Performing arts are art forms in which artists use their body or voice to convey artistic expression—as opposed to visual arts, in which artists use paint/canvas or various materials to create physical art objects. The first recorded use of the term performing arts was in 1711.
Contemporary dance is the exploration of the total movement potential of the body. It differs from commercial or competitive dance in that it is not bound by set standards, as well as defined styles such as ballet or Jazz dance. Instead, it seeks to express a personalized vision, often through experimentation and collaboration for the development of new, more individualized approaches to the moving body and choreographic possibilities.
It does not refuse classical ballet's leg technique in favor of modern dance's stress on the torso, while it also employs contact-release, floor work, fall and recovery, and improvisation characteristic of modern dance. Unpredictable changes in rhythm, speed, and direction are often used, as well.
It can use elements of non-western dance cultures, for example, elements from African dance such as bent knees, or elements from the Japanese contemporary dance Butoh.