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Throw away the rule book and get ready to express yourself. Modern dance rejects the structured discipline of ballet, and focuses instead on devising new movements and steps, making it perfect for those who like to rebel against tradition. Great for giving the whole body a thorough workout, this dance also allows you to unleash your creative side, meaning that you get to exercise your imagination as well as your body.
Modern dance places emphasis on exploring emotion and expressing personality through movement. Dancers make use of steps from established forms of dance such as African and Latin dance, but also create and introduce their own moves to make performances more personal. Modern dance rejects the idea that dance must always be light and graceful, and encourages dancers to make the most of their body weight in order to express themselves. Warming up is an important part of any dance (no one wants a nasty injury).
Classes typically begin with a warm up session to stretch the muscles and prepare the body for movement. The teacher then helps dancers to learn integral modern dance steps, before advising them on how they can personalise their performance and introduce their own interpretation. More experienced dancers are often encouraged to devise their own routines, meaning that there is always more to explore, even at an advanced level.
Your teacher will let you know what they would like you to wear for your classes. For your first class it’s best to dress in something that’s comfortable and not too tight, to allow for freedom of movement. If you have long hair, tie it back to keep it out of your face when you dance (unless you’re going to whip it back and forth of course).
A popular alternative to ballet, modern dance is performed by both men and women, and classes are available for beginners of all ages.
As it incorporates lots of different moves, modern dance is good for giving most areas of the body a workout and improving general fitness and flexibility. It may also help you to improve your posture – no slouching in dance class...
Expression in modern dance isn’t just limited to creative steps - performances often involve a variety of different costumes and music.
American modern dancer Martha Graham is considered to have been highly influential in the dance’s development. She developed what she called her own ‘language’ of dance, which incorporated costume, props, scenery and movement.