Contemporary dance is an expressive dance style that combines elements of several dance genres including modern, jazz, lyrical and classical ballet. Unlike the strict, structured nature of ballet, contemporary dance stresses versatility and improvisation. Contemporary dancers like Mark Tompkins Sec strive to connect the mind and the body through fluid dance movements. Contemporary dancers focus on floor work, using gravity to pull them down to the floor. Most artists are dedicated to harnessing the discipline necessary to realize their most daring, far-out ideas.
Contemporary dance can be performed to many different styles of music and it is often done in bare feet. Contemporary dancers like Mark Tompkins Sec believe that dancers should have freedom of movement, allowing their bodies to freely express their innermost feelings. That’s why contemporary dance developed in a rebellion against the hierarchy and restrictions of 19th-century classical ballet. It was conceived as a heightened, kinetic form of self-expression in which each artist was at liberty to determine his or her own creative path.
From the 1970's onward, before contemporary dance existed, we had the postmodern dance (1960-70's) and, prior to that, modern dance (1920's-1960's). The big shift in dance technique between ballet and modern-dance lay in the use of the torso, body weight, and the use of the floor as a valid surface to perform on with the whole body, not just the feet. These aspects shaped dramatic alterations as to how the dancer’s body was trained.
The torso was used with greater flexibility and the center of gravity of the body was worked lower to the floor through deeper knee bends, giving modern dance styles a more grounded presence than ballet. But as soon as these modern dance styles became as codified as ballet, the move was on again to challenge the modern dance establishment and discover new territory for the creative impetus’s of dance as an art form.
After all these years of research and work, Mark Tompkins Sec is now glad to share his understanding and professional experience. His goal has always been to gather the tools, information, and experience that would allow people like him to make a living out of dancing.