Encyclopedia of Dance: Contempo


Contempo is often called the dance of the soul. And no wonder, because it is this direction of choreography that allows not only to perform dance steps, but also to “speak” with the help of the body.

Contemporary dance (contemporary dance) — literally means «modern dance». Today contemporary is one of the most popular dance directions of modern choreography in the world. Which, in general, is not at all surprising, because this dance, which received the laconic name “contempo” in the Russian version, is very sensual, emotional, plastic and spectacular.

The history of the origin of the dance

Many sources claim that the birth of contempo, as a dance direction, took place in the West back in the 50s of the last century. However, if you delve into the history of the emergence of contemporary dance, it becomes clear that it is impossible to name a specific date and place where this dance was first danced. According to some sources, the birthplace of the contempo is America, others call Central Europe. There is even an opinion that oriental techniques (yoga, tai chi, etc.) became the progenitors of contempo, which means that this dance direction appeared in the East.

However, wherever the primary sources of contempo are geographically located, in the modern world it is danced everywhere. And in the choreography of the dance itself, there are elements of both Western dance styles (modern, jazz, pop and folk dances, classical ballet), and Eastern techniques and cultures (yoga, elements of martial arts). One of the main ideas of contempo is the dancer’s ability to move away from the classical dogmas of choreography and express himself with the help of «free» dance.

Today, contempo is one of the most popular dance styles in the world. Various competitions, competitions, championships are held both at the regional and international levels. This direction is actively taught in dance schools. Contempo performances get standing ovations at numerous dance shows all over the world.

What is contemp?

Contempo is called differently. Someone associates this direction with a sincere conversation, someone — with the theater, someone — with a plastic form of expression of the inner world of a dancer. All these opinions can really fully characterize contemporary dance. After all, this direction, first of all, involves the expression of one’s feelings and emotions through dance.

In contempo, a very important role is played by the connection between the internal state of the dancer and his reflection in the dance. The “correct” dance in the contemporary style is not so much the technicality and clarity of the choreography, but the correspondence of body movements to the dancer’s worldview, the ability to convey an informational (spiritual) message to the viewer.

Dance Features

Contempo can be performed in several techniques at once:

  • Vertical contempo (dance in a standing position)
  • Parterre (pole dance)
  • Paired (dance with a partner)

Greater attention in kontempempe is given to breathing training. This aspect of the dance is “responsible” for the oriental techniques used in this direction. Breathing in contempo is an assistant in movement, an energy message that turns into body movements.

Also borrowed from Eastern practices are methods of training coordination, balance, “flowing” of the body from one position to another. If in classical choreography many elements are performed due to muscle strength, then in contempo the same elements are often implemented using techniques from oriental techniques (for example, long standing on half-fingers).

Another special moment that distinguishes contempo from other dance styles is its orientation “inside”. This not only allows the dancer to express their emotions more deeply, but is also reflected in the uniqueness of some of the movements in the delivery. So, for example, with all the visual lightness of the dance, the dancer performs almost everything, as if overcoming gravity, i.e. the main emphasis in the movement is not the ascending part, but the descending one.

Contempo, in turn, borrowed not only many individual elements from modern Western dance trends, but also general theatricality, as well as the construction of the logic and pattern of dance. This suggests that in each new production, a small story must necessarily be told, whether it be a specific event, phenomenon or emotion, with its own plot, semantic part and climax.

Dance to your health!

Author: Natalia Kay

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