Skill Level Descriptions
A beginner’s a beginner. You should not have any prior dance experience to begin taking modern classes. Sometimes beginner classes can seem repetitive. You may still be taking a beginner class after a whole year of study, but the basics will lead to surprising results for your body and your overall fitness.
Starting with stretching and simple combinations, you will eventually progress to across the floor movements and longer choreography segments. Hard work and patience is key for a beginner. Modern has fundamental elements that can be used in many different styles of dance.
NOTE TO ALL BEGINNERS
Recital studio modern classes are recreational and less strict. These are classes for the beginner dancers. In most cases, only after experience in recital classes does one work up to the competition level studio classes. Some studios will allow a hard working dancer to take higher level company or competition classes to allow them to progress at a faster pace.
*See “How to Choose a Dance Studio” section
Intermediate dancers have been in modern classes for at least two years. Most intermediate recital classes are a bit more strict and require you to make up a missed class or learn the work from another dancer if you are absent.
At this level, competition modern, also referred to as contemporary jazz, and modern company work require a strict in-class schedule and attendance to every class is mandatory. Flexibility and stamina should match most of the other dancers in the class however this is not always the case. A beginner can naturally be super flexible while an advanced modern dancer might struggle in that particular area but excel in others.
Intermediate modern classes require more difficult combinations along with an expected understanding of the dance language and terms. If you or your child have reached the level of intermediate, prepare for higher intensity and potentially a larger time commitment depending on the studio.
A beginner is allowed to take an advanced modern class; however flexibility, stamina, and lack of prior knowledge alone will prohibit the dancer from keeping up and getting the most out of the class. Unlike some styles of dance, an advanced modern class requires commitment.
Some advanced classes include difficult technique such as leaps, turns, and partner work that can lead to injuries if not fully trained. Without the basic knowledge acquired from beginner and intermediate classes, you simply will not be able to benefit as much from the class since you will be playing catch-up the entire time.
At least five years of prior dance lessons should usually be required for advanced class. These classes will most likely be for professional or pre-professional dancers looking for advanced performance opportunities or high intensity training and preparation for the industry.