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Lyrical/contemporary number by dancer6742
I am choreographing a lyrical/contemporary number with 6 girls ages 13-16. All these girls are very...








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Lyrical
Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By spandex_lovemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1575, member since Sat Mar 06, 2004
On Thu Jul 13, 2006 11:43 AM

I've been watching a lot of contemporary dancing, and I was wondering what it is, exactly. What I mean is, what makes it different from lyrical?

I know that lyrical is said to be a mix of jazz and ballet. And pop is said to be a mix of hip hop and jazz.

So is contemporary a mix of lyrical and modern, maybe?

24 Replies to Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference?

re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By dreamdancer7 Comments: 872, member since Fri Apr 22, 2005
On Thu Jul 13, 2006 01:10 PM
Have you been watching So You Think You Can Dance? I absolutely love that show. Anyways, I don't really think there is a difference between lyrical and contemporary. Lyrical can be whatever you want it to be, as long as it is and expression of the emotion from the song. I guess it really depends on what kind of training in lyrical you've had. Some choreographers put modern stuff into their lyrical dances, while others tend to lean more toward the ballet style. Either way, I don't think there is much difference between lyrical and contemporary.
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By lovindance221 Comments: 355, member since Mon Jul 18, 2005
On Thu Jul 13, 2006 08:36 PM
That's a good question. I always saw them as the same too, but I was wondering the same thing whenever I was watching So you think you can dance. I couldn't really pick out a reason that they were different though. It seems like on So you think you can dance they dont say "lyrical" they just dance "contemporary". Maybe they are the same thing just different names? I'm probably totally wrong on that but that's my guess.
Contemporary dance draws on both modern and postmodern dance as a source of inspiration. < That's from Wikapedia... so you never know who typed it and everything but it's still something haha. I agree with dreamdancer7 with the some teachers use modern and some focus more on the ballet part of lyrical so I guess it might just depend? I have no idea... I just thought it was an interesting question haha.
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By sara14member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 185, member since Sun Jan 29, 2006
On Thu Jul 13, 2006 08:42 PM
Sorry if this sounds naive, but I kinda thought that Lyrical was dancing to songs with Lyrics??
Made sense to me!
OK I know both contemporary and modern could be danced to songs with lyrics too, but somehow I think Lyrical tells the story that is in the song, interpreting the lyrics more than in the other styles.
Maybe I just watch SYTYCD to much!
S14
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By Dizzy5678 Comments: 295, member since Fri Sep 24, 2004
On Fri Jul 14, 2006 09:02 AM
My idea probably couldn't be more wrong, but i've always thought that contemporary was a type of lyrical. Because i really wouldn't call a nice classical lyrical exactly contemporary....but that's just my opinion....
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 7988, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Fri Jul 14, 2006 01:30 PM
I think Lyrical is a form of Jazz, Contemporary is an actual "dance form". When you ask for a jazz class, they ask would you like " lyricl, broadway, etc...". Ok now, what the difference between contemporary and modern?( ok I know I know, I do not really know modern that well)
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By danceBABE700 Comments: 20, member since Sun Jul 09, 2006
On Sun Jul 16, 2006 06:21 PM
contemporary has more modern in it then lyrical does and more uplifting parts of the dance
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? (karma: 1)  en>fr fr>en
By fatballerina Comments: 27, member since Sat Jun 24, 2006
On Sun Jul 16, 2006 07:32 PM
Lyrical does not always have to have lyrics to express. The movements should convey the connotation and symbolism in the song's tone and dynamics and in most cases the poetic lyrics. The feeling and meaning of the song should be understood from the ways you move your body. That is how Contemporary is mixed into a lyrical definition because of the unusual moments in Contemporary style dancing. Contemporary is catergorized as a modern dance style because of it's "strange" "different" and "new" moves. Moves in Contemporary dancing does not always have to have a meaning, although it often does. Most of the time it is more to impress with flexibility, tumbling, and attitude than expression.

Hope that cleared some things up!
Let me know if you need any more info.
Oh and bytheway I copy-right that lol
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By peachgoddess Comments: 46, member since Mon Jul 17, 2006
On Tue Jul 18, 2006 01:13 AM
^^^ thank you, you cleared up alooottt of things..I've always woondered that too!
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By fatballerina Comments: 27, member since Sat Jun 24, 2006
On Tue Jul 18, 2006 01:39 PM
You're welcome!!! Oh and bytheway sara14 your avvie is awesome!!!
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By dancingmama2 Comments: 43, member since Tue Mar 21, 2006
On Fri Jul 21, 2006 08:12 PM
I agree with fatballerina.
In Lyrical I also find it to lean more towards ballet as the majority of the lyrical pieces have nice long lines and pointed feet. I see more movements being turned out and follow traditional ballet technique with more "flowing" moves.
With contemporary it really has no rules... It can be a mix of so many different dance styles and techniques. It is usually not a set technique. It can be a lot of feeling, but not required. Here there are definitely more flexed feet and parallel positions etc...
Hope that made sense...lol
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By Cadbury_Eatermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7525, member since Sat Jan 04, 2003
On Sat Jul 22, 2006 08:03 AM
I always thought (or at least being taught) that neo (I mean lyrical, but we call it neo classical in Australia) is more ballet like, and contemporary is more like jazz and has weird arm and leg positions opossed to lyrical which is soft and flowing like ballet where contemporary is more thrashy.
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By Terpsi Comments: 2045, member since Tue Oct 04, 2005
On Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:13 PM
Edited by I_LoVe_DaNcInG_5 (142506) on 2006-07-22 12:20:42
^ I agree with you, Cadbury_Eater. I always thought lyrical was flowy, softer, and ballet based and contemporary was like modern because it has sharper movements and weirder movements. I don't know... I'm still confused.

I think I'm going to post a question on the Ask a Teacher forum.
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By dancingmama2 Comments: 43, member since Tue Mar 21, 2006
On Sat Jul 22, 2006 02:08 PM
You are correct, I_love_dancing_5. Lyrical is a fusion of ballet and jazz with softer moves and based on feelings or the lyrics to a song. It's much more ballet based and requires strong ballet technique.
Contemporary is more modern based dance. When the modern dance is not following a certain technique (like only Graham technique for example), and it is a mix of modern styles (could also be inspired by african, jazz or hip hop for example), it will fall in the contemporary category.
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By dncrchic53 Comments: 69, member since Wed Jul 12, 2006
On Sun Jul 23, 2006 07:50 AM
I think that on SYTYCD "contemporary" is ballet, lyrical, and modern all jumbled into one catagory.

But fatballerina's definition was correct.

~LiL k~
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By Male_Dancer5 Comments: 184, member since Thu Nov 24, 2005
On Fri Jul 28, 2006 04:15 PM
I asked my dance teacher these exact questions today. I was told that lyrical is performed to the lyrics of the song. Lyrical is a mix of jazz and ballet. Contemporary is a mix of modern and lyrical at the same time. Hope this helped.
Mike
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By Terpsi Comments: 2045, member since Tue Oct 04, 2005
On Fri Jul 28, 2006 04:45 PM
So I took a jog over to the Ask A Teacher board and this is my post. The teachers had a lot of great information to share. This is the post.

www.dance.net . . .
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By webstArmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3592, member since Wed Jan 15, 2003
On Tue Aug 01, 2006 01:48 AM
Contemporary dancing does not always have to have a meaning, although it often does. Most of the time it is more to impress with flexibility, tumbling, and attitude than expression.


ACK! Stuff like that makes me want to rip my hair out! And people are agreeing with that!? My god, if you got the people in the modern/contemporary seciton of this site in here, they'd rip your heads off for saying half the things that are being said in this post.

Now, I'm not the best to start going off on contemporary, because even I wouldn't be able to explain it all that well but it is NOT to impress with flexibility, tumbling and attitude - AT ALL.

Lyrical jazz also pretty much has to have lyrics. Does that not make sense? It's in the name of the style! That's another thing - lyrical jazz is a style of jazz. It was basically created for competition dancers. Not that I'm knocking lyrical - there's nothing really wrong with it. Lyrical these days has modern or contemporary influences such as parallel positions and psuedo-modern flexed feet thrown in there as well (flexing your feet does not make you a modern dancer).

Here, contermporary and modern generally go hand in hand. While modern does have more of a set structure, and contemporary is "newer" (hence the name). That's about all I can say about those - and I clearly don't do them justice - sorry.

BUT, what I will say for sure is that modern and contemporary is not "weird" "sharp" "harsh" or any of those other words that people use to desribe it. Just because something is weird - does not make it contemporary dance and thats what drives me up the wall about poeple talking about modern or contemporary.

Well.. I think I've finished my little rant for this post - but I hate when people just spout out garbage, even though I do admit my definitions for modern and contemporary are a little bit lacking. Sorry.
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By fatballerina Comments: 27, member since Sat Jun 24, 2006
On Tue Aug 01, 2006 06:38 PM
Edited by fatballerina (161715) on 2006-08-01 18:38:56
By saying that MOVES in contemporary do not ALWAYS have a meaning, I mean that it is to make a point and doesn't not have to be contingent to the meaning of the song or the Lyrics but rather the raw emotion CONVEYED BY THE DANCER! If you actually stop to look at my post in it's entirety and understood what I was saying then you would see that we are on the same page maybe just unaware of each other. Of course contemporary and modern dance has meaning but NOT always in the way that lyrical(which DOES NOT have to have lyrics to song!!!) expresses the CONNOTATION of EVERY ASPECT OF THE SONG whether it be the DYNAMICS the POETRY the MOOD the TONE the TECHNIQUE the STYLE the EMOTION the SYMBOLISM the DEPICTION AND YES MORE OFTEN THAN NOT THE LYRICS!!! If you haven't felt emotions from an instrumental piece either you've never watched a movie or haven't listened to composers such as Eric Whitacre. Scary movies aren't scary to watch without the music. In fact, the Village's score was altered in ONE scene and the rating changed from R to PG-13 just from the TONE and MOOD that the song represented and the intensity of composing.
The way that I was talking about modern and contemorary dance is from its FOUNDATIONS. Like Martha Graham. Modern dance doesn't always need music. Ask anyone in her company.
I should not have said the one of the points is to impress with flexibility and tumbling. What I meant was the TECHNIQUE of modern dance, for the most part, is to show the emotion or to express an idea.
I'm not talking about lyrical jazz neither did I mention that. That is a little bit of a different ball park.
As is expected, ALL of the "newer" dances are parallel and share many of the same "technique" and connotation and such. The neo ideas and the undertone of every dance after ballet share many of the same things. Dance is symbolism and art on stage. And should NOT be structured into ONE meaning in the first place anyways.
Modern is one of the most broad areas of dance because it is so accepting of its so many influences. You can't really get your head around ALL of it.
If you can't define it than why are you mad at people who don't know any better and can't use better terms. You need concrete evidence for your argument if you want people to believe you.
I will never define modern dance again. It is too open of a subject to limit it in any way. It is the opinions and ideas and influences of all those brave enough to blaze a new frontier in dance.
Enough said. Don't ever force encumberment upon those who do know what they are talking up even if you recieve static on the other end.
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By fouetteboi Comments: 214, member since Mon Dec 20, 2004
On Wed Sep 13, 2006 03:31 AM
If you watch "so you think you can dance?" you will see that most of the "lyrical" dancers are also "contemporary" dancer...why? because they are very close cousin...lyrical is a mix of ballet, jazz, and modern but it is clearly MORE jazz than anything else (pirouets leapes etc)that is why it is called LYRICAL JAZZ...

As for contemporary... it too is a mix of ballet jazz and modern...taking such elements as jetes...HOWEVER....it is clearly more MODERN influenced with more contractions and inovative body positions
traviiiiiiis en>fr fr>en
By LChart56 Comments: 89, member since Mon Sep 11, 2006
On Thu Sep 14, 2006 01:34 PM
omg I LOVE YOUR AVATAR/ICON!!!! did you make it? if not where did you get it? i'm a huuuuuuuge SYTYCD & travis fan!!!!!
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By goodietutuz Comments: 10, member since Thu Aug 24, 2006
On Fri Sep 15, 2006 07:40 PM
I always thought of it as 'lyrical' meaning you dance to represent the LYRICS, and 'contempory' was more of representing the beat of the music. There never seems to be a difference, but watch for that the next time you see it, and you'll notice the lyrical dancers will be dancing to the lyrics and the contempory dancers are showing u what the music means through their movement (the beat of the music) it's confusing, but heyy, you're smart cookies, you get it haha. :)

-KeeKee
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By Terpsi Comments: 2045, member since Tue Oct 04, 2005
On Fri Sep 15, 2006 08:33 PM
*headdesk*headdesk*headdesk*

Please... let this be the last post on this. Please. PLEASE!

I'm so sick of hearing about this. Dance is an art form. I have decided to choose my own definition of Contemporary and Lyrical and Modern since they have been compared SOOO much lately. I tried to clear it up earlier, but it seems hopeless. Art can be interpreted many ways. Choose your OWN way to interpret.

ILD
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By dreamer8604 Comments: 3, member since Fri Sep 29, 2006
On Fri Sep 29, 2006 10:04 PM
uuummmmm i have no idea what you mean about contemporary is more to impress with tumbling and tricks. i live in new york. i only take contemporary classes and we do no tricks at all whatsoever, and every teacher talks about exploring our movement and dancing through emotion and finding ourselves in the choreography. maybe on crap shows like so you think you can dance contemporary is portrayed as "meant to impress" but trust me it is in no way that kind of style.

and jsut to clarify, the dancers on so u think u can dance are wonderful, i just hate the show.
re: Contemporary? Lyrical? What's the difference? en>fr fr>en
By xSupastarxmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1469, member since Mon Aug 16, 2004
On Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:18 AM
I don't think anyone can be completely sure, but I think that contemporary (or modern as it's sometimes called) is more a movement based expression of feeling, whereas lyrical uses more jazz technique but expresses more emotion than jazz does... ;)

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