What is “Contemporary” Dance?

Dance Doc's Think Tank

Defining dance and locating its roots is never simple and never complete, but the attempt is always enlightening. All summer I have been thinking about Contemporary dance: Historically, how did Contemporary dance evolve? What are its major influences and artistic motivations? What are its distinguishing features? How does one train to become a Contemporary dancer? In my quest for answers I’ve searched the web, asked local dancers, and listened carefully to the judges on SYTYCD who often comment on the subject. (In fact, I never even heard of Contemporary before SYTYCD arrived on the air six years ago. Hence my curiosity.) Here are some beginning speculations on the subject.

Part 1: Historical Influences

I found one description on www.wisegeek.com. How well it expresses the opinion of the Contemporary dance community, I do not know, but it’s a good starting point.

“Contemporary dance is a style of dance which emerged…

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