Modern Dance Instruction and Techniques - Then and Now
The syllabus for modern dance originates from ballet movement. The difference is that today's modern dance is infused with contemporary interpretive movements. In some respects, this is a return to the most primitive dance techniques where the body moves instinctively and improvisationally.
At present, teaching modern dance requires symbiosis between teachers and students' mental images that transcend to body movement of dancers. The other part of new trends in modern dance is less focus on force of energy and more focus on actual body weight to create movement. This is discussed in depth in many dance study courses online and off. For modern dance instructors, it may be difficult to translate this trend into a course of dance technique class or group instruction.
Trends in Teaching Modern Dance
Modern dance instructors should have a solid background in ballet technique and syllabus. To make modern dance trends less difficult to embed into syllabus, teachers make use of modern dance videos that focus on choreography, kinesiology, pedagogy and orchesiology. A little understanding of geometry can help visualizing space and movement more cohesively.
The Harris Dance Company, for example, offers an excellent example of trends in modern dance choreography as taught by Kelly Harris of the Harris Dance Company. Today's modern dance teachers strive for far less oblique or angular body movements and an ethereal look to their choreography. The biggest trend may well be using vocals to accompany modern dance music and creating choreography around the theme of the music. One example is a modern dance themed around love. The dance instructor provides the theme of the choreography for dancers to emulate in dance movement.
Trends in Performing Techniques for Modern Dancers
Modern dancers today want their performing techniques to be highly customized to create their own signature dance style. For every modern dancer, developing the most unique dance style is crucial to a successful dance career. The trend in modern dance today is less on group dance and more on solo modern dance performances. For modern dancers, solo dance performances require studies in drama and some knowledge of various types of dance music. Much depends on the overall performance of the solo modern dancer and the ability to dramatize the essence of the music they choose to dance to. Another modern dance performing technique is to use contrasting movements in counter time to music.
Abstract Performing Techniques
Within the challenge of a solo modern dance performance lays multi-dimensional realms that are extracted by body movements from motion. An abstract modern dance piece may need no music to translate body motion into balletic performing techniques. This abstract style incorporates mime, drama and dance in a complete dance performance under a single theme. Ballet movements can thus be exaggerated in abstract modern dance. This works well in groups and solos.
From Ballet to Modern Dance
If dancers can perfect their ballet dance movements, when they move on to modern dance, many find a new freedom and creativity. Many modern dancers "feel" their movements outside of their physical bodies. This technique helps these dancers expand their skills. Modern dance groups today are a microcosm of visual art created in dance. The audience sees what modern dancers feel and is inspired. In the past, transmitting dancers feelings to an audience was often limited to audiences well educated in modern dance technique. Modern dance staging accounts for this. During modern dance performances, audiences enter the dance and the dance theme with dancers through optical dance staging. A good example of this is found in Micaela diPauli's Fire Modern Dance solo. It is powerfully interpretive with full dramatic nuances.