Ah yes, ballet. One of the prettiest forms of dance out there and often referred to as the foundation of all dance. Now you might be wondering why I am talking about ballet, well, STU Arts Dance is proud to announce we are introducing a ballet class to the new semester!! (Yayyy) You’ve probably hit that moment when you start to question all things ballet like; what the class is going to look like?What are the benefits of it? What if I don't have the technique to be a ballet dancer? All valid questions, so before you jeté into your next class (😏), check this blog out to find out what it is and all the benefits it has to offer. (also stick around to the end. I have an exciting announcement eeek!!)
Now you might have an idea of what a contemporary class looks like; effortless movement gliding across the stage, a lot of expressional movement, and interesting music. And I would have to say all of that is correct. Contemporary is a combination of many styles of dance; it encompasses jazz, ballet, modern, and lyrical in a lot of the movement you will learn in class. It is very versatile and not as structured as other styles such as ballet.
With all that being said, what does a class look like?
Okay so I am not going to lie to you, a contemporary class can be challenging (can in the key word here), you are isolating body parts you didn't even know existed, you are trying to understand the difference in the teaching style. But the good thing is, the class format is mainly the same; a warm up, small exercises and sometimes a small combo. However, pliés, relevés, and sauté jumps are not just graceful moves that contemporary dancers do, but they do help strengthen muscle and tone the body. I say this all to say, a different class is a great way to challenge yourself, and a different class calls for different benefits. Benefits being;
1. Improves posture
The big focus when it comes to contemporary classes is posture; strengthening of the shoulder, chest, and arm muscles through multiple exercises which help prevent us from slouching. If you sit down at a desk all day you can feel your back, shoulders and neck start to tense up from sitting in the same position for a long period of time. Contemporary will help release the tension in your upper half and help with your overall posture.
2. Tones core muscles (stomach)
As mentioned above, the classes focus mainly on strengthening your muscles, therefore your core ends up being an integral part of each class. Contemporary encompasses a lot of your core to move around freely yet also controlled so you don't go flying across the room. Focusing on your core will not only help tone your stomach, but set your training for the rest of your body. Other areas of focus are your arms, thighs, glutes, abs, and hips. If you feel tension or tightness in any of these areas, contemporary is a great place to start to loosen up those muscles.
3. Increases flexibility
Due to the combination of stretching and focusing on posture, your flexibility will be challenged and will slowly start increasing. This will help with potential future injuries and will help improve your overall physical performance. Contrary to popular belief, contemporary doesn't really feel like the most graceful at first, but it is here to help you improve specific areas and over time you will start to feel like a real contemporary dancer! Give yourself the chance to learn and adapt and you will start seeing results in your strength and flexibility.
4. Reduces Stress
Okay, so if you ask any contemporary dancer what a typical class is like, they may (or may not) respond with, “I feel so awkward”, or “i’m pretty sure I look like a pretzel doing that move” yet, they still go back every week, why? because when you hit that euphoric moment in class, contemporary acts as a stress reliever. Contemporary classes are a form of mental engagement. Each exercise is filled with a challenge both mentally and physically that will require you to stay present in the moment. It is almost a form of meditation, as you focus more on how to do the exercise, you stay engaged and therefore living only in the moment. When you leave each class you will feel calm, balanced and relaxed.
5. Better Mental Focus
With any class you need to be quick on your feet (pun intended) when learning new combos or exercises. Contemporary is no exception to that, actually it’s kind of the rule. When learning new exercises your mind sharpens and helps you focus on what you need to do. Being present in the moment and exercising your brain will help you with your overall mental focus. Not only will you be working on improving your physical health, but your mental health will also benefit.
Okay okay, with all that being said, I said I had an announcement. STU Arts Dance is happy to announce that on OCTOBER 5th 2021, we will be hosting a FREE ABSOLUTE BEGINNER ECD CONTEMPORARY!! Whoop whoop! This is a beginner and all levels contemporary class designed for first timers, contemporary allows for the dancer to express movement in many creative ways. This class is open to everyone that wants to move! Starting with a warm up, on the floor and across the floor exercises and then learning a new contemporary combination. This class is a great way to explore the diverse world of contemporary dance! check out here to learn more.
If there is one thing I would like to emphasize is that everyone can benefit from a contemporary class; you don’t have to be a dancer to try it out. It helps improve your flexibility, strength and overall physical and mental health. We hope that you try it out, if you are interested in learning how to get registered here!
The STU Arts Dance Team