Modern Dance Moves

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What Modern dance moves and steps are you likely to experience in a beginners class?

They could be anything… influences from Ballet, Jazz, Tango, Street, Samba, Jive, Ballroom, you name it, they are all used as Contemporary dance moves.

There could be a variety of names you hear too.

  • Release
  • Graham
  • Cunningham
  • Limon.

These are just some of the techniques that Modern dance moves are based on.

As a beginner, they don't need to mean very much to you. So don't be alarmed when your class has one of these labels. You'll be able to join in just fine.

Modern Dance Benefits

If concern over lack of co-ordination is keeping you away from dance classes, trying some Modern dance moves is a very good, safe place to start.

Modern dance moves are all designed to encourage freedom of movement and personal interpretation while weaving in many varied and demanding steps and positions.

As there are many dances that you'll do under the umbrella of Contemporary dance that are free flowing and aren't a series of choreographed steps for you to remember, you'll have freedom to move the way you feel like moving.

Modern Dance Moves

Your co-ordination and confidence will grow with every class.

Also bear in mind that it is perfectly acceptable to start by copying only part of a move if your teacher is choreographing a routine for you.

For example, if you find it too much to co-ordinate feet and arms together, do one or the other for a while until you've mastered each and then just add them together.

Have a go at copying the Modern dance moves in our video.

This is the start of a routine the teacher is building for her pupils. She starts with teaching just the arm movements.

See if you can follow along...


There are many different dances and experiences you could come across in Modern dance.

You may learn a whole routine of a fusion of many dances, choreographed for you.

Or you may do a freer style and be able to make up your own movements, perhaps having been given a theme by the teacher such as 'The Ocean', 'Fire', 'Joy' and so on.

If you are interpreting your own theme, don't forget that dancing doesn't just take place on two feet. Use the floor too.

Modern Dance Floor Move

And to match all that magical mixture of dance styles, movements and sensations, you'll hear a very wide range of musical styles - lots of different rhythms and textures for you to work with.


With some Modern dance steps you may also be encouraged to try contact work – working with a partner to make up moves, and trying out routines that need you to lean on, support or touch a partner.

Or even some Modern dance classes are encouraged to dance together in a group piece.

However, please don't worry about your class being turned into a performance.

As we are fond of saying, no good teacher of absolute beginners would expect their new pupils to 'perform'. Certainly not in their first few lessons.

Modern Dance Class Pupils

If you've found yourself a good teacher, they'll take care of you and won't suggest any formation of dancing with others that is likely to make you feel self-conscious.

So if a teacher suggests partner, group or contact work, it is likely to only be a suggestion and to form a very small piece of your overall lesson.

And do bear in mind that due to the calm, individual-centered concentration present in good Modern dance lessons, they will be no air of competition, so you should always feel quite safe and secure in your own movements and routines.

Whichever type of lesson you are in, by the end of the session you will be amazed at the richness of the final routine which you will be able to dance with panache - because it has come from within you.

Congratulations! You now have a wealth of the best Modern dance tips and advice at your fingertips (or should that be at the end of your toes?!).

Just don't forget to keep doing that Posture Check!

Now it's time to relax your body, with our blissful cool down exercise...

To access your online class, once you click the Purchase button you'll be asked to create a very basic account with our partners Vimeo.  It's super quick.  Just enter your e-mail address and create a password.  That's it.  Then Vimeo will take you straight to the payment processing - PayPal, credit and debit card payment options are all available and secure.  You'll be in your virtual dance class in mere moments.

› Modern Dance Moves