Contemporary Ballet

Contemporary Ballet is a genre of dance that incorporates elements of both classical ballet and modern dance.  Often confused with modern dance (which is a separate style of dance all its own), contemporary ballet represents a departure from the restraints of traditional classical ballet technique and traditional rules of composition.  Contemporary ballet has roots in the classical technique and vocabulary, but uses those roots as a place to explore, experiment, and challenge tradition.

Contemporary, by definition, means happening or existing at the same time, and is often used to describe works that are created in the present or recent past.  These works tend to reflect the moods, ideas, events, and feelings of the time of their creation and don’t always have specific stories or librettos.  Contemporary choreographers sometimes infuse their choreography with these themes and ask the audience to think more deeply about the meaning of the work instead of telling them what to think and how to interpret it.

Contemporary work is important because it helps keep the ballet art form alive and helps it evolve.  On the importance of new works, Ballet Arizona dancer Nayon Iovino says “They are necessary for innovation. Creating something new expands the boundaries of the art form. New works are also a reflection of a society or a person in the present time. It’s important to continue pushing the limits of dance and to add those moments to history.”


  • Key Differences Between Modern and Contemporary Dance

    Check out our blog post that explains the difference between these two similar but different styles of dance! Read the Article

  • New Works Inititative

    Learn more about Ballet Arizona's New Works Initiative and why the creation of new works is so important to ballet, to our company, and to Arizona audiences. Find Out Why New Works Matter

  • Through A Donor’s Eyes: Supporting Contemporary Ballet

    Benefactor Bob Benson shares why Justin Peck’s choreography is important to the dance world. Read the Blog Post