Ask Amy: Tips for Contemporary Ballet

June 28, 2017

I’m performing in a contemporary ballet piece for the first time and every rehearsal feels like I’ve never danced a day in my life. Help! —Simone

When I was a young corps member, I was cast in Alonzo King’s MAP. I was so excited—until I started the rehearsals. I had such a hard time understanding how to be grounded in my legs and freer in my upper body. I also wasn’t used to the more collaborative rehearsal environment because I was accustomed to being told what to do. Luckily, the répétiteur saw that I was struggling and offered to work with me one on one. She helped me better understand the creative process by encouraging me to experiment and let go. Eventually I felt more comfortable and had a great performance.

If you’re new to contemporary ballet,

keep an open mind and

be willing to experiment in rehearsals.

My best advice to you is to cut yourself a break and allow yourself time to adjust. It will be tempting to move tentatively, but I’d actually suggest really going for it in rehearsals—don’t be afraid of failing, and ask for help if you need it. That’s what rehearsals are for! Most importantly, keep an open mind. This is a learning experience for you, and it marks a period of artistic growth in your career.

Have a question? Send it to
Pointe editor in chief and former dancer Amy Brandt at [email protected].