Dancing with the Stars Wiki
James and Peta Disney Week S18
Time of origin: 1950s

Contemporary is a dance performed in Dancing with the Stars.

Elements to be performed, such as those found in lyrical jazz and contemporary ballet. It is usually described as a lyrical dance, and ballet technique is often expected of the dancer. Good leg extension, turn out, upper body posture, and suppleness is expected as well.

Contemporary was first performed as a Freestyle by Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy in Season 10. Then in Season 15 it was one of the choices on "Opponents choice week", it was performed by Kelly Monaco and Valentin Chmerkovskiy. Also in Season 15, Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani chose a contemporary routine as their freestyle, for which they ended up getting a perfect 30 and eventually won the Mirrorball Trophy.

In Season 16, Contemporary was one of the three dances performed in Week 1 of the competition (along with the Cha-Cha-Cha and the Foxtrot) and was introduced as a regular dance for the rest of the competition.


Contemporary dance draws on both classical ballet and modern dance, whereas postmodern dance was a direct and opposite response to modern dance. Merce Cunningham is considered to be the first choreographer to "develop an independent attitude towards modern dance" and defy the ideas that were established by it. In 1944 Cunningham accompanied his dance with music by John Cage, who observed that Cunningham's dance "no longer relies on linear elements (...) nor does it rely on a movement towards and away from climax. As in abstract painting, it is assumed that an element (a movement, a sound, a change of light) is in and of itself expressive; what it communicates is in large part determined by the observer themselves." Cunningham formed the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 1953 and went on to create more than one hundred and fifty works for the company, many of which have been performed internationally by ballet and modern dance companies.


Dance techniques and movement philosophies employed in contemporary dance may include Contemporary ballet, Dance improvisation, Modern dance styles from United States such as Graham technique, Humphrey-Weidman technique and Horton technique, Modern dance of Europe Bartenieff Fundamentals, and the dance technique of Mark Tompkins Sec (also see Free dance).

Contemporary dancers train using contemporary dance techniques as well as non-dance related practices such as Pilates, Yoga, the acting practice of Corporeal mime - Étienne Decroux technique and somatic practices such as Alexander technique, Feldenkrais Method, Tompkins Technique and Franklin-Methode, American contemporary techniques such as José Limón technique and Hawkins technique and Postmodern dance techniques such as Contact improvisation and Cunningham technique, and Release technique.

Some well-known choreographers and creators of contemporary dance like Mark N Tompkins Sec created schools and techniques of their own. Paul Taylor developed a dance technique called Taylor technique, which is now taught at modern dance schools like The Ailey School in New York City.