Contemporary Dance FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

Hello everybody!

This is our page for the contemporary dance faq. I listed them in this page, and added the links that will guide you easily to my answers.

These are the questions (you’ll find the links to the replies below the list):

1. Is it too late for me to start dancing?

2. Do you have to be flexible to do contemporary dance?

3. Do you have to be thin to do contemporary dance?

4. Contemporary dance classes on videos or on the internet?

5. Good music for contemporary dance?

6. Do you have to take ballet to do contemporary dance?

7. Where to start?

The answers and related chats are here:

FAQ #1: Is it too late for me to start dancing?

This question is the most frequent question in our forum. Therefore I’ll expand a bit on the topic here, before continuing with the rest:

You’re absolutely right to ask yourself if it’s late to start, because we all know that dancing demands physical conditions and art demands a long learning process. However, I believe you actually have other questions behind that question, because unless you have a health condition that prevents you from dancing, off course you can start dancing at any moment of your life. And you know that.

So, I will try to point out to your concern by first answering to this: Will I be able to dance at the highest professional levels, if I start later than being eight years old?

Even though I want to give you the best answer, that is something that I can’t measure without knowing you or seeing you dancing. And, it is not only the age what will make you be at a high professional level.

So, for this question, I recommend you to read my reply here:

How long does it take to become a good contemporary dancer?

Now, second question behind the starting age question: Will I get a job and earn an income from dancing, if I start later than being eight years old?

If your case is that you are a teenager and are deciding what profession to choose, you should know that the ideal age to start is around eight to nine years old. Coming from a family with artistic background will be yet better and having contact with dance, music and arts since you were born is the best. If you don’t have these conditions, yes, you can still make a great career according to your talent and amount of practice, but there may be others with advantages that you don’t have.

Also, if you want to earn your survival income from being a dancer, you have to consider that around the age of forty, there will be a lot of younger dancers that may be stronger than you and full of energy and will; and you will have to compete with them for work. So, even though you make a great career as a dancer, you have to build a parallel strategy for your income. For many dancers this is achieved in the fields of teaching, choreographing, researching or working in related tasks. For others, it may be working in the family business or in non related activities as a part time job.

Unless you become one of the worldwide dancing stars and save some of your salary, or have a rent for your retirement age, you have to think about alternative incomes for the time of your dancing career or for the time after it. So, the real question you should ask yourself is:

Do you love dance? Will you feel that it makes total sense to spend most of your lifetime (or a big part) devoted to dancing? Do you think art is important? Why do you want to dance?

Dancers, and artists in general, usually feel and think that art is important, for life and for humanity. There are very wide opinions about this topic that I will not explain here, but you should know that many people feel and think that way and therefore they choose to dedicate their lifes to art. It is a hard path as I explained above, because one has to work very hard to become a mature artist and one also has to work hard to earn an income. It’s frequently harder that in the regular professions. But, if that is your vocation, you will feel happy while doing it. You will feel enthusiastic and willing to work. You will have a lot of fun and excitement. And you will feel fulfilled. Those are the things that many people try to buy with the money they earn in a regular office.

So, if you want to dance, any age is a good time to start. Art is a learning process and human beings may learn all their lifetime. Yes, you need to pay attention to your physical conditions, so that the activity doesn’t hurt you. But each person is different, so I could not estimate your potential or risks unless I meet you and see you dancing.

Other than that, you should know that contemporary dance is aesthetically very wide and does not necessarily focus in acrobatics or physical skills. There are many pieces on stage (or on camera) that focus more on expression and creativity, and allow the performance of different type of dancers. I can’t determine what you will be good for, but you’ll see that in the learning process you will have opportunities and it’s up to you to find the dance that’s for you.

One important thing to consider too is the place you live in. Your city or town will also determine your possibilities and facilities, because some communities are more devoted to dance than others. Take your time to search and analyze your context and ask the question to dance professionals of your locality. Some cities are more ‘dance friendlier’ than others.

If you are not thinking about the money, then the only requirement is that the style of contemporary dance you choose is at a level that protects your health. There are actually several styles that are practiced specifically for improving or promoting health and wellbeing, so you have options to choose from. To have a broader idea of different styles of contemporary dance, you can read this:

Contemporary Dance Techniques

Here are some related chats that will complement:

Is it too late for me to succeed professionally in the dance world?

Can you make a living as a dancer?

Can I start dancing contemporary at 16?

There are also two articles that may be good for you. They talk about what choreographers expect from dancers or about the moment in which dancers retire. You’ll find them in the following issues of our e-zine:

What do choreographers expect from dancers?

What happens when a dancer retires?

FAQ #2: Do you have to be flexible to do contemporary dance? 

Here’s my reply:

Do you have to flexible to do contemporary dance?

FAQ #3: Do you have to be thin to do contemporary dance?

Do you have to be thin for contemporary dancing?

FAQ #4: Contemporary dance classes on videos or the internet?

I show two good options in the following page:

Free videos about contemporary dance technique

You could also try the classes at Masterclass's website:

Dance Masterclass

FAQ #5: Good music for contemporary dance?

Music ideas for my choreography

On music for contemporary dance

Contemporary song for a solo

FAQ #6: Do you have to take ballet to do contemporary dance?

Do you need to take or know ballet to do contemporary?

FAQ #7: Where to start?

Contemporary dance for beginners

That’s it. I hope this page helps you find the answers easily. Yet, if you follow the links, read my replies and still have a doubt, just leave the comment in the corresponding chat. I’ll do my best to write the missing content for you.

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