Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesDancing · 8 months ago

Difference between lyrical and contemporary dance?

I wanted to start dance and the only dance school near me offers lyrical, contemporary, jazz, tap and hip hop classes.

I was thinking either lyrical or contemporary but I don't really know the difference?

So, that is my question. What's the difference between those two styles of dance and which one do you recommend?

3 Answers

  • 8 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    To be honest it doesn’t sound like very good instruction to me. it seems like this is a school that skips actual dance technique and just teaches steps to the dances they will choreograph for each class. You should look further to find better classes. Lyrical, contemporary and jazz dance are all based off of strong ballet technique. This school doesn’t even offer ballet classes. Unless you just left that out because it didn’t interest you. Ballet is where you need to start for any of those dance genres. Most of the better recreational dance schools require ballet first. All of the professional level schools have continuing ballet instruction as a mandatory. If you have no other option then take the hip hop or tap. You still won’t learn how to dance but just a dance routine in the hip hop class. Tap teachers may or may not be more knowledgeable in their genre technique as no ballet is required. 

    Regarding the difference.... Lyrical dance is only found in recital schools and competition  dance. It isn't an actual professional dance genre. It gets it’s impetus from the lyrics of a song and tends to be over emotional And flowing.  It is danced barefoot in dance paws  or in lyrical shoes. It is mostly based off of ballet technique with a bit of jazz and modern thrown into the mix.

    Contemporary  dance has no rules. It ranges from balletic to pedestrian in movement. It can be danced to any music, the spoken word, noise, or even the silence of the dancers’ breath. It can be danced barefoot, in pointe shoes, socks, even on stilts if the choreographer  wants it to be.  It can be full of emotion or totally void of all emotion and just abstract movements and shapes. It too gets it basic technique from ballet but adds modern and the choreographer’s own dance vocabulary. 

    Bottom line most schools that offer both lyrical and contemporary ( especially if ballet isn’t a prerequisite) confuse the terms and use them interchangeable. Some even offer what they call “lyrical/contemporary “ which is basically lyrical dance because they really don’t know the difference. Keep in mind that anyone can open a dance school and teach dance with little or poor training. 

    Source(s): My daughter is a professional concert contemporary dancer & choreographer. Ballet academy trained. Dance grad of LaGuardia Arts high school (the FAME school.) Graham & Horton modern trained. Juilliard SI. BFA in dance from NYU Tisch. I worked for NYCB (New York City Ballet.)
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  • 8 months ago

    Ask the school, have been dancing over 50 years and have never heard Lyrical dance.

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