How to Modern Dance? Types, Steps & Top Modern Songs


How to Modern Dance
24 May, 2024


If you are a dance enthusiast or just a curious person interested in learning about modern dance, this blog is for you. Here, you will learn everything about modern dance, from its history to current practices. Let us begin the quest to learn how to modern dance.

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What Is Modern Dance?

Modern dance is a form that comes to the floor, rebelling against classical dance. It began as a reaction to classical ballet in the 20th century. Modern dance gives dancers more freedom of movement. How to modern dance depends on each one’s unique style. It liberates dancers to explore their emotions and moods through dance.

Modern Dance Styles


Jazz dance is a modern dance form that originated in America. This dance form shows a unique blend of European and African influences. It inherits elegance from its European roots, and its rhythm is derived from African roots. This amalgamation of two cultures makes it a vibrant and dynamic dance form. Afro-Cuban, Musical Theatre, Lyrical, Classic Jazz, Contemporary, Blues, and Funk are some of the most popular styles of Jazz Dance.

Famous jazz choreographers: Bob Fosse, Jack Cole, and Gene Kelly


Contemporary dance is an innovative style of the 20th century that blends features of many other dance styles. It embodies the essence of lyrical dance, modern dance, classical ballet, and jazz. It crosses conventional boundaries and invites dancers to explore the full range of human motion. Contemporary dance encourages both performers and audiences to journey on a journey of self-discovery and creative exploration.

Famous contemporary dance choreographers: Crystal Pite, Akram Khan, and Mark Morris

Hip Hop

Hip-hop dance originated on the vibrant streets of American cities. Rooted in the cultural melting pot of African-American and Latino communities, it reflects the rhythm and energy of its origins. It has many styles, including breaking, popping, locking, and krumping.

Hip-hop dance has become a global phenomenon with its electrifying choreography. It serves as a platform for social commentary, addressing issues such as gender identity, inequality, and empowerment. Through its powerful combination of music, movement, and message, hip-hop dance inspires and unites people worldwide.

Famous hip-hop dance choreographers: Parris Goebel, Michael Jackson, and MC Hammer

Swing Dance

Swing dance is a lively and spirited art form. Like many other modern dance forms, it is rooted in African-American culture. With its energy and playful improvisation, swing dance quickly became famous among dancers from various backgrounds. Swing dance mixes various styles, including Lindy Hop, Charleston, and Balboa. This dance form features dynamic partner work and synchronized footwork.

Famous swing dance choreographers: Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, and Sylvia Sykes

Folk Dance

Modern folk dance draws inspiration from traditional dances passed down through generations. Rooted in the customs and rituals of diverse communities, it has the spirit of celebration and community. From the lively reels of Irish step dance to the spirited rhythms of Mexican zapateado, modern folk dance offers a wide range of styles, each with its own distinct flavor. It bridges past and present, preserving cultural traditions while blending contemporary influences. It fosters a sense of belonging and pride among participants.

Famous folk dance choreographers: Bob Fosse and Alvin Ailey

Irish Dance

Irish dance is a blend of tradition and artistry that traces its origins to Ireland’s rich cultural heritage. It originates from centuries-old Celtic rituals and celebrations and shows the spirit of resilience and community.

Eight people, i.e., four couples, mainly participate in the dance form. The dancers keep a traditional Irish look by curling their hair and wearing green or vibrant clothes. This dance is all about foot movement and little upper body movement. Beyond its technical aspect, Irish dance is a powerful symbol of Irish identity and pride.

Famous Irish dance choreographers: Colin Dunne, David Bolger, and Jean Butler

Tap Dance

Tap dance is a rhythmic and dynamic art form rooted in the vibrant streets and stages of early 19th-century America. This form amalgamates many ethnic dance forms, such as African American Juba dance, Irish jigs, Scottish step dancing, and English clog dancing. It is famous for its signature tapping sound. Tap dance was popular during the American Civil War. By the 1950s, this dance form began declining in popularity, but it strongly influenced today’s popular dance form, ‘Jazz’.

Famous tap dance choreographers: Gregory Hines, Gene Kelly, and Savion Glover

How to Modern Dance?

Here are the basic steps that guide you on how to modern dance.

Curl Down and Up

This movement involves bending your body forward, “curling” your spine down toward the floor, and then slowly straightening back up. It can help warm up the spine and engage core muscles.

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Leg Swings

The basics of modern dance start with proper leg movements. Leg swings are dynamic movements in which you swing your legs forward and backwards or side to side, often to loosen up the hips and legs and improve flexibility.

Flat Back

In this step of how to modern dance, you need to maintain a straight back position without arching or rounding the spine. This position helps promote proper posture and core muscle engagement.


Tendu is a fundamental movement in ballet and modern dance where the foot is extended along the floor until only the toes remain in contact with the ground. It helps improve foot articulation, strength, and precision. This step comes at the core of how to modern dance.


A chasse is a traveling step where one foot “chases” the other, typically performed with a step-together-step pattern. It’s a common movement in many dance styles, including modern dance, and adds dynamics and fluidity to choreography.

No Boundaries

This phrase refers to the freedom of movement and expression often associated with modern dance. Thus, modern dance often encourages dancers to explore movement without constraints, allowing individual creativity and interpretation.

Top Modern Dance Songs

Carry Me Higher

It is a song from the album of the same name. It is a collaboration of artists Blessed Madonna, Joy Anonymous, and Danielle Ponder. This disco-house banger has multiple versions available. It is widely famous among modern dance lovers and is often played in discotheques and clubs.


‘Miracle’ is a popular single by Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding. It won the Most Played Song award at the Global Awards 2024. This pop song has a trance effect and is inspired by Eurodance and techno. It acts as a psychedelic for modern dance performers.

We Give Thee Honor

The electronic dance song ‘We Give Thee Honor’ by Floor Plan has everything a dance lover craves. It is a rave number with overflowing energy, and the rhythm intoxicates dance enthusiasts.


What is modern dance?

It is a dance form that originated in 19 th century as a rebellion against the strict rules of classical dance forms. It prioritizes the freedom of artists over strict rules.

Modern dance styles

  • Jazz
  • Contemporary dance
  • Hip hop
  • Swing dance
  • Folk dance
  • Irish dance
  • Tap dance

How to modern dance?

  • Curl down and up
  • Flat back
  • Tendu
  • Chasse
  • No boundaries

Top modern dance songs

  • Carry me higher
  • Miracle
  • We give thee honor


Who invented modern dance?

In the 19th century, dance artists Isadora Duncan, Maud Allan, and Loie Fuller developed a new dance style that rebelled against the strict rules of classical ballet dance. That newly developed dance style is recognized as modern dance.

Are there different styles of modern dance?

There are many different modern dance styles, as follows-

  • Jazz
  • Swing dance
  • Tap dance
  • Folk dance
  • Irish dance
  • Contemporary dance

How to modern dance?

  • Curl down and up
  • Leg swings
  • Flat back
  • Tendu
  • Chasse
  • No boundaries

Where did modern dance become popular?

Modern dance became popular in the United States. Although it has gained popularity globally, it originated and initially became popular in the United States.

Who is the most famous modern dancer?

Martha Graham is one of the most famous modern dancers of all time. She also had one of the longest careers in the history of modern dance, being active as a dancer for 75 years.

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