Modern Dance Classes

cropped-IMG_93041.jpgHere at Dance Scene Harlow Essex we provide modern dance lessons for all ages and ability levels, this includes our modern dance classes.

Modern dance discipline


Modern dance is a discipline that started to flourish and thrive in the 20th century. Changes brought about by world events like wars, communism, and dictatorship, year after year, decade after decade, resulted to choreographers and dancers alike seeking for new disciplines to further express their inner selves.

It is solely a term to distinguish it from classical dances. It may often be mistaken as ballet since both have the same soft and gentle movements but in actuality, ballet and modern dance are two different disciplines.

Modern dance is less structured and formal compared to ballet. Ballet focuses on leaps, kicks, and specific hand movements. Modern dance on the other hand centers on drops, recovery and lingering near the floor.


Who knows yourself better other than you?

Most often the not, in doing the modern dance, the choreographer is the same with the dancer. This happens since this dance focuses on emotions, psychological state, and passion. Who knows yourself better other than you? 

Modern dancers need to create their own techniques and style to express their feelings. They have to draw out the emotions from within, hence the self choreography.

Though a choreographer is needed for dancers in pair or in group. This is to have a third person perspective to ensure that dancers will not bump into each other causing chaos instead of art. That dancers would have proper blocking and placing while executing their choreography freely.

Stage orientation

Another factor that differentiates modern dance from ballet is the stage orientation. Ballet usually follows the conventional style of facing the audience while keeping a stiff posture and specific hand positions.

Most of the time ballet dancers enter the stage or start moving as soon as the music starts or when the curtain rises. As soon as the music stops, their routines stop as well. Modern dancers on the other hand assume multiple dimensions on the stage. From the floor, to mid air, even up to carrying their partner up in the air.

They also turn at different directions, even to a point that they have to turn their back to the audience. They may start their dance from any part of the stage.

They may also end their dance anywhere in the stage. While ballet tends to defy gravity with its leaps, kicks, twists, and turns, modern dance is very distinguishable with its sudden drops or falls.

That is why this discipline encourages male dancers to join as it also involves lifting.

Modern dance classes are very versatile

Regarding music, modern dance is very versatile that it can be danced in almost any kind of music.

From classical, to ballad, even up to modern or pop music. The tempo of the music does not matter even. So long as it goes back to the basic discipline of conveying emotions.

For some, even the absence of music or a pin drop silence serves as the “music”. Choice of music, just like the dance, doesn’t have a specific rule.

It is also not necessary that movements should be parallel with the rising and the dropping music.


For the costume, to connote freedom, most of the dancers prefer to dance barefoot. Some opt for foot undies for extra support.

For the top, flowing sheer material (like that of Greek sculptures) is used, for the dancers to freely move their torsos and arms.

Some dancers settle on tights for it is more comfortable for them. Leggings for both male and female are also used for extra support for floor movements. Just like the dance, no strict rules on costume.

At Dance Scene in Harlow we encourage this diversity in our performances, including our last show at the Play House Theatre, First Impressions. You can see some examples of this on our YouTube channel.


Development of modern dance

Some of the remarkable names for the early part of the development of modern dance include Isadora Duncan and Mary Wigman.

Isadora Duncan, from an American descent, was born May 27, 1897. She started her career as early as six years old.

Though she was an American, majority of her career in dance and choreography was spent in Europe.

She broke convention by making her own discipline, Greek culture inspired. In fact, she was known for dancing in long flowing Greek robes.

Modern Ballet

Expressionist dance

Mary Wigman, a German, was born on November 13, 1886. She was known for expressionist dance.

She was regarded for not using shoes in dancing. She went to New York to spread her discipline and she got noticed right away by some communist dance troupes there. She died at the age of eighty six.

Martha Graham is one of the notable names of late modern dance. She, together with other modern dance choreographers did not stop in developing the dance.

She went back to basic movements done by humans such as breathing, turning, and walking. She integrated those natural movements with the dance and made it into actions for modern dance.

Also, the drop and the recovery from the fall was incorporated.

Why should you go into modern dance?

Aside from self expression, modern dance lessons have a lot of benefits for the dancers, the choreographers, and the audience.

Dancing in general is a calorie burner. For modern dance, with the drops, recovery, and lifting, burning calories is faster. It also promotes good balance especially those who dance in pair.

It is a skill and an art at the same time. Since you have to keep your balance in modern dance, your posture becomes better unknowingly.

All in all, modern dance promotes strength for upper and lower body, better stamina, and higher endurance. Just like any other exercise, it is very beneficial to your health.

Since you will look good, you will also feel good. For the audience, watching a dance full of emotions and feelings would actually help them be relaxed more.

Also, it draws out that liberating feeling of just moving freely.

Liberate yourself

When should you start? Now! Start as soon as possible. Liberate yourself from the emotional baggage that’s stopping you from expressing yourself.

This type of dance will bring you closer to yourself and your emotions.

Who can do the modern dance? Everyone except for those with physical conditions that are specifically prohibited due to medical reasons.

Everyone can do the modern dance. It can be done by both male and female of all age and all walks of life. That’s how flexible modern dance is.

So contact us by phone, text or email and come and join us:


Lorraine Hodges:       07711 745193

Kate Tozer:               07843 274221



As we have said, we have two fantastic venues in Harlow. So if you are in Matching, Bishops Stortford, Sawbridgeworth, Little Hallingbury, Nazeing, North Weald Bassett, Moreton, Sheering, Hatfield Broad Oak, Matching Green, Roydon, Church Langley, Hoddesdon, Stanstead Abbotts, or Thornwood we are ideally located for you.

Come and join us!

Leave a Reply