Lyrical dance is a dance style that embodies various aspects of ballet, jazz, acrobatics, and modern dance.[1] The style combines ballet technique with the freedom and musicality of jazz and contemporary.[1] According to Jennifer Fisher, lyrical dance is “strongly associated with clearly displayed emotional moods, fast-moving choreographic strategies, emphasis on virtuosic display, illustration of song lyrics, and, in group form, exact unison.”[2] The style is usually danced at a faster pace than ballet but not as fast as jazz.[3] Lyrical dance is a category typically found in dance competitions.[4]

Style vs technique

Because of the links between the styles of dance, teachers originally struggled with whether to teach lyrical dance alongside jazz or ballet or as its own, separate style.[5] The main concerns with lyrical dance is the distinction between lyrical as a style and/or a technique. Lyrical has been described as a "pseudostyle" or a "pseudogenre"[2] because it utilizes steps from other, more established styles of dance. Lyrical dance utilizes training from jazz technique, ballet technique, and modern technique as a basis for movement.[6] These well-known movements are elongated, taken off their center, and distorted to create a new aesthetic in lyrical. Although advertised by some studios as a class, “lyrical technique” does not technically exist. A dancer cannot be proficient in lyrical dance without knowledge and mastery of basic technique from jazz, ballet, and modern.[4]

Use in popular culture

Lyrical dance is competition dance style and is only used to describe a specific style of dance in the world of competitive dance. “Lyrical” is used to describe a quality or movement type in other dance settings, but not as a style name such as Jazz or Ballet. There has only been one instance of lyrical being used in a professional setting. This was on Season 1 of the popular American dance show So You Think You Can Dance. Contestants on this reality show were asked to compete in many different styles such as ballroom, hip-hop, jazz, and lyrical. The term lyrical was replaced by the term contemporary in Season 2 of the show. This was thought to have been done to professionally legitimize this show. Despite the name change, the type of dances performed in this style remain very similar.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Lyrical Jazz". Oeiras Dance Academy (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2022-12-16.
  2. ^ a b Fisher, Jennifer (23 Oct 2014). "When Good Adjectives Go Bad: The Case of the So-called Lyrical Dance". Dance Chronicle. 37 (3): 312–334. doi:10.1080/01472526.2014.958650.
  3. ^ "What Is the Lyrical Dance Style?". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  4. ^ a b c Weisbrod, Alexis (Oct 2014). "Defining Dance, Creating Commodity: The Rhetoric of So You Think You Can Dance". The Oxford Handbook of Dance and the Popular Screen. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199897827.013.021.
  5. ^ "History of Lyrical and Contemporary". The History Of Dance. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  6. ^ Weisbrod, Alexis. "dance: Redefining Dance in the United States". UC Riverside. eScholarship. Retrieved 23 Oct 2018.