Top 3 Skills Modern Dance Needs From Ballet

Modern dance went hog wild and broke all the rules established by ballet. And it was fun! A whole bunch of doors were opened that changed the look of dance forever.

But as people say, you have to know the rules before you can break them. So True!

So, if you are a modern dancer looking for a way to add someprofessionalism to your dancing, learning the rules will do the trick. Learn these to become a much more effective and versatile modern dancer!

Rule # 1: Make Pretty Lines!
Beautiful, sustained lines are one of the things that modern has traditionally broken away from. Not completely though.
Now dancers melt from one shape to another. So a nice line might only be found and held for a fraction of a second. But when done right, that second will make the audience catch its breath!

Ballet has mastered beautiful lines. The artistry of modern comes from growing from shapes that are beautiful to angled to unrecognizable. You need to become aware of the different artistic lines found in ballet and how to create them on your own body.

So, go to ballet class and learn how to make beautiful lines with your body! Then you can manipulate that pose when you need to.

Rule # 2: Pointe Your Toes!
Modern dancers definitely use their feet. Boy howdy, do they! It is just in a different way than ballet dancers do. A modern company director I once worked with told me that she could tell I’d trained in ballet.

“Ballet dancers end up with such beautiful feet!” she said.
Man, I was glad I’d worked my feet hard in ballet class! Aesthetically pleasing feet come from strong arches. Strong arches come frompointing your toes! Or even better, with tendues, degages and sautés.

So go to ballet class and work those toes!

Rule # 3: Work with the Music!
This is one of modern’s favorite rules to break. Working against the music, or in spite of it, is very challenging and can be very powerful.
A lot of dance however still works with the music. So, you have to be able to do both.

There are lots of ways to learn to work with the music, but ballet teaches musicality very efficiently.

When you are in ballet class, make yourself count out the beats. Don’t just rely on your neighbor to know when to move. See if you can pick out when a new phrase begins. And if you get confused, ask the teacher to point it out to you.

One piece I was in was choreographed to an irregular piece of music. It shifted from 8 to 6 count phrases. My group had to be able to hear when we were supposed to enter because we couldn’t see the other dancers. I was the only one who knew music well enough to hear when it was our turn!

Go to ballet, learn to hear and work with the music. You will thank yourself later!

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