Modern vs. Ballet

I am very concerned about the younger generations of dancers.  There is a true and sad fact these days (I say these days, but it has always been this way) that the younger dancers prefer to take modern classes over ballet class, and in fact forfeit ballet training altogether.
I have heard from several people how ballet is too strict and difficult….hmmm…duh.  Yes, ballet is difficult.  It is one of the most difficult technical “sports” in the world, and one of the most unnatural.  But the truth is that you need ballet to be a successful modern dancer, or any other type of dancer for that matter.
My concern is that a lot of the upcoming generation of dancers see many older successful modern dancers, without understanding their backgrounds.  The truth is that with strong ballet training you can transform and pick up a modern routine and become excellent at it over a couple of months (of course if you are naturally gifted at movement), but the reverse is much much harder (modern to ballet), if not impossible to do.  My concern is to see young kids taking only modern, without the focus in ballet alongside their modern training, thinking those classes alone is the best choice for them.
Regardless, any young dancer that wants to pursue a professional career in dance should take ballet until they reach at least 18.  Until their body structure is completely formed, they need the ballet base to build a strong foundation for whatever kind of dance they hope to pursue.  It is very important that they understand how difficult it is to go from modern to ballet, and how easy it is to transform into any style with a solid ballet foundation that gives the structure and technique.
If you don’t believe me, check out all the best modern dance companies in the world.  Each of the dancers has incredible ballet training and was therefore able to achieve their current success as a professional modern dancer.


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  • Great post and you're right...this is a big problem. My 15 year old daughter is a ballet dancer. So many of her friends have dropped out by this point, thinking they have "enough" ballet, ready to do more modern/jazz and competitions. We won't be a part of a school that encourages this....and people think we're crazy. We will definitely pass this on:)
    Love learning about Joffrey through your blog. She hopes to audition for the summer intensive next year.

  • I will always love ballet as I love classical music. Ballet is a language, a teacher told me. It is the true language of dance, as notes are the language of music. Even art has structure and without it, one cannot go far. Another teacher said that a person off the street can dance but the difference is that a trained dancer can do anything and they are the ones who will get jobs. Education is everything.

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