Why Not Teach Contemporary Dance To Beginners?

Poetry In Motion Ladder 1Contemporary dance is a fusion of ballet and modern in it’s most simplistic definition. And most western dance forms acknowledge that ballet is the foundation of them all, not because it’s superior, but because it came first. So it’s difficult to teach or for that matter learn other forms without a strong background in ballet. And of course that is why young students who take dance recreationally and start with something ‘fun’ like jazz or hip hop have limited success. Which isn’t a problem until they decide “Mom, I’d like to be on a team”. I’ve seen this a lot and it’s rather heartbreaking But understandably, dance studios are not in the habit of turning away families who think the ‘fun’ is short term. But what a problem when they decide that after 4 years of dance, they should be ‘good enough’ to make a team. Ooops! But I digress. In a perfect world, we would all learn foundational material as children before we progress to the more complex. With language, you learn letters first, then simple sentence structure, then paragraphs, then compositions, etc. Trying to teach a stylized version of anything without the basic structure is doomed to failure or, at best, mediocre results.

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