History of Contemporary Dance

History of Contemporary Dance

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Contemporary dance is a popular form of dance which developed during the middle portion of the twentieth century and has since grown to become one of the dominating performance genres for formally trained dancers throughout the world, with particularly strong popularity in the U.S. and western Europe.

Although originally informed by and borrowing from classical, modern, and jazz styles, it has since come to incorporate elements from many styles of dance, but due to its popularity amongst trained dancers and some overlap in movement type, it is often perceived as being closely related to modern dance, ballet and other classical concert dance styles.

In terms of the focus of its technique, contemporary dance tends to utilize both the strong and controlled legwork of ballet and modern dance’s stress on the torso, and also employs contact-release, floor work, fall and recovery, and improvisation characteristic of modern dance.

Unpredictable changes in rhythm, speed, and direction are often used, as well. It sometimes also incorporates elements of non-western dance cultures such as elements from African dance including bent knees, or movements from the Japanese contemporary dance Butoh.