There is an endless supply of ideas to create a contemporary dance story. The tale a dancer tells with their routine can be light and fun or filled with intensity and drama. The dance becomes more than just the movements, but portrays a message to all who watch. The audience is inspired as the dancer gets lost inside the character they are portraying. Contemporary dance does not restrict the performer to one specific dance style, but opens up to individual artistic expression.
A dance could focus on a character whose parents have invested all they have into their daughter becoming a professional ballet dancer, yet she longs to break the mold with a more contemporary style. The routine could start out with proper movements as if she is practicing. On her way to the studio every day, she passes a group of teens in a poor neighborhood who are constantly in trouble, who her parents forbid her to hang around. At this point in the dance, she could seem distracted, upset. She desires to help them but does not know how. The dance could build in intensity as her ballet movements flow into a more contemporary style. She longs to share her dance with them, to pull them from their troubled life through the power of dance.
Choose a song for the story it tells. Listen carefully to the words and create a tale from its message. There are millions to choose from. Tell a story about a young man in prison who made a mistake he regrets. The dance could be very melancholy at this point, somewhat lifeless. He wants to change but feels hopeless. A local dance team has volunteered to perform for the prison inmates to boost their morale. This man is moved deeply by their dance, as it reawakens his own desire to continue the dancing he did as a professional before his mistake. The intensity could climax with all out powerful movements and jumps to signify his reawakening.
Hopelessness Into Triumph
Tell a story of a woman who feels stuck in an extremely abusive relationship with a man who beats her. Intense, powerful movements would be a gripping beginning. She used to be a professional dancer until she met him and he would not allow her to continue because of his jealousy. The dancing at this point should portray trying to break free from what restrains her movement. She escapes from him and finds refuge with an eccentric dance instructor that helps her refine her dancing again, while she battles with her inner demons from the severe abuse she went through, while continuing to hide from him. The character would dance with all the passion she possesses at this point, holding nothing back.
Add a fantasy element to a story of three teenage dancers who discover a magic portal into a world where an evil warlock strips dancers of their ability and training. It is up to the three teen dancers to find a way to retrain the possessed dancers to remember who they are and to fight the warlock's power over them by relearning how to dance. This type of routine would be extremely entertaining with the variety of music and movement it could include.
Bobbi Walls has been writing professionally since 1994. She has worked with Orange Frazier Press and F&W Media on fiction and nonfiction, and has had articles appear in "Washington Stake" and other local newsletters. Walls is pursuing a bachelor's degree in English at Ashford University.