In this issue we asked dozens of people to share their thoughts on how to define that ever-elusive dance form, contemporary. But the fact that we even try to put parameters on an art form got me thinking. Human beings like labels.
The Center for Contemporary Dance in Winter Park, Florida, might qualify as a mini dance utopia. CCD houses an open training program for all ages and a pre-professional program, as well as four independent dance companies.
“What is contemporary dance?” An equally important question is: “How does one train to become a contemporary dancer?” We’ve rounded up some of today’s hottest contemporary dancers and choreographers and asked them to share their thoughts on this dance style that refuses to be defined.
You’ve heard what Desmond Richardson, Jillian Meyers, Nicholas Leichter, William Wingfield, and other big names think about the nature and characteristics of contemporary dance. But we wanted to find out what teachers and choreographers in the Dance Studio Life circle had to say.
The world of contemporary dance is luring boys like never before, glamorized by movies and TV shows like High School Musical, So You Think You Can Dance, and Glee. Guys who are taking modern classes are doing it because studios are making it part of their overall package, and they’re making it attractive.
For more than 20 years, choreographer Doug Varone has carved a career path that is as full of unexpected twists and turns as his remarkable dances are. A tap dancer by training, he instead became a contemporary dance choreographer. Though he is unable to read music, he nevertheless enjoys regular commissions from leading opera companies. Now a widely respected, prolific choreographer, he struggled at first to define his own movement vocabulary. These surprising facts were revealed during a conversation on April 6 with critic Deborah Jowitt as part of the “Breaking Ground” lecture series presented by New York’s 92nd St. Y Harkness Dance Center. The evening yielded valuable insights about Varone’s choreographic process as well as his unique journey.