Modern vs. Contemporary Dance
20 Nov 2012

Modern vs. Contemporary Dance

I woke up this morning to an email from a friend that had a picture of Twyla Tharp with beautiful gray hair in a tilted position in 2nd. I hadn’t realized that she is in her late 60’s, to me certain things in life are timeless. Twyla has been a leader in choreography for many decades, having choreographed for the movie “Hair”, Barishnikov and her own company. I have often admired her spirit, and the way she broke through to so many different genres of dance. “The Hundreds” is a mathematical genius of choreography, and very much how I approach “the art of dance making”. Those of you who have studied dance in college has surely read that book by Doris Humphrey.
So, I decided to read through the newest Dance Magazine to see the latest in the world of dance when I came upon the article “Modern vs. Contemporary”. So often, we discuss what is the difference between the two and what exactly are we teaching and giving to the students? I think this quote sums up the difference: “Where modern dance moved against the grain of ballet, contemporary moves against the grain of classical modern techniques”. It goes on to say that Contemporary is something current and of this generation, a collaboration of modern and post modern techniques. There is no one person who is the “founder of contemporary” unlike in modern dance.
Our influences that are all around us are constantly shaping us and the world of dance. As we approach Thanksgiving and the holidays of the next month, let’s thank the ground breaking individuals that have helped inspire us and shape us into the new and exciting world that we live in. One that may be timeless is constantly breathing with change and excitement.

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