Monday, January 2, 2012

Classic and Modern Forms of Dancing

Ballet is Traditional and Classic
Ballet is the foundation of most other forms of dance, including modern dance. Traditional or classic ballet starts by teaching the basic 5 positions. Other steps and movements evolve from the basic positions, and ballet dancers spend years training so they can perform these movements technically correctly. Ballet performances are mostly traditional, with ballerinas training to perform classic ballets that have been performed for decades with the same technical efficiency as prima ballerinas from many years past. Ballet is a formalized study of dance with defined esthetics to the dance movements.
Modern Puts a Twist on Traditional Dance
Modern dance, on the other hand, takes the basics of ballet and puts an interpretive twist on the traditional or classic movements. While ballet movements typically flow, modern dance movements can be sharp and show contrast and conflict. Instead of a leg extended perfectly into a toe point, a modern interpretation may show a bent stiff leg lifted up while performing. The hands aren't always delicate as in ballet, but may be flat, stiff or even fisted. Although many of modern dance movements evolved from basic ballet, they go outside of what is technically correct for ballet, thus becoming modern dance. Modern dance performances attempt to take on new meaning with an edgier appeal instead of studying the classics from decades past.
Ballet or Modern Dance?
Classical and traditional ballet dancers wear ballet slippers or ballet pointe shoes. The young ballet students wear the slippers, while the older, more trained ballet dancers wear the pointe shoes. Modern dancers typically go barefoot when they dance. Some modern dancers wear flat ballet slippers or a leather dance strap to appear barefoot, but to protect the bottom of the feet.
A Modern Ballet, How Can That Be?
Just when you thought it couldn't get anymore confusing trying to distinguish modern dance from ballet, it does just that. It's not uncommon to see a dance company perform a "modern ballet." This is really a wonderful dance experience to see. The modern ballet takes the basics of ballet and infuses this with some creative elements from modern dance. The modern ballet is performed barefoot or on pointe. The music is usually nontraditional for ballet, giving the dance a more modern feel.

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