Contemporary ballet

Contemporary ballet

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Contemporary ballet is a form of dance
Dance
Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting....

 which incorporates elements of both classical ballet
Classical ballet
Classical Ballet is the most formal of the ballet styles, it adheres to traditional ballet technique. There are variations relating to area of origin, such as Russian ballet, French ballet, British ballet and Italian ballet...

 and modern dance
Modern dance
Modern dance is a dance form developed in the early 20th century. Although the term Modern dance has also been applied to a category of 20th Century ballroom dances, Modern dance as a term usually refers to 20th century concert dance.-Intro:...

. It takes its technique and use of pointework from classical ballet, although it permits a greater range of movement that may not adhere to the strict body lines set forth by schools of ballet technique. Many of its concepts come from the ideas and innovations of 20th century modern dance
Modern dance
Modern dance is a dance form developed in the early 20th century. Although the term Modern dance has also been applied to a category of 20th Century ballroom dances, Modern dance as a term usually refers to 20th century concert dance.-Intro:...

, including floorwork, balletic movements and andturn-in of the legs.

History


George Balanchine
George Balanchine
George Balanchine , born Giorgi Balanchivadze in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to a Georgian father and a Russian mother, was one of the 20th century's most famous choreographers, a developer of ballet in the United States, co-founder and balletmaster of New York City Ballet...

 is often considered to have been the first pioneer of contemporary ballet. Today the style he developed is known as neoclassical ballet
Neoclassical ballet
Neoclassical balletis the style of 20th century classical ballet exemplified by the works of George Balanchine. It draws on the advanced technique of 19th century Russian Imperial dance, but strips it of its detailed narrative and heavy theatrical setting...

, a style of dance between classical ballet and today's contemporary ballet. Balanchine used flexed hands (and occasionally feet), turned-in legs, off-centered positions and non-classical costumes (such as leotards and tunics instead of tutus) to distance himself from the classical and romantic ballet traditions. Balanchine also brought modern dancers in to dance with his company, the New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet is a ballet company founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. Leon Barzin was the company's first music director. Balanchine and Jerome Robbins are considered the founding choreographers of the company...

; one such dancer was Paul Taylor, who in 1959 performed in Balanchine's piece Episodes. Balanchine also worked with modern dance choreographer Martha Graham
Martha Graham
Martha Graham was an American modern dancer and choreographer whose influence on dance has been compared with the influence Picasso had on modern visual arts, Stravinsky had on music, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture.She danced and choreographed for over seventy years...

, expanding his exposure to modern techniques and ideas. Also during this period, choreographers such as John Butler and Glen Tetley began to consciously combine ballet and modern techniques in experimentation.

One dancer who trained with Balanchine and absorbed much of this neo-classical style was Mikhail Baryshnikov
Mikhail Baryshnikov
Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov is a Soviet and American dancer, choreographer, and actor, often cited alongside Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev as one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century. After a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, he defected to Canada in 1974...

. Following Baryshnikov's appointment as artistic director of the American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre , based in New York City, was one of the foremost ballet companies of the 20th century. It continues as a leading dance company in the world today...

 in 1980, he worked with various modern choreographers, most notably Twyla Tharp
Twyla Tharp
Twyla Tharp is an American dancer and choreographer, who lives and works in New York City.-Early years:Tharp was born in 1941 on a farm in Portland, Indiana, and was named after Twila Thornburg, the "Pig Princess" of the 89th Annual Muncie Fair in Indiana.she spend hours working on it to help her...

. Tharp choreographed Push Comes To Shove for ABT and Baryshnikov in 1976; in 1986 she created In The Upper Room for her own company. Both these pieces were considered innovative for their use of distinctly modern movements melded with the use of pointe shoes
Pointe shoes
A pointe shoe is a type of shoe worn by ballet dancers when performing pointework. Pointe shoes developed from the desire for dancers to appear weightless and sylph-like and have evolved to enable dancers to dance on the tips of their toes for extended periods of time...

 and classically-trained dancers — for their use of "contemporary ballet".

Tharp also worked with the Joffrey Ballet
Joffrey Ballet
The Joffrey Ballet is a dance company in Chicago, Illinois, founded in 1956. From 1995 to 2004, the company was known as The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. The company regularly performs classical ballets including Romeo & Juliet and The Nutcracker, while balancing those classics with pioneering modern...

 company, founded in 1957 by Robert Joffrey
Robert Joffrey
Robert Joffrey was an American dancer, teacher, producer and choreographer, known for his highly imaginative modern ballets...

. She choreographed Deuce Coupe for them in 1973, using pop music and a blend of modern and ballet techniques. The Joffrey Ballet continued to perform numerous contemporary pieces, many choreographed by co-founder Gerald Arpino
Gerald Arpino
Gerald Arpino was an American dancer and choreographer. He was the artistic director and co-founder of The Joffrey Ballet.-Life and career:...

.

Today there are many explicitly contemporary ballet companies and choreographers. These include Alonzo King
Alonzo King
Alonzo King is an American dancer and choreographer working in San Francisco, California. He is known for founding a contemporary ballet company, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, in 1982....

 and his company, Alonzo King's Lines Ballet; Nacho Duato and Compañia Nacional de Danza; William Forsythe
William Forsythe (dancer)
William Forsythe is an American dancer and choreographer resident in Frankfurt am Main in Hessen. He is known internationally for his work with the Ballett Frankfurt and The Forsythe Company...

, who has worked extensively with the Frankfurt Ballet and today runs The Forsythe Company
The Forsythe Company
The Forsythe Company is a dance ensemble of eighteen dancers based in Dresden, Germany. It was founded in 2005 by William Forsythe following the closure of the Frankfurt Ballet...

; Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, who are Co-Founders of Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Complexions Contemporary Ballet is a contemporary ballet company founded in 1994 by Artistic Directors Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson based in New York City comprising about 14 classical and contemporary dancers...

; and Jiří Kilián, former artistic director of the Nederlands Dans Theatre
Nederlands Dans Theatre
Nederlands Dans Theater is a Dutch contemporary dance company. NDT is headquartered at the Lucent Danstheater in The Hague...

. Traditionally "classical" companies, such as the Kirov
Mariinsky Ballet
The Mariinsky Ballet is a classical ballet company based at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Founded in the 18th century and originally known as the Imperial Russian Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet is one of the world's leading ballet companies...

 Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet, also regularly perform contemporary works.

Choreographers and companies

  • Sean Bovim
  • Karol Armitage - Armitage Gone! Dance
  • Alonzo King
    Alonzo King
    Alonzo King is an American dancer and choreographer working in San Francisco, California. He is known for founding a contemporary ballet company, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, in 1982....

    's Lines Ballet
  • William Forsythe
    William Forsythe (dancer)
    William Forsythe is an American dancer and choreographer resident in Frankfurt am Main in Hessen. He is known internationally for his work with the Ballett Frankfurt and The Forsythe Company...

     - The Forsythe Company
    The Forsythe Company
    The Forsythe Company is a dance ensemble of eighteen dancers based in Dresden, Germany. It was founded in 2005 by William Forsythe following the closure of the Frankfurt Ballet...

  • Nacho Duato
    Nacho Duato
    Juan Ignacio Duato Bárcia, also known as Nacho Duato is a Spanish modern ballet dancer and choreographer. After a long and successful career, he was selected by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Education as the artistic director of the National Spanish Dance Company in June 1990...

     and Compañia Nacional de Danza
    Spanish National Dance Company
    The Spanish National Dance Company, , was founded in 1979, originally as under the name of Ballet Nacional de España Clásico. Its first director was dancer Victor Ullate, followed by Maria de Avila, Ray Barra, Maya Plisetskaya, Nacho Duato , Hervé Palito and José Carlos Martínez since December...

  • Jiří Kilián - Nederlands Dans Theatre
    Nederlands Dans Theatre
    Nederlands Dans Theater is a Dutch contemporary dance company. NDT is headquartered at the Lucent Danstheater in The Hague...

  • Trey McIntyre Project
  • Mats Ek
    Mats Ek
    Mats Ek is a leading Swedish dance and ballet choreographer, dancer and stage director. He was the manager of the Cullberg Ballet from 1985 to 1993....

  • Ohad Naharin
    Ohad Naharin
    Ohad Naharin is an Israeli contemporary dancer, choreographer and dance company artistic director.-Biography:...

    - Batsheva Dance Company
    Batsheva Dance Company
    The Batsheva Dance Company is an internationally acclaimed dance company based in Tel Aviv, Israel. It was founded by Martha Graham and Baroness Batsheva De Rothschild in 1964....

  • Hans Van Manen
    Hans van Manen
    Hans van Manen is a Dutch ballet dancer, choreographer and photographer.He is a son of a German housemaid. He studied under Sonia Gaskell, Françoise Adret and Nora Kiss. Van Manen wrote many ballets. He worked for the Dutch National Ballet from 1973 to 1985. He was awarded the Erasmus Prize in...

  • Spellbound Dance Company
  • Dwight Rhoden
    Dwight Rhoden
    Dwight Rhoden is a choreographer and artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet who began dancing at the age of 17 while studying acting. He has performed with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Les Ballet Jazz de Montréal and was a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American...

     and Desmond Richardson
    Desmond Richardson
    Desmond Richardson is co-founder and co-artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. He has mastered a wide range of dance forms including classical, modern, and contemporary.- Life and career :...

     - Complexions Contemporary Ballet
    Complexions Contemporary Ballet
    Complexions Contemporary Ballet is a contemporary ballet company founded in 1994 by Artistic Directors Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson based in New York City comprising about 14 classical and contemporary dancers...

  • Dominic Walsh Dance Theater
    Dominic Walsh Dance Theater
    Dominic Walsh Dance Theater is a contemporary dance company based in Houston Texas. Started by artistic director and former principal dancer for the Houston Ballet, Dominic Walsh, DWDT ranges from progressive to classical choreography....

  • Thang Dao Dance Company