Contemporary Dance Exercises

Contemporary dance exercises draw inspiration from various dance styles.
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Though contemporary dance has been practiced for years, many people are still unclear as to what it entails. Contemporary dance isn't like traditional dance forms. Instead, it is a free-form genre combined with several dance styles and movements reflecting current trends in pop culture. Contemporary dance exercises are usually based on jazz, hip-hop and ballet.



Warm-ups in contemporary dancing are designed to improve balance, coordination, alignment and awareness of a centered body. Common warm-up exercises include body isolations such as hip rolls, ribcage movements without shifting the rest of the body and head rolls. Body isolations can be properly executed by moving a particular body part without moving other parts of the body. For example, you can move your hips without shifting your stomach, shoulders or chest. Another common contemporary warm-up exercise involves rounding the back while sitting with legs crossed on the floor. Most contemporary dance warm-ups take about fifteen to twenty minutes.


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Stretching and Flexibility

Stretching is a key component of any contemporary routine. Because contemporary dances involve the ability to create interesting shapes, flexibility is important. Stretching exercises, such as deep lunges and splits, are often included in contemporary stretching routines. For lunges, step forward with one leg and lower your hips until your knees are bent at 90-degree angles.


Practice leg lifts by lying on your side with legs stacked and your head resting on your arm. Slowly raise the leg on top as high as it can go without causing pain. Splits are also very common as they are usually part of contemporary performances. However, they aren't usually practiced until an increased level of flexibility is reached.

Floor Work

Floor work involves doing exercises while standing centered in the middle of the floor or moving across the floor from one end of the room to the other. Common floor work exercises include leaps and kicks. Because contemporary dance is about making big movements, exercises in which you practice wide movements across the floor are great for performance preparation. One of the most common exercises are kicks across the floor. The dancer alternates between kicking each leg straight up and taking a step forward.



Combinations are usually the last part of contemporary dance exercises in which fundamentals from warm-ups, stretching and floor work are combined to make one contemporary dance routine. An example of a typical routine would be one in which a contemporary dancer moves the hips in a circular motion while moving the shoulders upward and then glides across the floor.




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