Dance is everywhere. Anywhere from hip hop, jazz, and ballet. Walking down the streets of New York you may see over ten different styles of dance. One of the most elegant that I have seen is contemporary ballet. This form of dance is like walking into an art gallery to see the fabulous pieces of art on the well. Only this time it is a gallery of dance with the center and most beautiful pieces being ballet. The real question is, what is contemporary ballet?
Ballet can date back to the Ballets Russes, from 1909 to 1929. This was during a time that it was not well known. Starting around 1948 we saw the birth of one of the greatest cities in the United States. Welcome the New York City Ballet. Yet, somewhere during these times, we were introduced contemporary ballet that was dated between the 1920s and the 1940s. In the world of dance, that puts contemporary ballet as being a bit of post-modern and classical ballet.
I mentioned earlier how contemporary ballet is a work of art. Art is the creation of a masterpiece. Contemporary Ballet can be defined as a masterpiece that is currently being created. Dancers, directors, and choreographers begin to create these pieces in the ’60s by taking the best costume designs, music, and several other factors in dance and start to create new and elegant pieces of art. This was the beginning of an idea of cross-training or combining all genres of dance.
From the 60’s we move to the ’80s where some great choreographers found a way to manipulate this technique of the classics. They did that in a way that today we can see this as the standard in today's repertoire. Some of these great choreographers included Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, and John Cranko.
Today most of us know some of the greats in contemporary ballet. These are only a few who are leading the way. They are Wayne McGregor, Alexei Ratmansky, Justin Peck, etc.
There is a thin line the divides contemporary ballet from contemporary dance. They are not the same. Some may say it is one and the same. The real difference is the reason the dance or ballet was created. Dance and ballet are based on feeling and embracing that feeling. Then taking those feeling and expressing yourself. Yet, contemporary dance is for the moment. That means, what you are feeling at that moment and embracing those feels. Those same feeling can be applied to contemporary ballet. Although, you show a different story. You begin to show how you began to feel this way, what you are feeling now, and how you overcome this feeling. It is like riding on a roller coaster of emotions. A contemporary ballet will be about survival and the test of time.
Contemporary ballet will lead you through a story. There is only so much a choreographer can do. The real emotions come from the dancers and their real emotions. In the world of ballet, you will continue to see some of the greatest pieces performed. Keep in mind, the creation of these great classics is a dying art. There are few new pieces are being created and Neumeier, MacMillan, and Tudor may have created the last of the “classical” masterpieces in the world of ballet.
King D. (17 September 2017). What is Contemporary Ballet? Retrieved from the Ballet Education website: https://aballeteducation.com/2017/09/17/what-is-contemporary-ballet/
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