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Those of you who already know The Wooden Floor know that our concerts are far from the sphere of the ordinary. Because we are passionate about what we do, we get very excited by first time audience members too, some of whom might be new to contemporary dance and our approach to dance-making. With that in mind, we have articulated answers to questions that we hear often. We hope it helps to bring you closer to these deeply conceived dances made by thoughtful and committed youth and artists. 


What is this kind of dance?

Modern dance began in the late 19th century, primarily in the United States and Germany. Like modern art and music, it is often experimental and iconoclastic. Because it’s been around for more than a hundred years, most of the pioneering forms are considered ‘classical’ modern. ‘Contemporary dance’ is frequently used to refer to dance that is choreographed today. If you really want to talk shop, you can use the terms ‘new dance’ or ‘experimental dance’.


Why are the dancers barefoot?

Isadora Duncan, modern dance pioneer, began to dance barefoot as a symbol of liberation. Being barefoot allows you to be in contact with the ground, a salient trait of contemporary dance.


Why does The Wooden Floor perform contemporary dance rather than classical ballet?

New work is created in collaboration with the dancers. The choreographers commissioned by The Wooden Floor are keenly focused on bringing our young artists into the creative process. The dance includes who they are and what they have to say. We value inventiveness and exploration over imitation, primarily because there’s so much more learning and growth involved.


In ballet there’s often a story line, these dances don’t seem to have a narrative. What do they mean?

Through reflecting on associations and sensations that arise within you while you watch, you can construct your own meaning—or simply enjoy what is going on—like watching nature. What is your experience? The “you” is the subjective experience that contemporary art encourages us to tap into. There might not be a story or “message” in the dances but a multiplicity of possible interpretations and meanings—isn’t that fun?


Do I have to study contemporary dance to “get it”?

Not at all! New audiences may stumble because they try too hard. Do keep an open mind though, as the work intends to be thought provoking. It is not of the lighter entertainment variety. It was created for deeper nourishment, and so may require more chewing and slower digestion for full savoring.


Why is The Wooden Floor’s Annual Concert important?

We bring choreographers who are shaping the world of contemporary dance into an intense art making process with the young dancers in our program. The Wooden Floor’s compelling vision also draws a remarkable group of artistic collaborators, who together design the lighting, costumes, and sets. These artists are among the best in their field! Minority youth have a voice through our dances, they bring their background and identity to a world class art-making process. The performances break down ethnic, gender, and age stereotypes about who can inspire, create, perform, and contribute to the evolution of the genre of contemporary dance.