What to expect in a contemporary class
By Jackielou Perez | January 20, 2011
has enlisted the help of Canada's National Ballet School
contemporary repertoire teacher Shaun Amyot and artistic director/founder of Kinetic Elements
Kendra Hughes to offer tips for those beginning contemporary dance.
Because contemporary encompasses a broad range of styles, Amyot says to expect the unexpected! Coming into the room with a preconceived idea of what you are about to learn is never useful he says. Each technique is different, and each teacher approaches said techniques in an individual way. That being said, each teacher has something valuable to offer so an alert open mind is key.
- Like a ballet class, there are lots of techniques to learn especially since a lot of contemporary dance is working with the body and being grounded. For exercises, Hughes says to pay attention to the way the teacher is demonstrating with their body as well as what they are saying about the exercise. This will help when it is time for you to do the exercise to the music.
- When it comes to preparing for a class, she says it is a good idea to wear something comfortable to move in, but make sure the teacher can still see your body underneath to make adjustments such as posture. For footwear, barefoot or foot “undeez”. It is also a good idea to bring a bottle of water and an open attitude.
- Like any new activity, don’t get discouraged after one try. Remember you are doing this for yourself so have a good time. And because some movement styles resonate more deeply with certain people, Amyot encourages beginning students to try as many different styles as possible to find what “speaks” to them most profoundly.
Local studios will most likely offer a contemporary dance or the occassional workshop. Find them in the dance registry
. Below are some training centres in Canada.
•TORONTO DANCE THEATRE
•SCHOOL OF CONTEMPORARY DANCERS
•HARBOUR DANCE CENTRE
Kendra Hughes is a graduate of George Brown College in their dance program. Since then she has been breaking the boundaries of dance. She is also the artistic director/founder of the company, Kinetic Elements, and teaches contemporary classes in Toronto. For more information on events and classes, visit kineticelementsdance.com.
A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Shaun Amyot completed his early training at The School of Dance before entering the Post-Secondary Program at Canada's National Ballet School (NBS.) He has worked with Jiri Kylian and William Forsythe and had his first commission for the San Francisco Ballet School in May of 2010 entitled 5.26.10. His work mixes choreography with improvisation challenging the dancers to find their own voices. He currently teaches Contemporary Repertoire and Improvisation Technique at NBS.
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