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Lyrical vs. Contemporary

New Junior Lyrical class

Wednesday 6pm - 6.45pm, age 7+


Dance is a beautiful activity that combines movement, flow, and emotions into one beautiful piece. There are so many different types of dance, allowing people to try them all to find which one they like the best. From ballet and contemporary to jazz and tap, there are many options when it comes to dance.


At ElliTe Studios, our dance mums are always asking us about lyrical and contemporary classes and also what the difference is between the two. While the difference may be hard to see, we are going to explain the difference in this blog! At our dance studio in Wakefield, we currently offer lyrical classes from age 7+ and contemporary from age 11+. If you are interested in signing your child up for one of these classes, be sure to contact ElliTe Studios today! We can help determine which type of dance class is right for your child.


Contemporary dance requires more maturity in dance and in self-awareness as well as in strength. Therefore our contemporary classes are currently generally for our Secondary School age students only or for those with sufficient prior training and skills. Lyrical for age 7+ is a good preparation for both lyrical and contemporary specialisms from age 11.


Contemporary vs. Lyrical

What’s the difference between Contemporary and Lyrical Dance?

The differences between lyrical and contemporary are hard to see to the untrained eye, but to a dancer the differences are critical. Once a dancer is strong, experienced and mature enough both styles of dance will be crucial to their development and overall enjoyment of dance.


Lyrical Dance, (from age 7)

Lyrical dance utilizes techniques from both ballet, jazz and modern to create an emotional and expressive dance that is meant to relate to the lyrics of the songs being danced to. During a lyrical dance, dancers will use their body language and facial expressions to show emotions, including anger, hurt, sadness, joy, love, etc. This beautiful dance type is often used as a method of storytelling and creates a connection with the audience. Many people love watching lyrical dances because they are relatable.

Lyrical Dance Classes Focus On:

  • Ballet technique with the fluidity of jazz

  • Specialized leaps and turns

  • Flowy and elegant movements

  • Long pretty lines

  • Creating emotional connections

  • Storytelling and expression

Contemporary Dance, (from age 11)

Contemporary dance uses a variety of techniques and forms from different types of dance including ballet, jazz, lyrical, and modern. This type of dance requires strong technical skills, as well as a creative and open mind. Oftentimes, contemporary choreography is developed through improvisation. Contemporary dance works to push the boundaries, questioning and dismantling older forms of dance. Without jazz and modern dance styles, which sought to break the mold of traditional dance styles, such as ballet, contemporary dance would not exist.

Contemporary dance involves an understanding of music, rhythm, and the space around a dancer. A lot of the movement in contemporary dance is about speed, strength, control, and change of direction. Because of this, a dancer needs to be well conditioned and trained to avoid injury.

Contemporary Dance Classes Focus On:

  • An embodiment of the emotion of the movement choreographed

  • Ballet technique combined with jazz and modern dance

  • Hard-hitting movement

  • “Sharp” lines

  • Pushing the boundaries of traditional dance

  • Combos have more of a storyline in place for the dancer to perform

  • Exploration of movement through improvisation

The Main Differences Between the Two Styles

While both types of dance combine techniques and movement from ballet and jazz, focus on emotions and storytelling, and involve free and fluid motions, there are many differences. Lyrical dance focuses more on the flow of movement as it relates to the music and lyrics, showing emotion through that movement and creating a beautiful visual story. Contemporary dance focuses more on big movements, feeling the emotion of the music, and pushing the boundaries of dance.

Both dance types are beautiful, unique, and allow for complete self-expression. No matter which one your child chooses to try, our dance teacher will help them learn the techniques, skills, and movements.






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