Classical vs Contemporary Ballet

Classical ballet is one of the most complex and beautiful forms of expression. This is because it has had many years to develop and evolve. Some people believe the art has evolved so much that we have lost the classical aspect of the art form. Most dance companies perform more contemporary works than classical works. This is because more and more people are drifting farther away from classical ballet. One reason for this could be that dancers are not being trained as classical ballerinas anymore; they are being trained in the form that is most popular. This being said the number of classical dancers has dropped dramatically.

This is causing the true art form of classical ballet to be lost in the rush of contemporary works. Ballet was originally developed in France and Italy in the late 15th century, originally created to be a dance form of fencing. In the 17th century ballet was performed in the royal courts of France. This is because it was only taught to the high class people and not often to the common people. Being a more refined art form, ballet was never actually performed for public entertainment; however, these days it is performed for the entertainment of everyone.

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This is because more and more people have become more educated and have greater access to the training needed to perform classical ballet. Classical ballet is considered to be one of the purest forms of dancing simply because it has been around much longer than most of the dancing styles we have today. Since its creation in the 15th century it has evolved in to a more refined art form with very precise steps that have to be executed perfectly to get the desired effect on the viewer. Although it is very old, there are many people that still believe in the art form and trying to preserve it.

As it is the basis for many different styles of dance, most dance schools require you to have at least basic ballet knowledge and know the terminology. This is because many of the movements have been taken from ballet movements and have kept the same names. Some styles of have dance have still kept there classical roots like neo-classical ballet and lyrical dancing, while others such as jazz and contemporary ballet have changed almost completely from the original classical ballet. Unlike many styles of dance ballet has something other forms do not.

The pointe shoes of a female ballet dancers allows them to dance on the very tip of their toes, this give the audience watching the dancer a feeling of awe because they are seeing them do seemingly impossible feats of balance and flexibility. It also allows the dancer to create better lines with their body and while turning it lets them go faster and spin more times because there is less friction to slow them down. “Dancers started dancing on point in the early 1830s, this was done to give the dancers a look of daring and to make them appear magical”, (pbt. rg The Point of Pointe Shoes). Contemporary ballet sometimes uses pointe shoes but most of the time it is on flat or bare foot, this is because it is easier to perform the unusual movement without pointe shoes on. Contemporary ballet, the most popular style of ballet we have today. It is also one of the most unusual forms of dance. This is because since it has changed so much from the original that it has almost become a completely different genre of dancing. This is because of its unusual movement and the way the dancer create abstract shaped with their bodies.

Although contemporary ballet is far from the original classical art form there are many people that believe that it is the future of ballet and that classical ballet has less of an impact on the dance world. For instance since it is more modernized it can be marketed to a larger audience because of its diversity. Also since it requires more natural movement it can be easier to dance so there can be more dancers that have the ability to do what is required. Many ballet dancers that make the change to contemporary ballet often have to retrain their bodies so as to learn how to allow themselves move in a more nature manner this.

As classical ballet requires more training than other forms of dance there are more schools to choose from and train at. Some schools are better than others such as The School of American Ballet (SAB), SAB is one of the more renowned ballet school in the country and have trained some of the best dancers that the ballet world has ever known. Unlike most dance styles ballet requires much more training and, typically, you have to start at a very young age to be able get the amount of training that you need to have a successful ballet career. This is because it takes years for a dancers’ body o adapt to the physical strain that it is being put under. Another reason a dancer needs so much training is because it is needed perfect the technique that is required for classical ballet. Professional ballet dancers some time rehearse from 6-8 hours a day trainee dancer class can vary from 45 minutes to more than 3 hours for some of the older students in most classical ballet schools. Contemporary ballet on the other hand does not have a very large about of ballet schools strictly related the art form simply because it varies so much in its performance and design.

This being said it is hard to be trained in a set version of the style. Classical ballet however, has set exact and set movement even though the execution may vary from teacher to teacher the steps are ultimately the same. Although Professional contemporary dancers do have to rehearse just as much as classical dancers they cannot prepare as easily for a contemporary company job as for a classical company job. These days there is a thin line between classical ballet companies and contemporary ballet companies.

This is because many ballet companies are doing more contemporary works as well as classical ballets. Also since classical ballet is becoming more and more a thing of the past it is hard to find choreographers that are willing to create a new classical ballet. Since this is the case, many companies have started to use more and more contemporary works in the ballets they use each season. This creates the necessity for classically trained ballet dancers to learn how to use their bodies in the uncomfortable positions that are required for contemporary dance (Sims).

Although dancing is very hard on a dancers’ body it also allows them to build muscles and to gain an enormous amount of flexibility in their back and legs. This comes from years of stretching and working on being able to hold difficult positions for any length of time. As is the case with contemporary ballet, but in contemporary the positions are more natural to hold, unlike classical in which the positions are meant to be sharp and perfect not comfortable and natural. This being said classical ballet is a much shorter career but a much more rewarding one in some peoples’ opinions.

As with everything there are varying viewpoints but as contemporary ballet becomes more and more dominate it seems that people are taking the easier career path rather than the more fulfilling one. Aside from being an amazing career path it can also help with your physical and mental health. This is because it requires a lot of concentration and hard work to gain the strength to learn and perform the movement required for the demanding movement. In some way classical ballet is harder an less forgiving but I give you a sense of accomplishment and will allow you to say you were able to do something many other people would find impossible.

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Classical vs Contemporary Ballet. (2017, Jan 07). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/classical-vs-contemporary-ballet/