Each form of dance aims to communicate different themes, concepts, and emotions. While contemporary and lyrical styles are similar in some aspects, they have several differences that you should understand before signing your child up for dance classes. Here is a brief overview about each style to help you choose which one suits their tastes and needs.

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Contemporary dance fuses elements of modern, jazz, and ballet to create a routine. Unlike jazz and ballet, this style emphasizes fluidity of movement more than technique, which lends it an effortless feeling when watching someone perform. The dancer is primarily in control of the movements, which is why some people refer to it as a “dancer-centric” style. Generally, the freedom that the dancer has makes this more abstract and avant garde than other styles. 

This form of dance lacks a clear narrative. In this sense, it doesn"t tell a story in a linear, logical way. The goal is to evoke, or sometimes provoke, a response from the audience. It can also convey a deeper theme or meaning to the audience. For instance, if a dancer is trying to evoke a sense of alertness or awareness, they may use harsh, almost violent movements that ripple with kinetic energy.



Lyrical dance also fuses ballet and jazz styles, but there is a greater focus on technique. It also has a cohesive story guiding the movements, which usually has roots in the song and lyrics that the dancer performs to. With lyrical dance, the performer works with a choregrapher who will provide specific steps and movements that the routine should have.

However, this doesn"t mean that the dancer is without artistic license. While they will perform the steps as instructed by the choreographer, dancers also imbue lyrical routines with their own interpretations. Despite the more technical nature, these routines can elicit strong emotions from the audience, ranging from joy to sadness, depending on the song.

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When your child wants to attend dance classes, contact Karen"s School of Dance in Highland, MI. They have been helping foster an appreciation for this art form for over 30 years. They offer classes for hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, and more, with a focus on both recreational or competitive dancing. They also offer private and semi-private lessons. Call (248) 887-1807 to discuss enrollment. Visit them online for more information about their dance classes.