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Dance Genre Descriptions

Dance Genre Descriptions



Ballet is a genre that typically uses classical music to allow dancers to move gracefully and gently. Most classes begin with a “barre” warm up where the dancers practice a set of technique exercises. Ballet has lots of interesting dance vocabulary and is seen as the foundation for many other dance genres.


Tap uses special shoes with metal on the bottom to create sounds with. Dancers use these shoes to make rhythms that match the songs they are performing to.


Modern focuses on sparking creativity in dancers. Students are able to explore moving at different levels and tempos and coming up with their own movements through “Improvisation.” It typically uses alternative music that is a bit slower than jazz songs.


Jazz uses upbeat pop songs that are fun and exciting. Like ballet, jazz has a set vocabulary that dancers learn over time. Throughout class, dancers work on flexibility and precise movement while bringing their own personality to the choreography. Dancers wear special shoes that help them turn.

Hip Hop

The Hip Hop dance genre uses faster hip hop, rap, or pop music. The moves are typically very sharp and sassy. Many popular dances you see in music videos could be considered hip hop. Dancers wear clean sneakers for this genre.

Contemporary Ballet

This dance genre is a mix of ballet and modern. It still uses the technique exercises that dancers practice during “barre,” but these exercises are typically done in the center of the room to build core strength. Contemporary does a hybrid of modern and ballet activities throughout the class.

Musical Theater

Musical theater style dancing uses fun music you might hear in Broadway shows or other musicals. Dancers have to use both acting and dancing while performing through the use of facial expressions and sharp, clear movements.


After dancers have taken many years of ballet and demonstrated a certain strength in their feet, they might be given the opportunity to take pointe. Pointe uses special shoes that are hard at the tip so that dancers can balance on the tops of their shoes. It is a more challenging form of ballet.