WHAT IS THEATRICAL DANCE?
Put this question to a professional dancer and even they might be stumped. It’s not really musical theater dance. It’s not concert dance. It’s not the dance you do while waiting in the ridiculously long line for the bathroom at a theater.
We may not know it yet, but theatrical dance may be the next evolution of movement, thanks to new generation of versatile dancers. Whereas it was once good enough to be the master of one form, the modern dancer must be as fluent in ballet as they are in break dancing to remain competitive in an increasingly diverse environment.
Television and YouTube have helped bridge the gaps between the different types of dance, and myriad studios offering any and every kind of dance have given birth to a new type of dancer who has learned Bollywood and ballet in the same studio.
Such a diverse and talented new generation of dancers have set the stage—literally—for shows like So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Next Best Dance Crew, and even Dancing with the Stars, ushering in a whole new era of dance that blends the established techniques of different forms to tell create story-specific movement.
Think back to your favorite piece from So You Think You Can Dance. Do you remember the amazing dancing, or the amazing story told through the dance? I’ll bet you’ll remember the story better than you remember how many pirouettes, or how high their jumps were.
These shows have capitalized on their dancers utilizing a wide range of techniques, but have blended it with strong–yet succinct–story telling. It’s the perfect format for today’s fast-paced world: a snippet of easily digestible story with a strong narrative.
Add to that a modern flair that mixes hip hop dancers with ballerinas or tappers with a contemporary vibe or a pas de deux with aerial—something that the dance critics would have found horrifying fifty years ago–and you have the recipe for a form of dance that is as powerful as it is adaptable.
Each of these shows relies on each dancer’s individual talents and their ability to seamlessly adapt to new styles and partners while still maintaining a through line. Shows like SYTYCD gleefully reimagine how dance is pieced together every single week.
This adaptability makes theatrical dance the perfect form for Stretch Dance Co. Theatrical dance takes advantage of the many talents of our dancers, focuses on the individual strengths of each one, and is flexible enough to transition from a dramatic look at the Holocaust to playfulness of Lady Gaga.
Theatrical dance takes the richness of all the traditions of dance, and yet eagerly steps outside the box to suit its purposes, which is exactly what Stretch Dance Co works for in every dance, every song, every story. This new trend in dance is already popping up onstage, on screen, and on the streets, but few have realized that these dances reach beyond traditional forms and into a brave new frontier.