AGE: 2 - 8
LEVEL: YOUNG DANCER
AGE: 7 - 18
LEVEL: BEGINNER - ADVANCED / PRE-PROFESSIONAL
LEVEL: BEGINNING - INTERMEDIATE
WHAT IS CONTEMPORARY?
In comparison to Ballet or Modern Dance, which are structured more as codified forms, Contemporary is organized similarly to Urban Dance; they are both a melting pot of dance forms. Therefore, there is no perfect definition of Contemporary. Contemporary’s roots are mainly based in the concert dance forms of Ballet and Modern, but the style is also known to pull from many other dance genres too. As dance form without defined movements or structures, Contemporary has actively changed with the trends of the time, and for that reason, classes and choreography within this dance form are often associated with being current and within the style of today.
At SkunkWorks we practice, a Ballet-based, technical and detailed Contemporary form rooted in Modern groundedness and floorwork, rich with a multitude of textures and raw human physicality. We tend to lean towards a European Contemporary style influenced by techniques such as Gaga and professional companies like Batsheva Dance Company, Nederlands Dans Theater, Punchdrunk International and Kidd Pivot, among many. In performance, we explore a variety of mediums not limited to the theatrical stage, dance film or video and site-specific work. We are a school that highly believes in the foundation that improvisation brings to Contemporary dance work, and so we HIGHLY recommend that our Contemporary class be taken with our in house original improvisation experience, RA.IN. Find out more about RA.IN is below!
For people who do not quite understand what contemporary dance is, SkunkWorks’ Founder and Director, Jana Bennett, gives the analogy:
“Think of ballet as still life paintings; beautiful, particular and detailed, but it has set structural foundations it has to abide to. Contemporary dance, on the other hand, is a lot more like modern or contemporary art. Just as technical as ballet, but there is more freedom within the form itself.”
Interested in better understanding contemporary dance? Take a look at this great article on the exploration of what Contemporary dance is and how it differs from Modern dance from Dance Magazine: https://www.dancemagazine.com/modern_vs_contemporary-2306900829.html
WHAT IS RA.IN?
Wash away the biases and boxed in nature of traditional concert dance forms, and get soaked in the innovation of your own movement exploration. RA.IN is a SkunkWorks ORIGINAL dance form based on years of analysis and development of the needs of the professional dance artist. The name comes from our slogan “Radically Innovative” because it the form that calls on the dancer to take risks, create and be an active participant both physically and mentally. Through guided imagery, concepts and words each student experiences their own unique journey through the movement they choose to create.
Each class is a directive improvisation, meaning the instructor will lead the dancers verbally through the dance tasks and ideas within the class. Though, it is how each individual interprets the teacher’s prompt where the innovation and fun truly sets in. In RAIN, you get lost in your own world of dance, feel the immersive passion of the dancers around you and discover a new sense of self. Set to a wide-variety of inspiring and heart-pumping music, you are sure to leave class with a smile on your face!
RA.IN is our only class offered to all dancers of all levels, ages 7 and UP! Yes adult dancers, this one's for you too! Find joy in commUNITY.
WHAT IS URBAN DANCE?
Urban Dance is a more recent dance form to the Westernized dance scene and is often miscatorigized as Hip Hop Dance. Before we go any further, it is very important that you understand what Hip Hop is and is not. Hip Hop Dance stemmed from Breakdancing and social / party dances that rooted back to particular ideas within Hip Hop culture. Therefore, a lot of what is often current categorized as “Hip Hop” dance is not actually true to the cultural roots of the form.
The term “Urban Dance” originated two decades ago in California as a new way of expressing the mix of dance forms that were being blended with traditional Hip Hop styles, and the future emphasis on choreography and performing that was emerging within the dance scene. In a current Urban Dance class, the dancer is less focused on training a set of skills and more focused on the choreography, timing and musicality. Set to popular music and popular eye-catching steps, Urban Dance is joy-filled dance class every person needs in their llife.
If you are interested in learning more or getting more information on the differences between Hip Hop and Urban Dance check out this great article from the STEEZY Blog here: https://blog.steezy.co/what-is-urban-dance/
WHAT IS BALLET?
Ballet is a dance form that originated in the fifteenth century during the Italian Renaissance to later become popularized in France and Russia. It is often thought to be the basis of all Western concert dance forms such as Modern, Contemporary and Jazz Dance. It is form that demands a high amount of skill development in addition to strength, flexibility, grace, performance and musicality. It generally a codified form, meaning it has a set vocabulary of movements and ideas.
When people think of Ballet, they often associate the form with the dancers in tutus and pointe shoes (the artists who dance on their toes). While this does represent a subset of ballet, it is not representative of the vast majority of dancers that study Ballet on flat (without pointe shoes) for training and joy. Currently in the professional world, Ballet has become extensively more demanding physically. Therefore at SkunkWorks, we practice a more Neo-Classical Ballet form meaning we draw extensively from Classical Ballet, in particular the Cecchetti form, but we believe teaching to the needs of the genre today which includes a larger emphasis on physicality, strength building, endurance growth and can also include contemporary ballet specialized movement.
Learn more about the history of ballet from the Atlanta Ballet here: https://www.atlantaballet.com/resources/brief-history-of-ballet0
Learn more about the styles of ballet, in particular neo-classical and contemporary ballet, from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater here: https://www.pbt.org/learn-and-engage/resources-audience-members/ballet-101/what-is-ballet/
WHAT IS MUSICAL THEATER DANCE?
In comparison to all the other dance styles we offer at SkunkWorks, Musical Theater Dance is our form without any particular dance style influences. Like current shows, the genre of this class can completely vary. What roots this dance genre is it’s links to Broadway and musical theater shows. Every dance in our Musical Theater class is set to a specific piece of music from a current or past show. The movements, style and approach are influenced by the history of each musical and the song’s role within the show.
Dance to the popular tunes you grew up singing to and some you may not have even heard of! This form is based less on the development of technical skills and more on the learning and mastering of energetic choreography, as an actor or actress would have to do in an audition. If you are looking for strong skill development in addition to the mastery of Broadway phrase work and style, we highly suggest adding at least one ballet or jazz class onto your class schedule.
WHAT IS JAZZ?
Jazz dance is the fusion of mainly ballet, tap and African dance set to jazz and African-based rhythms. It was created in the early 1900’s, but found popularity in the 1950s through many great dancers many of which were Chicago-based. Jazz dance is often characterized through technical shapes, body isolations, fast rhythmic footwork and a strong emphasis on a dancer’s core center. Today, jazz dance has grown into many unique and exciting subset forms. Elements like leaps, turns and sassy combinations have also become staples of the form.
Want to know more about the different forms of jazz that exist in our dance world today? Read this great article from Dance Spirit: https://www.dancespirit.com/the-jazz-breakdown-2326335865.html