Lyrical dance combines elements of both ballet and jazz, encouraging dancers to express strong emotions in their portrayal of the music and so teach them how to express themselves and grasp a stronger sense of musicality and passion in their performance.
As a dance teacher, lyrical choreography allows for creativity and passion, enabling teachers to demonstrate emotion within the choreography. Finding the right music is always a challenge as most lyrical dances are stereotypically drawn to soulful, powerful songs using messages that are not always appropriate for the age of the dancer.
Lyrical dance gained its name not because the lyrics of a song are often highlighted over the rhythm, but because of the meaning of the word lyrical: having a poetic, expressive quality; musical; characterised by or expressing spontaneous, direct feeling; expressing deep personal emotions or observation; highly rhapsodic or enthusiastic.
Lyrical dance is both subtle and dynamic, expressing emotions through movement using a combination of intricate, highly technical, and balletic moves. A lyrical piece may or may not be graceful, but will always be expressive and unpredictable, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats and captivating their attention – a joy to watch when done well.
A solid, ballet-based technique is an essential component of this advanced style of dance, combined with various other forms of jazz, contemporary and modern dance, giving the dancer an opportunity to express themselves and reach for inner feelings that may not normally be allowed to shine through on stage.
Some key dancer-choreographer-teachers within lyrical dance include: Tracie Stanfield, Brian Friedman, Mia Michaels, Blake McGrath, Dan Karaty and Cirque du Soleil. Love her or hate her, Abby Lee Miller knows how to work a lyrical routine and the iconic dances by Maddie and Chloe inspired a whole generation of dancers to try lyrical solos and who hasn’t used the ‘Maddie Face’ technique to encourage expression and feeling into a child’s face when demonstrating the essence of meaning into a dance.
We would love to hear some of your song choices for successful lyrical solos – we have all spent hours listening to tracks to find the perfect song – although we totally understand if you want to keep it secret.
Another question for consideration - what are your thoughts on footwear – do your dancer’s go bare foot to feel the floor or wear foot thongs to allow them to move more freely around the stage?
Lyrical is the perfect dance style to encourage your pupils to express themselves and learn the craft of stage presence. Less demanding than jazz and less technical than ballet, lyrical dance can evolve with both dancer and teacher and the two of you can go on a journey of exploration and see where it takes you.
Oh yes – and who wouldn’t want the chance to wear a beautiful lyrical costume that can mirror the music and compliment the choreography, allowing the dancer to feel free to express themselves and portray their emotions to the best of their ability.