So Popular?

It is interesting that contemporary ballet was created with a combination of modern dance and classical ballet in the 1980s. However, there are many reasons why the idea of classical ballet is getting so outdated. Nowadays, women no longer want to be portrayed as frail or needing saving. On the contrary, they want to reveal their power and show the world they can save themselves. So basically, fluidity, freedom, and improvisation are the things that truly define contemporary ballet.

Rather than this, another factor that scores a point for contemporary dance in classical ballet vs. contemporary ballet is the welcoming of male dancers into the dance world. However, in the past, female dancers caught the center’s attention by taking center stage. It is because of their elegant costumes and extravagant leaps. And the only male role was to make them look good. But now, males also have huge and main roles in contemporary dance. They own a specific place to take center stage, and rightly so. Yet, they can also demonstrate their skills and magnificent dancing performance without being hidden in the shadow of a female dancer, tutu, or scenery. From all this, you may get the idea that contemporary dance is all about elegance and aesthetics. However, the debate about classical and contemporary ballet may continue for years. Some ballerinas like contemporary, but some dancers still favor classical. It’s all about you finding what’s right for you.

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Summing Up

The above discussed are some of the factors that differentiate classical ballet from contemporary. However, whether you opt for classical ballet or contemporary, you need dedication and consistency to become a proficient dancer. However, if you are looking for a dance school in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, or Sharjah for your ballet classes, visit no other than Melodica Music and Dance Institute. We offer the best ballet classes in the town with the help of trained teachers and professional staff

If you’re searching for the best music classes in Dubai and dance classes in Dubai, we invite you to join us at our music school & dance studio. We offer excellent instruction in both areas.

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