Top contemporary dance companies?

by Sophie
(United Kingdom)

Hi Maria,

I'm currently doing research into the top contemporary dance companies around the world and have to say your website has been hugely helpful.

The lists are quite extensive and I'm wondering if you are aware of places I can look to find the 'best of the best'. I've been researching International Dance Festivals to see the programs, which has also been good to see who is really on the pulse at present.

Any recommendations you have would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again,


Comments for Top contemporary dance companies?

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Nov 18, 2011
Answer from Maria
by: Maria

Dear Sophie,

Before naming places where you could find information about that topic, I would recommend you to keep in mind that contemporary dance is an art. As an art, it is judged by each person in a subjective way.

This means that what one person perceives as 'the best' might not be 'the best' for another one and the situation applies to institutions, countries, regions and all kind of particular contexts.

Also, if you decide to give the title of 'top contemporary dance company' in the world to any dance group or institution, you might want to make clear from which perspective you evaluate.

For example, is that group the most famous internationally? Or is it the most successful commercially? Is the group the best because its dancers are the most virtuous technically? Or is it the best because they have the most original proposal?

There are many angles from which you could construct your judgment and again, after all the discernment, the conclusion will have a big percentage of subjectivism.

I have been asked related questions before and I believe you might want to read those threads to expand your thoughts about the subject. Here are the links to those pages:

The best contemporary dancer

The best contemporary dance schools

I think that your strategy of searching within the programs of the dance festivals worldwide is good, but it will only tell you about the companies who travel more around.

Are those the 'best', because they have an effective product from a commercial point of view? Or whatever the choosing criterion of each festival is?

I don't know what type of research you are doing, but this clearness might be of help. And... despite the weighty recommendation written above, I think you might want to consider the companies that are performing in the Pompidou Center in Paris, at The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York or at The Place in London.

Though all what I told you above still applies, the perspective of those three places is with no doubt a reference for the world.

All the best,


Nov 22, 2011
Answer from Sophie
by: Sophie

Hi Maria,

Thanks for your response.

Obviously I appreciate that dance is an art form and one person's interpretation can differ greatly from the next. Having said that, I don't think it is out of context to refer to someone as 'one of the greatest dancers of all time' if they are widely recognised as being extremely talented or having a big following with a proven track record of performing as part of a world renowned dance company.

Thanks for your suggestions, I've got a refined list now that captures some great companies... but have the feeling that the list could go on forever ; )


Sophie Wills

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