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Defining Contemporary Ballet

Over hundreds of years since its inception, classical ballet changed very little.  As a dance form, it was very specific in what movements, or pointework, it allowed.  But through the last several decades, many people decided to push the boundaries and explore what was possible by combining the classical art of ballet with more modern dance styles.  This creative exploration became known as contemporary ballet.


Contemporary ballet is a combination of classical ballet and modern dance.


Just as there are many different types of dance, there are also many different types and styles of ballet.  Traditional, or classical ballet, has origins going back several centuries.  Hundreds of years of focus on the classical style of formal dance makes it one of the most established forms of dance in existence.  In comparison with classical ballet, contemporary ballet is a little bit more flexible—combining the traditional form of ballet dance with components and aspects of other modern dance influence.  Depending on who is setting the definition of contemporary ballet, it can be either very true to its classical roots with just minor exceptions, or it can be much more lenient and reflective of modern dance.


Contemporary ballet can influence one’s mind and body with movements like never before.


Either way you look at it, ballet, in both its traditional and contemporary forms, is quite an impressive form of dance when it comes to the way mind and body come together to make the dance movements possible.  While classical ballet remains very formal, and in some ways even limited in the way it can be performed, the flexibility and modern nature of contemporary ballet allows for an entirely new range of possibilities.  Impressive new art dance movements are wholly possible in contemporary ballet that would never be available through the more traditional form of ballet.


Contemporary ballet goes back years in its own regard.


Now the concept of contemporary ballet itself is becoming more and more deeply rooted in tradition.  This modern form of ballet can be traced back many decades.  So even as the idea of contemporary ballet was once all about adding new freedom and flexibility to a tried and true classical art form, the standards and traditions of even modern ballet are becoming more and more set in stone in what we call contemporary ballet.  That’s not to say that skillful and creative ballerinas won’t continue to push the boundaries of the dance form—but it will in all likelihood continue to become another new form of ballet on its own.

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