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What is Lyrical Dance?

By Samantha Bellerose, B.Ed, Dip.Dance (Performing Arts)

Lyrical Ballet or Lyrical Jazz? Are they different types of dance or the same? Ironically they are the same but different! Lyrical dance can be more ballet or more jazz. It can be more contemporary or even more hip hop. So if a style of dance can be both Ballet and Hip Hop what exactly is it?

Lyrical is a quality of dance. It is expressive and fluid. Poses showing off dancers’ flexibility and strength are held as long as possible, jumps are high and explosive and turns are fluid and melt into the next.

Movement in lyrical dance is used to show intense emotions and music and lyric choice helps to determine the emotional tone and choice of the choreography of lyrical dance.

Lyrical dance is generally an addition to the ballet or jazz dancers’ arsenal. Technique and amalgamation of both disciplines need to be mastered so that the dancer can concentrate on emotionally performing the steps rather than on their execution.

It is also important to understand that there IS a difference between Lyrical and Contemporary dance, especially for those entering competitions. Lyrical dance is fluid and dynamic, it should follow and match the tone of the song and lyrics being danced to and is emotionally expressive. Whereas contemporary dance distorts ballet technique, is generally avant-garde, and is dancer-centric, with a focus on the choreography or a theme, idea, or concept. Similar dance steps may be used in both styles but it is the way in which they are sequenced, performed, and matched with sound and music that can make them different.

This page is just one of hundreds of definitions of the many styles and genres of dance. This library is being continually added to by the writers and contributors of Dance Parent 101!