Contemporary or Classical?
Ahh, the age-old debate Contemporary or Classical? For any of you that know me I’m sure you already know that I would without any hesitation choose contemporary. That being said, I believe it is extremely important to have both forms of dance. In my opinion one does not exist without the other. They are not mutually exclusive of each other they indeed work together to bring out the best in both dance forms.
Classical ballet is important because it gives us a base or a foundation. I believe no matter what type of dance you are performing or training in jazz, tap, lyrical, character, etc etera; it is important for you to also be training in classical ballet. Ballet is the base from which all the now codified types of dance spawned from, making it a pivotal tool in training all types of dance. It’s like the chicken and the egg debate; which came first the chicken or the egg? If ballet is the chicken and other formalized dance forms are the egg. It does not really matter which came first because you cannot have one without the other.
It is important as an artist to have a technical base and strength from which you can use to push the boundaries of your body and movement. Your ballet technique governs the off balance turns and movements of contemporary dance by giving you the knowledge of where to let go or when to let go of certain muscles to make the new interesting lines and movement possible.
With that being said I would choose contemporary every time because for me as an artist that’s when I actually feel like I am dancing. Doing contemporary work is what sets my soul on fire, what makes me feel the most alive. Pushing my body to do new things, making weird lines, seeing if a lift like this is possible, using your head in non traditional ways, the importance of the hands all the tiny little gestures and nuances that mean something in a completely abstract way. That is what I live for. For me contemporary work is almost like I can move in my most natural state, the way my body was intended to; and I can live in those moments as the creature I really am.
Photo Credits: Jamison Mosley