May 20, 2024

Styles Of Dance

Dance Styles Unite in Harmony

Classic meets contemporary in modern dance

4 min read


Rosine Bena

This holiday season I have the privilege of traveling to New York City to spend three weeks being inspired by different art forms. When in the Big Apple, I usually visit my ballet friends at American Ballet Theatre and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. But this week I attended a modern dance class at the well known “STEPS” on Broadway with my daughter and Sierra Nevada Ballet (SNB) principal dancer, Ananda Bena-Weber, who lives part time in New York City and part time in Nevada.

Watching this modern dance class taught by a former dancer, I find myself now (as I have in the past) surprised by the different emphasis in technique. The various signature styles in modern dance require different strengths and different abilities. For instance, there is quite a difference in style when one attends performances by professional modern dance companies such as the Paul Taylor company or the Alvin Ailey or the Martha Graham Company. Many of the styles exhibited by these companies are taken from the individual dancer/choreographer who originated them such as the famous Lester Horton who was, from an early age, very interested in the Native American ethnic dances. This is quite apparent when one watches a “Horton” modern dance class like the one I watched at “STEPS.”

Jennifer August

Like Ananda, many professional ballet dancers study modern dance to enhance their ballet technique, as ballet companies are including more and more contemporary choreography in their repertory. Our SNB company is no exception. Last year we featured several contemporary works on our Brew, Brats and Ballet spring program as well as on our summer Dancing by the River program at Wingfield Park.


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