Why Beginning Dancers Should Add Modern to the Mix

By Mary Carbonara

Most folks who find their way to my Absolute Beginner Modern Workshop are adults who have either studied dance once upon a time and always wanted to get back to it, people who are looking for a more satisfying way of exercising that what they’re used to, and individuals who are just plain curious. “What is modern dance anyway?”

These days modern dance is an amalgam of different dance forms and traditions. Depending on the choreographer or teacher, there may be significant traces or ballet or jazz, floor work, improvisation, and even some gymnastic moves. Likewise, many classes will also incorporate yoga, Pilates, or other approaches to conditioning and strengthening the body. Some teachers and choreographers even use various mediation practices to prepare dancers. As an art form, modern dance is constantly evolving and being redefined by the people who do it.

That’s why it’s important to get good, solid training from the start. My aim is to prepare students to move with confidence and without fear of injury within the many different approaches to modern dancing.

My Absolute Beginner’s Modern Dance Workshop welcomes students with little or no knowledge, as well as long-time dancers looking to reconnect with the basics. We work on fitness and conditioning so students can improve overall strength, flexibility, and stamina. And there’s a special emphasis on injury prevention and working with physical limitations. In fact, for many, minor aches and pains are relieved by learning healthy alignment and improving movement mechanics through these workshops.

But the main focus is always on dancing – moving through space with intention, nuance, and musicality. In class love using a huge range of music, from Miles Davis, to Amy Winehouse, Stevie Wonder to Yo Yo Ma, Aerosmith to Blind Boys of Alabama, and everything in between.

So, if you are a beginning ballet dancer, consider adding modern to the mix. There’s nothing like it for freeing the body and mind.

Sign up for Mary’s Absolute Beginning Workshop or check out our other workshop opportunities at our Dance Center website.

Cover photo by Katie Wong