What Is Theatrical Dance?

What Is Theatrical Dance_

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Theatrical dance is any form of dance that is performed for an audience, as opposed to social dance, which is primarily social in nature.

Theatrical dance is usually performed in a theater or another public venue, and examples include ballet, jazz, tap, musical theatre, and more.

People who participate in theatrical dance go to classes and practice with the ultimate goal of performing on stage.

Continue reading if you find yourself asking, “What is theatrical dance?”

What are the Different Types of Theatrical Dances

1. Ballet

Ballet is one of the most widely known forms of theatrical dance.

It developed in the 17th century, and it is characterized by the body being open with the toes facing outward while they are pointed.

The movements are fluid and graceful, and the classical style is symmetrical in terms of the dancers’ bodies.

Ballet dancers dance in a calm, upright, and sophisticated manner, and illusion is still a large part of ballet.

The dancers are usually on a large stage removed from the audience, and there is normally a large company performing. 

2. Expressionism: Modern Dance

flexible little girl doing standing splits
Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

Another theatrical dance is modern dance, which developed in the 20th century.

It was a reaction against the limited and heavily structured parameters of ballet.

One of the founders of modern dance was Isadora Duncan, who felt that ballet was too artificial.

She was inspired by nature, including the wind and waves, and she danced barefoot with a lot of leaps, skips, and strides. 

Modern dance was designed to express the human spirit, and it explored emotions, conflicts, and passions that lay within.

Other dancers such as Martha Graham and Doris Humphrey further added to this style of dance, and they added elements such as the body falling and rising back up again.

It was a combination of different genres, and it is often a combination of two or more other genres.

3. Folk Dance

A folk dance is a dance that has cultural or regional significance.

Folk dances are different in different countries, so there are a lot of different styles.

Different cultural groups formed their own styles of dance, and they would perform them at celebrations and religious ceremonies.

Many survive today, and they are a form of theatrical dance. 

4. Tap Dance

Tap dance is a style of dance where dancers wear special shoes that have heel and toe tapping devices installed.

When they dance, they make sounds in time with the music.

It was first begun in the United States as a combination of different ethnic percussive dances.

It became popular in dance contests, and then it started to spread out across the country.

Dancers shaped tap dance, and when Vaudeville exploded on the scene, tap was a huge part of it.

5. Jazz Dance

Another type of theatrical dance is jazz.

It appeared in the 1950s in the United States, and it was named for the jazz music that accompanied it.

Jazz was made even more popular when it was included in Cabaret and Broadway, and today, it influences many styles of dance today, including ballet, contemporary, and lyrical.

Most jazz dancers have a strong foundation in ballet.

It includes spins, quick moves, leaps, and more, and it is an upbeat and fun type of theatrical dance.

Jazz allows dancers to show their originality, as they interpret the dance in their own way. 

6. Lyrical Dance

Lyrical dance is a combination of ballet and jazz, and it is also very popular.

It is often performed to music with words, and the dance often expresses the emotions from the lyrics.

They use many different types of music, including pop, rock, blues, hip hop, and more.

Lyrical dance is still changing depending on the choreographer, and most lyrical dancers also take ballet and jazz.

7. Contemporary Dance

Contemporary dance is an offshoot of modern dance.

It was developed in the mid-20th century, and it draws on ballet, jazz, modern, and more.

It does not have any specific codified rules, and it is very interpretative.

Dancers are able to move freely to interpret the music.

The emphasis with contemporary dance is on Armstrong’s upper body and footwork, and it also includes fall and recovery as well as floorwork.

It is important for contemporary dancers to have a surface with shock absorption because they need protection for their ankles and legs due to the sudden changes in direction. 

8. Hip Hop Dance

Hip Hop appeared in the 1970s, and it has evolved over the years.

It includes many different styles of dance today.

Some of the most popular include Breakdancing, Locking and Popping, Funk, Up rock, Boogaloo, Reggae, Lyrical Hip Hop, and stepping.

It includes percussive beats made through body movements. People enjoy this style of dance because they can make up their own moves. 

9. Theatrical Dance

Theatrical dance is any form of dance that is performed on a stage.

There are many different forms, and they appear in different scenarios.

The oldest and most widely recognized form of theatrical dance is ballet.

However, other forms of dance have become popular over the years.

Jazz and tap are fun energetic performance dances, and modern dance is codified, but it arose as a reaction to the strict structure or ballet. 

As modern became more codified with defined movements, contemporary dance arose as a combination of ballet, jazz, lyrical, and modern dance.

It is more expressive and less restricted, and dancers can interpret the music however it moves them. 

What Is Theatrical Dance? An Intro for Beginners video

What is Theatrical Dance: Final Words

Theatrical dance includes the dances performed on stage.

This is different from the social dances that are performed primarily for social interaction.

Ballet is the basis for many of the dances today, and dancers often take ballet classes alongside their preferred genre.

Different forms of theatrical dance use different types of music, and the dances are normally interpretations of the music. 

Some forms of theatrical dance are very rigid and structured, such as ballet.

Others are more expressive and open for interpretation.

The one thing they all have in common is that they are performed on stage in front of an audience. 

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