How is Modern Dance different from Ballet?

Dance is an art form of expressing your emotions visually through body movement. There have been different forms of dances practiced over time; Modern dance is one such form. Archaeology has found paintings of dancing figures at Bhimbetka, India 3300 BC shows dance is older than our imagination. It was passed to us by our ancestors, and it keeps reforming itself with every generation. Moreover, dance is also performed as a cultural trait in many places. After all, it brings us joy, either watching or performing.

The History of Modern Dance

Modern Dance started as a protest against ballet. It was pioneered by Isadora Duncan, followed by Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, and Loie Fuller. This started in America around 20th century as a rebel to set free from Ballet and Vaudeville dance form. The mother of American Modern Dance was Isadora Duncan. She brought a revolution by adopting to wear a tunic instead of a tutu. She used music to dance free of her heart’s will, as modern Dance was away from any limitations and restrictions. It was for anyone who could dance the way they wanted.


How Modern Dance is different from Ballet  

Both wear different attires

Ballet women wear pointe shoes, and men wear soft slippers. They have noble and courtly gestures. Later with time, long tutus became short in ballet. While modern dance is free from corset costumes, and feet are free from Ballet shoes. It has no fixed dress code. Moreover, it’s up to the dancer’s choice and whatever shoes or sandals or barefoot they wish to have. Hence, it freed everyone from everything the ballet was occupied with.

Have different dance forms  

Modern dance is more of informal, free, and natural movement of the body. It is a self-created art of dance and to express oneself. However, Ballet is more strict, formal, and straightforward for entertainment purposes for the audience.

Origins are different

Ballet emerged in the 15th century in Russia, France, and Italy. It has been a tradition there long ago, and the term is derived from the word ‘ballare,’ which means ‘to dance.’ The modern dance originated in the 20th century in America. It’s a fusion of ballet, jazz, and modern style. It started as a revolution to set free from ballet and is somewhere influenced by ballet itself.

Style of Dance is different

In Ballet, Dancers raise their arms and leg to move freely. They tiptoe, spread their leg higher, and dance with grace to narrates the story which is mostly romantic.However, modern dance is a freedom from all these techniques. It shows aggression, joy, tears, and other aspects of human emotions. It has its style improvised.  



Modern dance uses more emotions and expressions in their dance. The steps take inspiration from music, and the same is what the audience sees and witness with lip sync. Ballet is an elegant movement motion performed on some sound. It’s a romantic and serene performance. There’s no lip sync in this, only smile and eye movements while storytelling.

Foot and Ankle injuries 

One has to master the foot landing technique in ballet. Maintaining posture and balancing the overall body is a big task in ballet. It takes time and dedication to learn these minuscule things about ballet. Modern dance doesn’t have to focus on the foot landing process. They dance loose and unrestricted by any boundation. There are frequent foot and ankle injuries in ballet, a little more from Modern Dance.

Ballet helps in better postures

The practice of ballet improves body postures, increases the flexibility and alignment capacity of the body. The whole idea about ballet is posture. One has to be hard to learn the balance of standing on one leg arms widespread and aligning together in one order. Modern Dance works on the overall body parts, strengthens the body, and keeps it in good shape. It focuses on making the body strong and involves the movement of all body parts.

Time duration 

Ballet takes time, perseverance, and patience to learn. You don’t need any prior talent to learn. You need to have skills to learn it. Its main focus is to fix the posture first. A lot of hard work is put into fixing the posture of the body first. Modern Dance lets dancers explore their unique dance moves. It takes a lot of effort in pushing a body in every form. It requires complete body moment and makes the body stronger and active.

A career in Modern Dance

You can become a Dance Teacher at a studio or in any public school with proper qualifications or with a Master’s Degree. Yoga Instructor is also an option since a dancer practices yoga and exercises daily is obvious and has great knowledge for the same. With additional interest and skill set, one can be a Photographer and Videographer too, as their demand is high these days.  

Relationship of Ballet, Modern Dance and Contemporary Dance

Ballet is the root from where all other dance forms originate. It sets the body with clean and polished moves, disciplines it for better performance. Modern dance is carved from Classical Ballet Dance, while Contemporary Dance is evolved from Modern and Post-Modern Dance. Modern dance is full of expressions, moods, and emotions, while Contemporary Dance is more about developing new styles and dance techniques.  


Whatever form of dance it is doesn’t matter. All that matters is how much you love doing it and how liberated you feel doing it. Dance should be practised to express your feelings, and its process should be enjoyed. Stop being judgemental about the steps and their forms; just move to the rhythm of the heart.

Share with your friends

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *