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Scott & Kristy Nilsson's

Favorite Ballet & Dance Quotes



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The Quotes

Humans are measured not through their words but their deeds.
The abstraction of deeds is dance itself.

~ Chinvat – the Ninth Bridge
Winner − Special Jury Award, Hungarian Pan Art Festival
(from the promotional flyer)


In life as in dance:
Grace glides on blistered feet.

~ Alice Abrams


Beside the fire, as the wood burns black,
a laughing dancer in veils of light,
whose dance transforms the darkness to gold.

~ Adu Abd Allan ben Abi-l-Khisal ben Abi-l-Khisal


He who cannot dance will say: The drum is bad.

~ African Proverb


Kristy Nilsson - Tarentelle, Atlanta Ballet Centre Theatre


If you can talk, you can sing.
If you can walk, you can dance.

~ African Proverb


   The mother of the dance is the melody because she gives you everything,
   tells you everything you need to know, like a mother.
   The father of the dance is the rhythm and he is the strong one,
   the leader, the authority − as a father should be!

       ~ Tayyar Akdeniz


Dance is for everybody.
I believe that the dance came from the people
 and that it should always be delivered back to the people.

~ Alvin Ailey


An excerpt from Alvin Ailey's signature work, Revelations.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre


There is such a difference when you're dancing to music you really love,
when there is this meeting of music and dancer that fuses into one.
Those are the experiences we live for.

~ Aisha Ali


They follow me and I never know what I'm going to do.
I lead them through a variety of dance experiences,
and at these times, I'm no longer myself. I'm like a go-between.
When I hear certain pieces of music, I project myself into the place and
time where I saw a particular dancer. Then I become that performer.

~ Aisha Ali


A dancer should learn from all the arts. Go to museums and look at the paintings.
See how they balance things. Everything you do in the arts enriches you.

~ Alicia Alonso


This new form of dialogue that is bringing us to the art
to which I have dedicated my life,
is rooted in the deepest and most beautiful part of being human.

{Que esta nueva forma de diálogo nos siga acercando a un arte
al que he consagrado mi vida,
y que está enraizado en lo más profundo y bello del ser humano.

~ Alicia Alonso


When you are ecstatic and in love, you feel buoyant, you feel life,
you feel like you're dancing in the sky.

~ Margo Anand


It’s true of all great artists that the more you see, the more you want to see.

~ Peter Anastos, choreographer


Everything in the universe has rhythm.
Everything dances.

~ Maya Angelou


Dance is a life, everyday.  don't miss it.
You're in bodies, you can move... Where is your joy?

~ Mary Anthony


Dance is a sort of silent rhetoric.

~ Canon Thoinot Arbeau


The dance, just as the performance of the actor, is kinesthetic art,
art of the muscle sense. The awareness of tension and relaxation
within his own body, the sense of balance that distinguishes
the proud stability of the vertical from the risky adventures of
thrusting and falling – these are the tools of the dancer.

~ Rudolf Arnheim


The choreographer cannot deliberately make a ballet to appeal to an audience,
he has to start from personal inspirations. He has to trust the ballet,
to let it stand on its own strengths or fall on its weaknesses.
If it reaches the audience, then he is lucky that round!

~ Gerald Arpino


Dancing allows me to explore myself in so many ways,
to learn about my limitations and strengths, my ability
to cope with adversity and to go farther than I thought I could.
You find out what you're made of.

~ Andrew Asnes


Dancing is a sweat job.

~ Fred Astaire


Do it big, do it right, and do it with style.

~ Fred Astaire


I am bit sending messages with my feet.
All I ever wanted was not to come up empty.
I did it for the dough and the old applause.

~ Fred Astaire


I have no desire to prove anything by dancing.
I have never used it as an outlet or a means of expressing myself.

~ Fred Astaire


If the dance is right,
there shouldn't be a single superfluous movement.

~ Fred Astaire


I'm just a hoofer with a spare set of tails.

~ Fred Astaire


Slippery stages were the terror of my life.

~ Fred Astaire


Some people seem to think that good dancers are born,
but all the good dancers I have known are taught or trained.

~ Fred Astaire


The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed.
Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it's considered to be your style.

~ Fred Astaire


This search for what you want is like
tracking something that doesn't want to be tracked.
It takes time to get a dance right,
to create something memorable.

~ Fred Astaire


Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding (1951) − sublimely partnering a coat tree.


I'd rather dance as a ballerina,
though faultily, than as a flawless clown.

~ Margaret Atwood, Lady Oracle


Anyone who has a child today should train him
to be either a physicist or a ballet dancer. Then he'll escape.

~ (Wystan Hugh) W. H. Auden


Dance till the stars come down from the rafters.
Dance, dance, dance – till you drop.

~ (Wystan Hugh) W. H. Auden


All the dancer's gestures are signs of things,
and the dance called rational,
because it aptly signifies and displays
something over and above
the pleasure of the senses.

~ Saint Augustine


I praise the dance, for it frees people
from the heaviness of matter and binds the isolated to community.
I praise the dance, which demands everything:
health and a clear spirit and a buoyant soul.
Dance is a transformation of space, of time, of people,
who are in constant danger of becoming all brain, will, or feeling.
Dancing demands a whole person,
one who is firmly anchored in the center of his life,
who is not obsessed by lust for people and things
and the demon of isolation in his own ego.
Dancing demands a freed person,
one who vibrates with the equipoise of all his powers.
I praise the dance.
O man, learn to dance,
or else the angels in heaven will not know what to do with you.

~ Saint Augustine


(Dance is)...a whole system of concepts, images, words, and practices,
some of them ritual ones. One cannot possibly understand a part of the whole,
if isolated from the remaining parts of that whole... dancing makes sense
along with music... along with the nostalgia evoked, memories from the past
together with a given way of visualizing the world...

~ Maria Susana Azzi


When you take dancing lessons,
you learn steps and you learn steps and you learn steps.
It can go on for a long time.
And then one day, you just learn to dance,
and it is so different.

~ Bill Austin


Bolshoi-trained Staatsoper Ballet principal Polina Semionova
in the music video for Herbert Grönemeyer's 2003 composition Letzter Tag.


Fine dancing, I believe like virtue, must be its own reward.
Those who are standing by are usually thinking of something very different.

~ Jane Austen


It may be possible to do without dancing entirely.
Instances have been known of young people passing many,
many months successively, without being at any ball of any description,
and no material injury accrue either to body or mind;
but when a beginning is made – when the felicities of rapid motion
have been once, though slightly felt –
it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.

~ Jane Austen


A dance is a measured pace,
as a verse is a measured speech.

~ Sir Francis Bacon


The heart of the dance is the heart of the dancer.

~ Ghazallah al-Badriyyah


A violinist had a violin, a painter his palette.
All I had was myself.
I was the instrument that I must care for.

~ Josephine Baker


Ballet dancing is arduous, strenuous activity.
Students are engaged in physical training that rivals the training Olympic athletes undergo.
At the same time, they strive for physical perfection not for the prowess alone
but as a way of achieving the means necessary to express the pure nature of their art.

~ George Balanchine

Georgy Melitonovich Balanchivadze

Джорджи Мелитонович Баланчивэйдз


Ballet is important and significant – yes. But first of all, it is a pleasure.

~ George Balanchine


(Choreography) is simpler than you think.
Just go and do, and don't think so much about it.
Just make something interesting.

~ George Balanchine



Dance is music made visible.

    ~ George Balanchine





Dancers are instruments,
like a piano the choreographer plays.

~ George Balanchine


First comes the sweat.  Then comes the beauty
if you're very lucky and have said your prayers.

~ George Balanchine


Two of Balanchine's many prodigies − Allegra Kent and Arthur Mitchell, later founder of
Dance Theatre of Harlem − dance the pas de deux from Balanchine's Agon.


God creates, I do not create.
I assemble and I steal everywhere to do it –
from what I see, from what the dancers can do,
from what others do...

~ George Balanchine


I am a cloud – in trousers.

~ George Balanchine


I could never make a ballet by wrinkling my brow and concentrating.
If you set out deliberately to make a masterpiece,
how will you ever get it finished?

~ George Balanchine


I don't want people who want to dance,
I want people who have to dance.

~ George Balanchine


In ballet a complicated story is impossible to tell ...
we can't dance synonyms.

~ George Balanchine


In my ballets, woman is first. Men are consorts.
God made men to sing the praises of women.
They are not equal to men: They are better.

~ George Balanchine


It's like the time capsule with everything in it.
Or like the seed that when you plant it,
becomes the enormous tree with leaves and fruit.
Everybody was in that little seed, and so everything can open.
The tree of dance is like that. It just takes a long, long time to blossom.

~ George Balanchine


Most ballet teachers in the United States are terrible.
If they were in medicine, everyone would be poisoned.

~ George Balanchine


My muse must come to me on union time.

~ George Balanchine


One is born to be a dancer.  No teacher can work miracles,
nor will years of training make a good dancer of an untalented pupil.
One may be able to acquire a certain technical facility,
but no one can ever acquire an exceptional talent.'
I have never prided myself on having an unusually gifted pupil.
A Pavlova is no one's pupil but God's.

~ George Balanchine


Put a man and a girl on stage and there is already a story;
a man and two girls, there's already a plot.

~ George Balanchine


Someone once said that dancers work just as hard as policeman,
always alert, always tense, but see,
policemen don't have to be beautiful at the same time.

~ George Balanchine


The ballet is a purely female thing;
it is a woman, a garden of beautiful flowers,
and man is the gardener.

~ George Balanchine


The choreographer and the dancer must remember
that they reach the audience through the eye.
It's the illusion created which convinces the audience,
much as it is with the work of a magician

~ George Balanchine


Rudolf Nureyev regarded George Balanchine as the world’s greatest choreographer,
and Balanchine's Apollo as the sum of his work. It was Nureyev's ”ballet of a lifetime” −
and Nureyev performed it for nearly twenty-five years.


The mirror is not you.
The mirror is you looking at yourself.

~ George Balanchine



Balanchine, on approving a dancer's technique:

You know how to do battement tendu.

~ George Balanchine


You haven't got anything to dance about
until you're over thirty-five anyway.

~ Bert Balladine


What do you dance?

~ Traditional African Bantu greeting to a member of another Bantu tribe


Technique is what you need to do to dance well,
principally to make it feel good to your partner.
Style is everything else you do when you dance,
hopefully to make it look good
to your partner, and your audience.

~ David Barker


Dance has become an exclusionary enterprise.
To participate, one must be thinner than thin,
of pleasing form, flexible, athletic and young.
If you are not all these things,
you will be allowed to dance
in the privacy of your own living room.
You just wouldn't dare to put yourself onstage.

~ Clive Barnes


One of the few things in dance to match the
Royal Ballet's curtain calls
is the Royal Ballet's dancing.

~ Clive Barnes


Mikhail Baryshnikov − perhaps the greatest male dancer
of the 20th Century, winning a Gold Medal at age 21 at the 1969
Moscow International Ballet Competition − as Basilio in Don Quixote.

Below, Baryshnikov's performance in the same role − approximately fourteen years later.


Every ballet, whether or not successful artistically
or with the public, has given me something important.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov
Mikhaïl Nikolaevitch Baryshnikov
Михаил Николаевич Барышников


If your only dance experience is the Nutcracker, it will be a shock;
hopefully shocking in a good way.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


It doesn't matter how high you lift your leg.
The technique is about transparency, simplicity, making an earnest attempt.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


I do not try to dance better than anyone else.
I only try to dance better than myself.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


I like the most provocative
and most surprising partnerships on stage.
Intensity and surprise.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


I want to see people dance, and I would like
to guess what kind of people they are.
I don't want to know the recipe for their pasta.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


Just sit and open your eyes and open your heart.
It's dance theater.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


Baryshnikov's 1983 stage performance in Don Quixote at American Ballet Theatre.


No dancer can watch Fred Astaire and not know
that we all should have been in another business.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


Perhaps Baryshnikov exaggerated, but what more need be said...
Fred Astaire − Putting on the Ritz:


The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


The problem is not making up the steps but deciding which ones to keep.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


There comes a moment in a young artist's life when he knows
he has to bring something to the stage from within himself.
He has to put in something in order to be able to take something.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


To achieve some depth in your field requires a lot of sacrifices.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


We're trying to stretch our muscles creatively.
It gives us so much more freedom.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


What brought me to the theater,
no matter you're a Jew or a Russian or Armenian or Latvian,
are suddenly illuminated by stage light
and one beautiful image of dance.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


You can be totally involved, you could admire just the shape of
or you could be totally emotionally mushed up into the dance.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


Dancing can reveal all the mystery that music conceals.

~ Mikhail Baryshnikov


Baryshnikov defected for artistic freedom, relishing performing contemporary works −
ranging from numerous successful pieces created for him by Twyla Tharp, to
Roland Petit's classic 1946 work Le Jeune Homme Et La Mort (The Young Man And the Death).


Even when she walks
one would believe that she dances.

{Même quand elle marche
on croirait qu'elle danse.

~ Charles Baudelaire


There are short-cuts to happiness,
and dancing is one of them.

~ Vicki Baum


Dance first. Think later.
It's the natural order.

~ Samuel Beckett


In the dance, one finds the cinema, the comic strips, the Olympic hundred
meters and swimming, and what's more, poetry, love and tenderness.

{Dans la danse, on retrouve à la fois le cinéma, les bandes dessinées, le cent
mètres olympiques, la natation, avec, en plus, la poésie, l'amour, la tendresse.

~ Maurice Béjart


The dance:
a minimum of explanation,
a minimum of anecdotes,
and a maximum of sensations.

{La danse, un minimum d'explication, un
minimum d'anecdotes, et un maximum de sensations.

~ Maurice Béjart


There are two ways of being creative.
One can sing and dance.
Or one can create an environment
in which singers and dancers flourish.

~ Warren G. Bennis


Leaders must encourage their organizations
to dance to forms of music yet to be heard.

~ Warren G. Bennis


There are those who dance to the rhythm that is played to them,
those who only dance to their own rhythm,
and those who don't dance at all.

~ José Bergamín


Let's face the music and dance.

~ Irving Berlin


A silent figure is the dancer, true but still,
words become dance, and all things there express'd.

~ André Bjerke


God respects us when we work,
but he loves us when we dance.

~ Les Blanc (also attributed as a Sufi saying)


A correct execution of an adagio
is the ne plus ultra of our art;
and I look on it as the touch-stone of the dancer.

~ Carlo Blasis


What is dance? I am dancing all the time.
Every gesture, the body line of every pose,
the way I get from place to place, the movement in the acting –
none of it would be the way it is if I weren't a dancer.

~ Ray Bolger


The inimitable Ray Bolger... with Judy Garland.
Wizard of Oz - Ray Bolger: Scarecrow


Nothing happens in the body
without happening in the brain first...
dancing is 95% mental.

~ Bobby Boling, A Dancer's Manual


Let us keep the dance of rain our fathers kept
and tread our dreams beneath the jungle sky.

~ Arna Bontemps


Ballet is not technique
but a way of expression that comes more closely
to the inner language of man than any other.

~ George Borodin


While I dance, I cannot judge,
I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life.
I can only be joyful and whole.
That is why I dance.

~ Hans Bos


All dance is about sensual expression. It is about energy and vitality,
and it is one of the most liberating activities available to us.

~ Wendy Bounaventura


I'm always very true to the music
and I honour the music in the way I see it.

~ Matthew Bourne


The Pas de Quatre (The Four Little Swans) from Matthew Bourne's
Broadway production of his all-male Swan Lake.


It is not so much upon the number of exercises,
as the care with which they are done,
that progress and skill depend.

~ August Bournonville


The beauty to which the Dance ought to aspire
is not dependent upon taste or pleasure,
but is founded on the immutable laws of Nature.

~ August Bournonville


The Royal Ballet's Johan Kobborg and Alina Cojocaru perform at the
2003 International Mariinsky Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg. An excerpt
from August Bournonville's The Flower Festival at Genzano by Edvard Helsted.


Artists lead unglamorous daily lives of discipline and routine,
but their work is full of passion.
Each has a vision and feels responsibility to that vision.

~ Merryl Brockway


Love is a lot like dancing;
you just surrender to the music.

~ Pierce Brosnan


I learned to act by watching Martha Graham dance,
and I learned to dance by watching Charlie Chaplin act.

~ Louise Brooks


Movement without meaning is just exercise.

~ Marie Brooks


Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.

~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing.

~ James Brown


James Brown lives,
as long as someone steps out of their body
and dances uncontrollably.

~ Rev. Al Sharpton
(Speaking to the crowd, at James Brown's induction
into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:


I don’t want to feel a shoe; I want the shoe to become part of me.

~ Leslie Browne


A child sings before it speaks,
dances almost before it walks,
music is with us from the beginning.

~ Pamela Brown


Dance can give the inarticulate a voice.

~ Pamela Brown


The human animal dances wildest
on the edge of the grave.

~ Rita Mae Brown


Dance every performance as if it were your last.

~ Erik Bruhn


The call to dance is a response to a primitive urge to rhythmic motion.
It is an unavoidable internal rhythm of life.

~ Dorothy Buck


Body language is a very powerful tool...
80% of what you understand in a conversation
is read through the body, not the words.

~ Deborah Bull


Retired Royal Ballet Principal Deborah Bull, CBE,
dances Aurora's Variation from Sleeping Beauty, Act III


I enjoy the freedom of modern dance
as well as the constraints of classical dance.

~ Deborah Bull


So if the dance is five minutes long,
make yourself run for perhaps eight minutes.
That way, you over-train and the dance will seem easier...

~ Deborah Bull


I think it's useful to experience other types of dance and other cultures,
and the life of a classical dancer these days is certainly not all tutus!
So experience of other dance forms is a good idea.

~ Deborah Bull


It's not magic! It's physics.
The speed of the turn is what keeps you upright.

~ Deborah Bull


You can't reduce lactic acid, but you can increase your tolerance to it.
I do this through running or cycling, but it's a good idea
to match your training bout to the type of dance you do.

~ Deborah Bull


Young dancers are training at a very vulnerable time in their lives...
So train the whole person, not just the dancer.

~ Deborah Bull


In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves.

~ Edward Bulwer-Lytton


Our profession creates illusions.
It is not a matter of having a perfect body,
but of dancing in such a way as to look perfect.

~ Wilheim Burmann


Good art is a form of prayer. It's a way to say what is not sayable.

~ Frederich Busch


It's very easy to become selfish and narrow-minded
and see ballet as the only thing in life,
but there's lots more.

~ Darcey Bussell


Darcey Bussell, the youngest dancer ever promoted
to principal at the Royal Ballet at the age of 20 -
retires in May 2007. Here in a contemporary excerpt:


You have to be able to cut off from the ballet and relax,
or you have anxiety dreams at night,
worrying about what you're going to dance the next day,
going over every little detail.

~ Darcey Bussell


On with the dance!  Let joy be unconfined.

~ Lord George Gordon Byron


Though I soon became typecast in Hollywood as a gangster and hoodlum,
I was originally a dancer, an Irish hoofer, trained in vaudeville tap dance.
I always leapt at the opportunity to dance in films later on.

~ James Cagney


As a Kennedy Center Honor recipient on December 7, 1980, James Cagney
wept openly as presenter Mikhail Baryshnikov related how Cagney's films had
inspired him as a child to become the greatest male dancer of the 20th Century.
This is the performance that gave the world Baryshnikov:
James Cagney - "Yankee Doodle Dandy"


Kind are her answers,
But her performance keeps no day;
   Breaks time, as dancers
From their own Music when they stray.

~ Thomas Campion


The further off from England the nearer is to France –
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.

~ Lewis Carroll


Dance then wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
and I'll lead you all.

~ Sydney Carter


Classical dancing is like being a mother:
if you've never done it,
you can't imagine how hard it is.

~ Harriet Cavalli


You're not here by mistake.  Someone at your audition
watched you dance and saw something special.
All you've gotta do is figure out how to find that again.

~ Center Stage


To dance is to be out of yourself and in yourself at the same time.
Those whom you encompass need only to look...
because they are inside of you when you dance.

~ Eva Cernik


I use dancing to embellish, extend or enlarge upon an existing emotion.

~ Gower Champion


The really great dancer is perhaps a rarer phenomenon
than great musicians, painters or sculptors.
This is because dance is a consummation of all these arts.
The dancer, in addition to the qualities that pure dance demands,
must be sensitive to and have an uncanny ear for music,
must have a painter’s sensibility to the significant line,
a sculptor’s approach to form, an architect’s vision of space
and a trained actor’s responses to dramatic situations.

~ K. Subhas Chandran


If their feet aren't in the right place, at least their hearts are.

~ Christian M. Chensvold, on novices


Until you're ready to look foolish,
you'll never have the possibility of being great.

~ Cher


One may judge a king by the state of dancing during his reign.

~ Chinese proverb


Twenty-one dancers perform the exquisite
Thousand-Hand Guanyin for Spring Festival in Beijing.
Amazing Dance

The rest of the story: these dancers of the
Chinese Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe
are profoundly deaf, relying on signals
from conductors at the four corners of the stage.


Dance is movement, and movement is life.
{La danse, c'est le mouvement, et le mouvement, c'est la vie.}
~ Ludmilla Chiriaeff


Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself.
Before you can move their tears, your own must flow.
To convince them, you must yourself believe.

~ Winston Churchill


Hardly any man dances when sober, unless he is insane.
Nor does he dance while alone, nor at a respectable and moderate party.
Dancing is the final phase of a wild party
with fancy decorations and a multitude of delights.

{Nemo enim fere saltat sobrius, nisi insanit, neque in solitudine
neque in convivio moderato et honesto. Tempestivi convivi,
amoeni loci, multarum deliciarum comes est extrema saltatio.

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero, Pro Murena


Dancing is at once rational and healthful:
it gives animal spirits;
it is the natural amusement of young people,
and such it has been from the days of Moses.

~ William Cobbett


As an American, the first thing I noticed about British dancers
was their intellectual response to movement. In countries like Israel, the USA,
Australia and South Africa, the approach is much more athletic. People spend
a lot of time outdoors,  and play sports in clothing that exposes the body.
Northern Europeans tend to be more introverted – more covered up in every sense.

~ Robert Cohan


Fantasy is a reality you can dance to.

~ Richard  Cohen


We have no adequate conception
of the perfection of the ancient tragic dance.
The pleasure which the Greeks received from it
had for its basis difference; and the more unfit the vehicle,
the more lively was the curiosity & intense the delights
at seeing the difficulty overcome.

~ S. T. Coleridge


How inimitably graceful children are in general –
before they learn to dance.

~ S. T. Coleridge


To dance is to affirm.

~ Bayard Coll


The dance is the mother of all languages.

~ R. G. Collingwood


Never give a sword to a man who can't dance.

~ Confucius


Dancing is like dreaming with your feet!

~ Constanze


Do you love me – now that I can dance?

~ Pop song and lyric by The Contours


It's that vision of freedom you create
when you're defying physical law...

~ Bart Cook, NYCB


Dancers dance through their pain
I shrink from mine.

~ Mason Cooley


Ballet is only good when it is great.

~ Arlene Croce


Good choreography fuses eye, ear and mind.

~ Arlene Croce


If Balanchine had any secret, it was one that has endured
through two hundred years of classical ballet.
It is that dancing correctly in three dimensions, on the music,
creates the fourth dimension of meaning.

~ Arlene Croce


It is through strength of technique that the body stays in possession of music.

~ Arlene Croce, on Balanchine’s philosophy


1. Beginning Dancer: knows nothing.
2. Intermediate Dancer: knows everything; too good to dance with beginners.
3. Hotshot Dancer: too good to dance with anyone.
4. Advanced Dancer: dances everything, especially with beginners.

~ Dick Crum


The most important thing about folk dance in its original setting
is that it gives the dancer an opportunity to express both
the identity with a society
and the dancer's place within that society.

~ Dick Crum


Instead of seeing the rug being pulled from under us,
we can learn to dance on a shifting carpet.

~ Thomas Crum


i'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.

~ (edward estlin) e. e. cummings


An art process in not essentially
a natural process; it is an invented one.
It can take actions of organization from the way nature functions,
but essentially man invents the process. And from or for that process
he derives a discipline to make and keep the process functioning.
That discipline too is not a natural process. The daily discipline,
the continued keeping of the elasticity of the muscles,
the continued control of the mind over the body’s actions,
the constant hoped-for flow of the spirit into physical movement,
both new and renewed, is not a natural way.
It is unnatural in its demands on all the sources of energy.
But the final synthesis can be a natural one, natural in the sense that
the mind, body and spirit function as one.

~ Merce Cunningham


Modern Dance's uber-abstract pioneer, Merce Cunningham, performs excerpts
from numerous works with his company; Charles Atlas, Caroline Brown,
John Cage, Jasper Johns, David Tudor, Andy Warhol, and more.


The most essential thing in dance discipline is devotion,,
the steadfast and willing devotion to the labor
that makes the class work not a gymnastic hour and a half,
or at the lowest level, a daily drudgery,
but a devotion that allows the classroom discipline
to become moments of dancing too ...

~ Merce Cunningham


The only way to do it is to do it.

~ Merce Cunningham


A dance legacy must be performed in order to be preserved

~ Ann Daly


Dance is your pulse, your heartbeat, your breathing.
It's the rhythm of your life.
It’s the expression in time and movement,
in happiness, joy, sadness and envy.

~ Jacques d'Amboise


Enjoy the process of learning to dance.
The process of our profession,
and not its final achievement,
is the heart and soul of dance.

~ Jacques d'Amboise


Because ballet can seem remote onstage – glittering, exquisite,
perfect and not quite real – Anne Belle puts her viewers in the
studio and backstage to see the exacting physical and mental demands
of the art, the sweat and the grueling repetition. Once brought
down to earth, ballet becomes something we can all relate to:
a tension-fraught and inspiring human quest to conquer the impossible.

~ Dance Magazine


A studio rehearsal with Joseph Phillips, the 2002 Gold Medalist at the
USA International Ballet Competition, the First Prague International
Ballet Competition and the Youth American Grand Prix in New York.
Joseph Phillips:


... The dancer not be separated from the dance,
she also cannot be separated from the history of dancing,
from the line of dancers and teachers leading to her.

~ The Dancer and the Dance (film)


You can't see a painter or a writer or a musician if you just look at them,
but you can see a dancer in a child if they've studied ballet for a year.

~ The Dancer and the Dance (film)


Again, Joseph Phillips, in an unusual backstage view of Basilio's Variation −
and the Coda − from the Pas de Deux in Don Quixote:


It's not just for its influence on us, but to knowknow
that we can play a part in it, to understand the influence
that we have outside our own existence.

~ Siobhan Davies


The dance world is too small in lots of ways – it's too intense,
it rattles around itself, and it needs exposing to other ideas.

~ Siobhan Davies


Siobhan Davies Dance −
excerpts and 2006 rehearsal bits in her London studios:


To understand the culture, study the dance.
To understand the dance,
study the people.

~ Chuck Davis


Tap dancing all started with the old clog waltz.

~ Sammy Davis, Jr.


Dance – an art form. The body – an instrument.
Learn to play the instrument and master the art form.

~ Debbie Dee


The Dance instills in you something that sets you apart.
Something heroic and remote.

~ Edgar Degas


Locked in this dance is a secret language that tells the story
of women's lives... their passions and their spirituality, their sacrifices,
their joys, their intuitions, their emotional life drama.

~ Delilah


Ballet technique is arbitrary and very difficult.
It never becomes easy... it becomes possible.

~ Agnes de Mille


But remember that intent is everything.
One does not just jump, one lifts into the air, one rises.
In the same way the lifted leg of an arabesque becomes a wing,
and not a mechanical leverage like a raised trap door.
This is the precise difference between dancing and acrobatics.
The dancer tries to express something;
the acrobat merely pulls, raises, stretches and grinds.
The acrobat is lost in a web of muscles
the dancer is all but invisible in projected idea.

~ Agnes de Mille


Dance constitutes a true recapturing of...
freedom and childish play.

~ Agnes de Mille


Many other women have kicked higher, balanced longer,
or turned faster. These are poor substitutes for passion.

~ Agnes de Mille


Modern dancers give a sinister portent about our times.

~ Agnes de Mille


The artist never entirely knows. We guess.
We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.

~ Agnes de Mille


The effort involved in making a dancer's body
is so long and relentless, in many instances painful,
the effort to maintain the technique so grueling
that unless a certain satisfaction is derived
from the disciplining and the punishing,
the pace could not be maintained.

~ Agnes de Mille


The practice mirror is to be used
for the correction of faults,
not for a love affair,
and the figure you watch
should not become your dearest friend.

~ Agnes de Mille


The truest expression of a people
is in its dance and in its music.
Bodies never lie.

~ Agnes de Mille


The universe lies before you on the floor, in the air,
in the mysterious bodies of your dancers, in your mind.
From this voyage no one returns poor or weary.

~ Agnes de Mille


When you perform you are out of your self
larger and more potent, more beautiful.
You are for minutes heroic.
This is power.
This is is glory on earth.
And it is yours for the taking.

~ Agnes de Mille



Toe dancing is a dandy attention getter,
second only to screaming.

~ Agnes de Mille


When I dance I am really meditating
rather then performing for an audience.
I am completely absorbed by the music
and the steps I choose to respond to the music.

~ Agnes de Mille


All Ballets' fundamental steps are derived
from the folk dances of Western Europe.

~ Dame Ninette de Valois


Diaghilev was the first to notice
good character dancers and that sort of thing.

~ Dame Ninette de Valois


First of all, the most important, that is to learn
everything good that has survived from other times,
and carefully to watch the bad – and throw it out.

~ Dame Ninette de Valois


Nothing is done easily,
first have the thing, then the thing has a success,
then all sorts of difficulties arise through the success.

~ Dame Ninette de Valois


We are developing the other parts,
and we can't give quite all our attention to the upper part,
but soon the lower parts will be developed,
and the upper part and the lower part will become partners,
that will be wonderful.

~ Dame Ninette de Valois


You can't dance until you've learnt steps,
the things your feet can do.

~ Dame Ninette de Valois


You never advance without losing something en passant...
you lose it because you're paying so much attention to the new thing.

~ Dame Ninette de Valois


Ballet is the one form of theater
where nobody speaks a foolish word all evening
nobody on the stage at least.

~ Edwin Denby


There is a bit of insanity in dancing
that does everybody a great deal of good.

~ Edwin Denby


Insanity in dancing, and sometimes watching: bones-of-mercury David Elsewhere
from the 2001 Kollaboration. David is the second dancer, and well worth the wait...


You don't have to know about ballet to enjoy it,
all you have to do is look at it.

~ Edwin Denby


Discourse on virtue and they pass by in droves.
Whistle and dance the shimmy, and you've got an audience.

~ Diogenes


When you fall, try it again... everyone falls the first time!

~ Dave Dodson


Dancing is the poetry of the foot.

~ John Dryden


Dancing is the last word in life.
In dancing, one draws nearer to oneself.

~ Jean Dubuffet


A dancer, if she is great, can give to the people
 something that they can carry with them forever.
They can never forget it, and it has changed them,
though they may never know it.

~ Isadora Duncan


Dancing: the highest intelligence in the freest body.

~ Isadora Duncan


Every movement that can be danced on the seashore
without being in harmony with the rhythm of the waves,
every movement that can be danced in the forest
without being in harmony with the swaying of the branches,
every movement that one can dance... in the sunshine,
in the open country, without being in harmony with the life
and the solitude of the landscape – every such movement is false,
in that it is out of tune in the midst of nature's harmonious lines.
That is why the dancer should above all else choose movements
that express the strength, health, nobility, ease and serenity of living things.

~ Isadora Duncan


I am seeking that dance which might be the
divine expression of the human spirit
through the medium of the body's movement.

~ Isadora Duncan


I have discovered the dance.
I have discovered the art
which has been lost for two thousand years.

~ Isadora Duncan


I intend to work for this dance of the future.
I do not know whether I have the necessary qualities;
I may have neither genius nor talent nor temperament.
But I know that I have a Will;
and will and energy sometimes prove greater
than either genius or talent or temperament.

~ Isadora Duncan


If we seek the real source of the dance, if we go to nature,
we find that the dance of the future is the dance of the past,
the dance of eternity, and has been and always will be the same...
The movement of waves, of winds, of the earth
is ever the same lasting harmony.

~ Isadora Duncan


It has taken me years of struggle, hard work and research
to learn to make one simple gesture,
and I know enough about the art of writing to realize
that it would take as many years of concentrated effort
to write one simple, beautiful sentence.

~ Isadora Duncan


Sir Frederick Ashton, Founder Choreographer of the Royal Ballet, saw Isadora
dance when he was 17; it had a profound impact. He choreographed
Five Brahms Waltzes in the manor of − and in honor of − Isadora Duncan.
Sir Frederick coached Tamara Rojo in this excerpt.


It is the mission of all art
to express the highest and most beautiful ideals of man

~ Isadora Duncan


Let us first teach little children to breathe,
to vibrate, to feel, and to become one
with the general harmony and movement of nature.
Let us first produce a beautiful human being,
a dancing child.

~ Isadora Duncan


Man must speak, then sing, then dance.
The speaking is the brain, the thinking man.
The singing is the emotion. The dancing
is the Dionysian ecstasy which carries away all.

~ Isadora Duncan


My art is just an effort to express
the truth of my being in gesture and movement.
It has taken me long years
to find even one absolutely true movement.

~ Isadora Duncan


No, I can't explain the dance to you;
if I could tell you what it meant,
there would be no point in dancing it.

~ Isadora Duncan


Perhaps he was a bit different from other people,
but what really sympathetic person is not a little mad?

~ Isadora Duncan


The Dance –
it is the rhythm of all that dies in order to live again;
it is the eternal rising of the sun.

~ Isadora Duncan


The dancer of the future will be one
whose body & soul have grown so harmoniously together
that the natural language of the soul
will have become the movement of the body.

~ Isadora Duncan


The dancer's body is simply the luminous manifestation of the soul.
The true dance is an expression of serenity;
it is controlled by the profound rhythm of inner emotion.
Emotion does not reach the moment of frenzy out of a spurt of action;
it broods first, it sleeps like the life in the seed,
and it unfolds with a gentle slowness.
The Greeks understood the continuing beauty of a movement
 that mounted, that spread, that ended with a promise of rebirth.

~ Isadora Duncan



The only dance masters I could have were
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Walt Whitman and Nietzsche.

~ Isadora Duncan


The real American type can never be a ballet dancer.
The legs are too long, the body too supple and the spirit too free
for this school of affected grace and toe walking.

~ Isadora Duncan


There are likewise three kinds of dancers:
first, those who consider dancing as a sort of gymnastic drill,
made up of impersonal and graceful arabesques;
second, those who, by concentrating their minds,
lead the body into the rhythm of a desired emotion,
expressing a remembered feeling or experience. And finally,
there are those who convert the body into a luminous fluidity,
surrendering it to the inspiration of the soul.

~ Isadora Duncan


To dance is to live. What I want is a school of life.

~ Isadora Duncan


To express what is the most moral, healthful and beautiful in art
this is the mission of the dancer, and to this I dedicate my life.

~ Isadora Duncan


When I was sixteen, I danced before an audience without music.
At the end someone suddenly cried 'its Death and the Maiden'.
But that was not my intention; I was only endeavoring to express
my first knowledge of the underlying tragedy
in all seemingly joyous manifestation.
The dance according with my comprehension,
should have been called 'Life and the Maiden'.

~ Isadora Duncan


Isadora [Duncan], by simplifying the dance,
by cutting away all extraneous matters,
such as technical virtuosity for its own sake, and the like,
was able to focus our attention on the meaning of each work
and the grace and appropriateness of the movements
used to express that meaning.

~ Isadora Duncan biographer Frederika Blair


We had never imagined that
what is deepest and most active in the life of the mind
could be expressed by the hands, the fingers,
the soles of the feet − not merely the face.

~ The Russian magazine Iskusstvo, 1905, in reference to Isadora Duncan


Life isn't choreographed.  That's why I fall down a lot.

~ Sacha Duncan


I had certain physical limitations that made me change the choreography
for myself or made me more interested in choreography only rather than dancing.
I have never been a person who wanted to just dance.
I have always been interested in developing for other people.

~ Katherine Dunham


Excerpts from Katherine Dunham works
and a brief overview on her influence on Modern Dance.


If you dance, you dance because you have to.
Every dancer hurts, you know.

~ Katherine Dunham


I can do my dance, and I can feel one thing,
and the audience member can see it and feel another,
and there's nothing wrong...
It gives everybody a lot of room.

~ Douglas Dunn


Art always unites people −
their hearts and nations around the world.

~ Kizlarkhon Dustmuhamedova


When you dance,
your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.
It's to enjoy each step along the way.

~ Wayne Dyer


To everything there is a season... a time to dance...

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


Dancers are the athletes of God.

~ Albert Einstein


Human beings, vegetables or cosmic dust, we all dance
to a mysterious tune intoned in the distance
by an invisible player.

~ Albert Einstein


There is only the dance.

~ T. S. Eliot


After the horse dance was over,
it seemed that I was above the ground
and did not touch it when I walked.

~ Black Elk


North Carolina Cherokee Native Americans perform the Cherokee War Dance
while attending the First Peoples Festival in Montreal, Canada − 2006:


Dancing is very important to people who play music with a beat.
I think that people who don't dance, or who never did dance,
don't really understand the beat... I know musicians who don't
and never did dance, and they have difficulty communicating.

~ Duke Ellington, The World of Duke Ellington


Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving,
the most beautiful of the arts,
because it is not mere translation or abstraction from life;
it is life itself.

~ Henry Havelock Ellis


Lose yourself in the music, the moment − you own it.

~ Eminem


I describe things in terms of body movements.
I dance a bit to describe what sort of movement it ought to make,
and that's a good way of talking to musicians.
Particularly bass players.

~ Brian Eno


Many a maiden,
With white feet dancing light as air,
Made happy music through the gloom.

~ Euripides (The Trojan Women)


To dance, put your hand on your heart
and listen to the sound of your soul.

~ Eugene Louis (Luigi) Faccuito


Dance is so important in the world.
It needs no language.
Our bodies speak a language of its own.

~ Robert (Bobby) Ibrahim Farrah


This point of being a mature artist (is) where realism replaces fantasy,
where hopes never diminish, where the love of art is more passionate than ever.
And yet that which we love has brought us a lot of suffering,
because the life of an artist is often uncompromising at times.
It’s brought us a lot of pain, a lot of angst. And yet no matter what it’s brought,
the love of your craft will overpower it all. (Because when) you see life, you see dance.
You see feeling. We change the meaning of the words of our vocabulary with age.

~ Robert (Bobby) Ibrahim Farrah


You know when you are an artist when you evoke an emotional response –
whether its love or hate.  It's when you evoke no response that you have to worry.

~ Robert (Bobby) Ibrahim Farrah


After I stopped dancing, I was unable to listen to beautiful music.

~ Suzanne Farrell


Although we do come from a silent profession,
it is important for us to verbalize what we want to say.
(As I tell my students): you could love someone all your life,
but if you never say it how are they going to know?
There comes a point when you have to say what you mean,
which makes you scream louder when you dance.

~ Suzanne Farrell



As soon as I hear music, something in me starts to vibrate.

~ Suzanne Farrell


This photo of Kristy Nilsson's Consumed -
performed by Atlanta Ballet Centre Theatre -
ran as an ad in Dance Magazine for two years,
for Atlanta Ballet's Summer Intensive Program.


Dancers are a great breed of people.
And they really want to dance
so you don't have to beg them to work.
However, dancers sometimes build walls around themselves
because they are presenting themselves all the time:
dancing is very much a confession.

~ Suzanne Farrell


Fifth positions, heads, musicality, energy.
Not technical things so much-getting your leg higher or doing more turns
but things that would set you apart from other dancers.
The only way you can be different is to be yourself
If you don't find your spirit and reveal it,
you just look like every other dancer.

~ Suzanne Farrell


Even though I am a professional, and I know what the steps are,
I don't quite know how I'm going to do them,
because I haven't lived that moment yet.
I always feel very insecure and I get very excited.

~ Suzanne Farrell


I think it was important that I learned
to love to dance eventually for its own sake,
as opposed to wanting to be a ballerina.

~ Suzanne Farrell


I was very happy that I was as normal as possible
before I went into serious dance.

~ Suzanne Farrell


It's a wonderful thing to be able to dance,
tell your body what you want it to do.

~ Suzanne Farrell


Plié is the first thing you learn
and the last thing you master.

~ Suzanne Farrell


My friends and I had taken dancing lessons,
although none of us would ever admit it.
In those depression days,
a friend of my mother was trying to make a living
by teaching dancing in the evening,
in an upstairs dance studio.
There was a back door to the place,
and she arranged it so the young men
could come up through the back way without being seen.

~ Richard Feynman


Inspiration is always within reach.
It is life's way of reaching out and inviting you to dance.

~ Flavia


It takes an athlete to dance,
but an artist to be a dancer.

~ Shanna La Fleur


Dame Margot Fonteyn in a 1966 performance of Odette, Swan Lake Act II − age 47.


Dancing was something
to be taken very seriously when engaged in
and otherwise put out of mind.

~ Dame Margot Fonteyn


Genius is another word for magic,
and the whole point of magic
is that it is inexplicable.

~ Dame Margot Fonteyn


Great artists are people who find ways to be themselves in their art.
Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike.

~ Dame Margot Fonteyn


I explained it when I danced it.

~ Dame Margot Fonteyn


Minor things can become moments of great revelation
when encountered for the first time

~ Dame Margot Fonteyn


The one important thing I have learnt over the years
is the difference between taking one's work seriously
and taking oneself seriously.
The first is imperative and the second disastrous.

~ Dame Margot Fonteyn


The mechanics of épaulement are what gives ballet its inner transitions.

~ William Forsythe


I think Balanchine and Robbins talk to God
and when I call, he's out to lunch.

~ Bob Fosse


Bob Fosse, legendary choreographer, writer and director, won
an Emmy for directing Liza with a Z, a Tony for directing Pippin,
and an Academy Award for directing Cabaret − all in 1973.
He remains the only director in history to win the
top three directing awards in one year. Fosse's superb
Rich Man's Frug number, The Aloof, from Sweet Charity:


Human beings are born with the instinct to express themselves
through movement. Even before he could communicate with words,
primitive man was dancing to the beat of his own heart.

~ Bob Fosse


We dance round in a ring and suppose.

~ Robert Frost


All dance has expression. If there is no expression, I prefer the circus.
The performers do more dangerous, more difficult technical things than we do.
But we are dancers. We have to express and we have to project.

~ Luis Fuente


Live a balanced life – learn some and think some, and draw and
paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

~ Robert Fulghum


There are three steps you have to complete
to become a professional dancer: learn to dance, learn to perform
and learn how to cope with injuries.

~ D. Gere


She danced the dance of flames and fire,
and the dance of swords and spears;
she danced the dance of stars and the dance of space,
and then she danced the dance of flowers in the wind.

~ Khalil Gibran, “The Wanderer”


They're not particular about whether you're playing a flatted fifth
 or a ruptured 129th as long as they can dance to it.

~ Dizzy Gillespie


Poise is the finest point of balance it is possible to attain, both mentally and
physically. The various parts of the physique having been adjusted truly
to the centre of gravity, poise lifts the whole being to a point so delicate
that it almost defies definition... Poise, the great law of equilibrium,
is that second in infinity when action ceases and there is rest.

~ Ruby Ginner


The actor should know how to use his body, and have every part of it
 completely under his command, that he may use the whole of himself to
interpret any character in its own rhythm. Conversely the dancer should study
emotion and character in order that his every movement may have meaning.

~ Ruby Ginner


... the ultimate aim of all dance must be to move the whole being
together in harmony. Therefore, having made the body sensitive,
let it be swept by rhythm: the rhythm of music,
by moving to a good swinging simple tune; the rhythm of nature,
 by floating in the sea, and surrendering to the will of the waves; or by
lying on the branches of a tree in the wind to feel its effortless swaying.
In this way the outer and the inner being will be harmonised...

~ Ruby Ginner


To dance without the help of any other art, to express, not
another's thought or rhythm, but the vision of the artist's own spirit,
that is the highest form of dance. The most exquisite expressions
are those when the spirit only makes the song, and the dancer
moves in a beauty of silence akin to the silence of the stars.

~ Ruby Ginner


I believe education in music, theater, dance, and the visual arts...
is part of a well-rounded education and can provide so much joy,
now and in the future.

~ Rudolph Giuliani


Correction does much,
but encouragement does more.
Encouragement after censure
is as the sun after a shower.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution.

~ Emma Goldman


Samuel Goldwyn    What kind of dancing does Martha Graham do?
His Associate    Modern dancing.

Samuel Goldwyn

   I don't want her then;
   modern dancing is so old fashioned.


Birthing my baby boy was the essence of a contact dance.
For me, the key to a satisfying improvisational dance means abandoning
my analytical mind and embracing the center of my intuitive self...
I danced my baby out into this world, and he danced with me.
Now, when we hold each other and move together through our days and nights
I feel the continuation of our original improv on the day he was born.

~ Lisa Gottlieb-Clark


A building – if it's beautiful – is the love of one man,
he's made it out of his love for space, materials, things like that.

~ Martha Graham


A dancer, more than any other human being, dies two deaths:
the first, the physical when the powerfully trained body
will no longer respond as you would wish.
After all, I choreographed for myself.
I never choreographed what I could not do.
I changed steps in Medea and other ballets to accommodate the change.
But I knew. And it haunted me.
I only wanted to dance.

~ Martha Graham


A dancer must listen to his body and pay homage to it.
Behind the movement lies this terrible, driving passion, this necessity.
I won't settle for anything less.

~ Martha Graham


Martha Graham's Flute of Krishna. Eastman Kodak's original
1926 color film, featuring Robert Ross and Evelyn Sabin, is remarkable
both choreographically, and in the color and condition of the print.
Were that the work of Diaghilev's Ballet Russe were so preserved...


Dance is a song of the body.
Either of joy or pain.

~ Martha Graham


Dance is communication, and so the great challenge
is to speak clearly, beautifully, and with inevitability.

~ Martha Graham


Dance is the hidden language of the soul.

~ Martha Graham


Dancers today can do anything; the technique is phenomenal.
The passion and the meaning to their movement can be another thing.

~ Martha Graham


Dancing appears glamorous, easy, delightful.
But the path to paradise of the achievement is not easier than any other.
There is fatigue so great that the body cries, even in its sleep.
There are times of complete frustration, there are daily small deaths.

~ Martha Graham


Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery.

~ Martha Graham


Every dance is kind of a fever chart, a graph of the heart.

~ Martha Graham


Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men.

~ Martha Graham


First we have to believe, and then we believe.

~ Martha Graham


Freedom to a dancer means discipline.
That is what technique is for – liberation.

~ Martha Graham


Great dancers are not great because of their technique,
they are great because of their passion.

~ Martha Graham


I did not want to be a tree, a flower or a wave.
In a dancer's body, we as audience must see ourselves,
not the imitated behavior of everyday actions,
 not the phenomenon of nature, not exotic creatures from another planet,
but something of the miracle that is a human being.

~ Martha Graham


If I can't dance,
I don't care if my dances are ever done again!

~ Martha Graham


It is difficult to see the great dance effects as they happen,
to see them accurately, catch them fast in memory.
It is even more difficult to verbalize them for critical discussion.
The particular essence of a performance, its human sweep
of articulate rhythm in space and in time
has no specific terminology to describe it by.

~ Martha Graham


It's what I always wanted to do:
to show the laughter, the fun – the joy of dance.

~ Martha Graham


It takes ten years, usually, to make a dancer.
It takes ten years of handling the instrument,
handling the material with which you are dealing,
for you to know it completely.

~ Martha Graham


Learn by practice.

~ Martha Graham


Martha Graham, in her mid-to-late 60s, narrates over the Greek Chorus
dance in her work Night Journey − touching on the meaning and significance
of the Contraction, and of acknowledging and using gravity.
Graham appears center in the last few seconds, with Bertram Ross as Oedipus.


Movement never lies:lies:
it is a barometer telling the state of the soul's weather
to all who can read it.

~ Martha Graham


My dancing is not an attempt to interpret life in the literary sense.
It is an affirmation of life through movement.

~ Martha Graham


No artist is ahead of his time. He is time;
the others are just behind the times.

~ Martha Graham


Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
Great dancers are not great because of their technique;
they are great because of their passion.

~ Martha Graham


Nothing is more revealing than movement.

~ Martha Graham


Practice means to perform, over and over again
in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire.
Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.

~ Martha Graham


Some men have thousands of reasons why
they cannot do what they want to,
when all they need is one reason why they can.

~ Martha Graham


The body is a sacred garment.

~ Martha Graham


Theater is a verb before it is a noun...

~ Martha Graham


The next time you look into the mirror,
just look at the way the ears rest next to the head;
look at the way the hairline grows;
think of all the little bones in your wrist.
It is a miracle.
And the dance is a celebration of that miracle.

~ Martha Graham


The spine is the tree of life.  Respect it.

~ Martha Graham


The world I'm interested in is the one where things are not named.

~ Martha Graham


There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening,
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.

~ Martha Graham


Think of the magic of that foot... upon which your whole weight rests.
It’s a miracle and the a celebration of that miracle.

~ Martha Graham


To learn to dance by practicing dancing
or to learn to live by practicing living,
the principles are the same.

~ Martha Graham


To me, this acquirement of nervous, physical, and emotional concentration
is the one element possessed to the highest degree by the truly great dancers
of the world. Its acquirement is the result of discipline,
of energy in the deep sense. That is why there are so few great dancers.

~ Martha Graham


We learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance
by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living,
the principles are the same.
One becomes in some area an athlete of God.

~ Martha Graham


We look at the dance to impart the sensation of living in an affirmation of life,
to energize the spectator into keener awareness of the vigor,
the mystery, the humor, the variety, and the wonder of life.
This is the function of the American dance.

~ Martha Graham


Wherever a dancer stands is holy ground.

~ Martha Graham


You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled,
then something has been lost.

~ Martha Graham


You see, when weaving a blanket,
an Indian woman leaves a flaw in the weaving of that blanket
to let the soul out.

~ Martha Graham


The Martha Graham Company on tour: Jacquelyn Elder's video 'Postcards from the Road'
− a too-brief, artfully-stylish documentary love letter of real life on the dancers' road.
Martha Graham Dance Company


May our dance always be a bridge to understanding.
May our dance always be a celebration of diversity.
May our dance always be an instrument for peace.

~ Laurel Victoria Gray


The Gypsy Dancer appears to be free from the societal constraints.
The Gypsy as the Wild Woman archetype has magical powers,
powers which make her dangerous. She is out-of-control,
or at least beyond the control of the patriarchy. She evokes fear,
especially in the subconscious where the Wild Woman lurks within us all.
We are afraid to let her out because we may loose control.

~ Laurel Victoria Gray


If life is a dance, then friends are the music.

~ Eva Gregory


I just know that when I go on stage, I give everything I have,
not only my legs, not only my feet, not only my body.
I try to tell a story.
Sometimes I'm able to cry because I feel like it.
Sometimes I'm able to love because I feel like it.

~ Sylvie Guillem


Sylvie Guillem rehearses − and talks about − the pas de deux in
William Forsythe's  In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated:


Technical perfection is insufficient.
It is an orphan without the true soul of the dancer.

~ Sylvie Guillem


The more you understand the music, the easier you can dance.

~ Orlando Gutinez


Don't carry a grudge.
While you're carrying the grudge, the other guy's out dancing.

~ Buddy Hackett


I imagine a future where many of us will call ourselves dancers and
collaborate to make an art which concerns itself with primary areas of life...
for me, peace is a communal work process, a collective vision.
The dance itself tries to exemplify a few of these methods
in a truly grounded and practical way so that the people can say:
yes, there are prospects of survival.

~ Anna Halprin


I’m very excited about dance and love it with a deep passion.
I also struggle, tire and become discouraged.
But what has always revived me... has been the rebirth of energy
each time the creative process is awakened and artistic activity
begins to unfold – even in some infinitesimal measure.

~ Anna Halprin


Just as the ancients danced to call upon the spirits in nature,
we too can dance to find the spirits within ourselves
that have been long buried and forgotten.

~ Anna Halprin


It is the process of regularly engaging in meaningful activity [class]
that is truly rewarding to the dancer, not just the school recital
or getting a glowing review in the New York Times.  This intrinsic
enjoyment is based on physical mastery, with little or no separation
between who you are as a person and your ability to perform.

~ Linda H. Hamilton


To me, boxing is like a ballet,
except there's no music, no choreography,
and the dancers hit each other.

~ Jack Handey


Capoeira: boxing − fighting− meets dance in Capoeira, a Brazilian dancing martial art
fought to music. Capoeira was developed by enslaved Africans in the sixteenth century.
This exciting montage is called Capoeira Sul Da Bahai.


Contrary to conventional wisdom, dance is not
a universal “language’ but many languages and dialects.
There are close to 6000 verbal languages,
and probably that many dance languages.

~ Judith Lynne Hanna


The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word.

~ Mata Hari


So many dancers rely on some sort of magic happening on the stage.
They never, for various reasons, work full out in rehearsal. That’s very uncreative.
They don’t discover the kinds of things that add up to a remarkable performance.

~ Benjamin Harkarvy


It is more important who they are as people
and only then is it important who they are as dancers.

~ Marcia Haydée


Someone need not be perfect to be a great dancer –
feeling a soul is more important than what the body can do.

~ Marcia Haydée


Learning to walk set you free.
Learning to dance gives you the greatest freedom of all:
to express with your whole self the person you are.

~ Melissa Hayden



No move is too tricky, no spin too excessive. For my partner.

~ John Hayes


Aren't all ballets sexy? I think they should be.
I can think of nothing more kinky
than a prince chasing a swan around all night.

~ Sir Robert Murray Helpmann


For though man has sorrow and grief in his soul,
at once he forgets his dark thoughts and remembers not his troubles.
Such is the holy gift of Terpsichore.

~ Hesiod, 7th century BC


So you can't dance? Not at all? Not even one step?
How can you say that you've taken any trouble to live
when you won't even dance?

~ Hermann Hesse


I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing.

~ Hillel


He who cannot dance puts the blame on the floor.

~ Hindu proverb


Graham Principal, Stuart Hodes, on Martha Graham in creative flow:

If she felt you were resistant when she was creating,
she'd go at you like a savage animal.

~ Stuart Hodes


Dances without purpose have false starts and stops.

~ Hanya Holm (Johanna Eckert)


The more you are challenged the more strength you gain.
The strength and quiet you have are concentrated during conflict,
and if you overcome the conflict it will buoy you up.

~ Hanya Holm (Johanna Eckert)


Showing off the body or the emotions is tacky.

~ Hanya Holm (Johanna Eckert)


Simplicity is a delight.

~ Hanya Holm (Johanna Eckert)


I grew up with six brothers.
That's how I learned to dance – waiting for the bathroom.

~ Bob Hope


To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.

~ Derrick "Suwaima" Davis, Hopi/Chocktaw Indian


Dance for yourself.
If someone else understands, good.
If not, then no matter –
go right on doing what you love.

~ Louis Horst


Oh, 'tis jesting, dancing, drinking
Spins the heavy world around.

~ A. E. Housman


The Dancer believes that his art has something to say
which cannot be expressed in words or in any other way than by dancing...
There are times when the simple dignity of movement
can fulfill the function of a volume of words.
There are movements which impinge upon the nerves
with a strength that is incomparable,
for movement has power to stir the senses and emotions, unique in itself.
This is the dancer's justification for being,
and his reason for searching further for deeper aspects of his art.

~ Doris Humphrey


Nothing so clearly and inevitably reveals the inner man than movement and gesture.
It is quite possible, if one chooses, to conceal and dissimulate behind words
or paintings or statues or other forms of human expression,
but the moment you move you stand revealed, for good or ill, for what you are.

~ Doris Humphrey


Remember that dance has a dimension beyond the physical.
The body – as imperfect as it always is – is only part of the picture.
Your energy, the quality of your movement, your feeling about the world,
your dance spirit – that is what we see under the lights.

~ Mary Ellen Hunt


The Dancer believes that his art has something to say
which cannot be expressed in words or in any other way than by dancing...
There are times when the simple dignity of movement
can fulfill the function of a volume of words.
There are movements which impinge upon the nerves
with a strength that is incomparable,
for movement has power to stir the senses and emotions, unique in itself.
This is the dancer's justification for being,
and his reason for searching further for deeper aspects of his art.

~ Doris Humphrey


Nothing so clearly and inevitably reveals the inner man than movement and gesture.
It is quite possible, if one chooses, to conceal and dissimulate behind words
or paintings or statues or other forms of human expression,
but the moment you move you stand revealed, for good or ill, for what you are.

~ Doris Humphrey


Remember that dance has a dimension beyond the physical.
The body – as imperfect as it always is – is only part of the picture.
Your energy, the quality of your movement, your feeling about the world,
your dance spirit – that is what we see under the lights.

~ Mary Ellen Hunt


He who makes a mistake is still our friend;
he who adds to or shortens a melody is still our friend;
but he who violates a rhythm unawares can no longer be our friend.

~ Ishaq Ibn Ibrahim (musician: 767-850 AD)


The physical language of the body
is so much more powerful than words.

~ Bill Irwin


Knowledge passes from dance teacher into the student
through the process of mane, which is often translated as imitation,
but learning to dance is more a process of total identification
than of simple copying. We repeat the movements of our teachers
until we can duplicate them exactly, until, in a sense,
we have absorbed the teacher's mastery into ourselves.
Artistic technique must be fully integrated into the cells of our bodies
if we are to use it to express what is in our hearts,
and this takes many years of practice.

~ Mineko Iwasaki, in Geisha, A Life


I love the whole world of dance, because dancing is really the emotions
through bodily movement. And however you feel, you just bring out the
inner feeling through your mood...people don't think about the importance of it.

~ Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson is an extraordinarily talented dancer − exclusive of his status
as a singer, superstar and philanthropist, or his endlessly troubled personal life.
All the more astonishing: he was self-trained; he never studied dance, save
for studying others on stage and television... and practicing. 
These two MJ videos are more mini-theatrical productions than
rock-videos, produced by film directors: Jon Landis, Thriller, and −
Martin Scorsese, Bad, (1987):


My goal in life is to give to the world what I was lucky to receive:
the ecstasy of divine union through my music and my dance.

~ Michael Jackson


Bad and Thriller (1982) rank as the best dance rock-video productions of all time.
The full-length Thriller is 14 minutes; this extract is 9 minutes.
{A 2 minute excerpt of just the longest dance sequence is below.


On the brilliance of James Brown's dancing − and the frustrations of bad camera-work on dancers:cers:

I think James Brown is a genius you know when he's with the Famous Flames, unbelievable.
I used to watch him on television and I used to get angry at the camera-man because whenever
he would really start to dance they would be on a close-up so I couldn't see his feet.
I'd shout "Show him! Show him!", so I could watch and learn.

~ Michael Jackson


A two minute dance excerpt from Michael Jackson and Jon Landis' Thriller video.


People tend to look at dancers like we are
these little jewels, little cardboard cut-outs,
and yet we have blood and guts and go through hell.

~ Susan Jaffe


Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing,
moving at different speeds.
A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.

~ Clive James


Dance is about never-ending aspiration.

~ Judith Jamison


Dance is bigger than the physical body.
Think bigger than that.
When you extend your arm,
it doesn't stop at the end of your fingers,
because you're dancing bigger than that:
you're dancing spirit.

~ Judith Jamison


People come to see beauty,
and I dance to give it to them.

~ Judith Jamison


Dance, like music, is the expression of the human spirit.
Dance is 'visual music'.

~ S. Janaki


All dancing girls are nineteen years old.

~ Japanese proverb


'Tis not enough that ev'ry Stander-by
No glaring Errors in your Steps can 'spy;
The Dance and Music must so nicely meet,
Each Note must seem an Echo to your Feet;
A nameless Grace must in each Movement dwell,
Which words can ne'er express, nor Precepts tell...

~ Soame Jenyns


The trained dancer must not only have grace and elegance,
but also the leap of an Olympic hurdler,
the balance of a tight-rope walker
and panther-like strength and agility.

~ Camilla Jessel


On the plié and rélevé is based the whole structure of the classical ballet.

~ Christian Johansson
Principal teacher at the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg


What we hope ever to do with ease,
we must first learn to do with diligence.

~ Samuel Johnson


The body is a reservoir of all sorts of tensions and dark forces.
And it's also the potential source of amazing energy.
This thing wants to live. It is a powerful engine.
The brain (is) a reservoir of images, dreams, fears, associations, language.
And its potential we can't even begin to understand.
Movement begins to negotiate the distance between the brain and the body
and it can be surprising what we learn about each other.

~ Bill T. Jones


We are part of each other and part of something bigger than our own egos.
An artist should... bring into the world some vision. Dancers should ask,
"What is their work in the service of?"

~ Bill T. Jones


It is one thing to do your dance on a beach
and quite another to collaborate intimately with the sand.

~ Deborah Jowitt


If you want to dance seriously, do.
You must think about it day and night,
dream about it – desire it.

~ Christa Justus


Creative self-expression through dance should not be a territory solely
and defensively occupied by professional dancers; everyone is a dancer!
The pleasure to be found in dancing and a pride in one's own movement
should be the sole criteria –
and not physical achievement and technical perfection.

~ Thomas Kaltenbrunner


Western civilisation tends to couple artistic expression with
accomplishment and productivity. Especially with dance, the criteria
for beauty and worth are technical perfection and virtuosity. But in
order for us to express ourselves we don't need to be the 'perfect'
dancer, on the contrary − it is about the joy of dancing.

~ Thomas Kaltenbrunner


Dance has been, so to speak, democratised: dancing has rid itself of the
aristocratic attitude (professional versus amateur) and from extreme physical demands.
Dance is judged not by its technical perfection but by its ability to communicate,
the tangible bond between performer and audience.

~ Thomas Kaltenbrunner


Your body is the voice that sings what there are no words for,
the instrument that plays the music of your soul.

~ Katisha


Most people think of ballet as children in little tutus.
They don't know it is sweat, blood and tears as well!

~ Nan Keating


One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar.

~ Helen Keller


I'd studied dance in Chicago every summer
and taught it all winter, and I was well-rounded.
I wasn't worried about getting a job on Broadway.
In fact, I got one the first week.

Gene Kelly


Gene: singing.... and dancing... in the rain.
Gene Kelly-Singing In The Rain


I got started dancing because I knew it was one way to meet girls.

~ Gene Kelly


I wanted to invent some kind of American dance that was danced to the music
that I grew up on: Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hart and Irving Berlin.
So I evolved a style that certainly didn't catch on right away –
but I had some good mentors in New York who encouraged me.

~ Gene Kelly


Gene and his all-time favorite partner...
Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly


When Ginger Rogers danced with Astaire,
it was the only time in the movies when you looked at the man, not the woman.

~ Gene Kelly


The incomparable, legendary dance partnership − Fred and Ginger in 1935:


My reverence for improvisational dance comes from those sacred moments in
in which I have felt forces deep within my body and psyche rise up together as partners.
There is a feeling of humility and truth, and it is obvious what is to be done.

~ Keriac


When it comes to the requirements for pleasing an audience,
all the knowledge and instruction and apparatus in the world
is worth less than one ounce of soul.

~ Ottawa Keyes


I danced with passion to spite the music.

~ Gelsey Kirkland


The dance goes on forever. So shall I. So shall we.

~ Gelsey Kirkland


When you are on stage
you are having an affair with three thousand people.

~ Gelsey Kirkland


Gelsey Kirkland, whom Baryshnikov called the greatest ballerina of her generation, as Clara
in Act I of American Ballet Theatre's 1977 television production of Baryshnikov's Nutcracker.


Ballet dancers are a self-chosen elite. To survive and surmount
years of disciplinary preparation and seasons of even more arduous
performance requires rigid determination and almost mindless self-abnegation.
One other factor is difficult to predetermine: without a certain admixture of
hysteria – sometimes masking as self-obsession, sometimes even counterfeiting
incipient madness – performers, at once acrobats, artists, and animals,
make little public impression.

~ Lincoln Kirstein


Dance design is not simply one element;
it is that without which ballet cannot exist.
As aria is to opera, words to poetry, color to painting,
so sequence in steps – their syntax, idiom, vocabulary –
are the stuff of stage dancing.

~ Lincoln Kirstein


If one had to define one essential gift with which a dancer needs to be endowed,
there might be a rush of answers. A beautiful body, grace of line, graciousness
of spirit, joy in the work, ability to please, unswerving integrity, relentless
ambition towards some abstract perfection. Certainly all these factors determine
a dancer’s character, and every element exists in some combination
within the performing artist’s presence.

~ Lincoln Kirstein


A weak first step transmits nothing.

~ Mai Kishikawa, "Shall We Dansu"


Many dances leave me untouched, unmoved.
A dancer should be able to raise an arm and
make someone cry – in the way Isadora Duncan did.
It is a necessity for any art to move you.

~ Pauline Koner


A dance performance is rather like going out into a battlefield.
You have to hold the attention of as many as five to 10,000 people
a lot of whom do not follow your language.

~ Yamini Krishnamurthy


You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it.
That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies,
that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems,
and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.

~ Jiddu Krishnamurti


Every teacher will tell you that you cannot dance classical technique
with perfection, there is no such thing, there is no way. So you
have to adapt the technique to your abilities or to your deficiencies.
Learn to cheat!

~ Jiří Kylián


The dancer, or dancers, must transform the stage for the audience
as well as for themselves into an autonomous, complete, virtual realm,
and all motions into a play of visible forces in unbroken, virtual time...
Both space and time, as perceptible factors,
disappear almost entirely in the dance illusion.

~ Susanne K. Langer


We ought to dance with rapture that we might be alive...
and part of the living, incarnate cosmos.

~ D. H. Lawrence


They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.

~ Edward Lear


Dancing is the coordination, the musicality, all of that combined
into one feeling. It's not about a pirouette. The people
who don't know ballet, who are there that night maybe
for the first time aren't going to know 2 pirouettes from 3 pirouettes.
They're going to be left with an impression and that impression,
hopefully, is of movement and of dance – of a soul feeling the music.

~ Tina LeBlanc


Never trust spiritual leader who cannot dance.

~ Mark Lee, screenwriter as Mr. Miyagi, "The Next Karate Kid"


Scientists are complaining that the new dinosaur movie
shows dinosaurs with lemurs, who didn't evolve for another million years.
They're afraid the movie will give kids a mistaken impression.
What about the fact that the dinosaurs are singing and dancing?

~  Jay Leno


When doctrines divide and "isms" turn human against human, without speech,
without silence, let us demonstrate. Let these demonstrations manifest everywhere.
Not what we think or say but what we do shall avail – on with the dance.

~ Samuel L. Lewis


When one lifts a ballerina,
it is not her weight but her nature that causes the problem.

~ Maris Liepa


Dancers aren’t pompous; they’re too tired.

~ José Limón


Thousands of emotions well up inside me through out the day.
They are released when I dance.

~ Abraham Lincoln


To dance is to challenge the body which is also the self.
To generate an action which has a force of its own
and allow the movement to penetrate the inner sensibilities,
or to calculate the action and try to tune out –
this is difficult, perhaps impossible.

~ Katherine Litz


Football isn't a contact sport; it's a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport.

~ Vince Lombardi


The arts are an even better barometer of what is happening
in our world than the stock market or the debates in congress.

~ Hendrik Willem Van Loon


Let go of her like the heart is being ripped from your chest.

~ Jennifer Lopez in "Shall We Dance"


The teacher doesn't teach, not really. The teacher offers stimulation
and ways in which the person can educate himself or herself.
At best the teacher wakes up that person and makes a person hungry.

~ Murray Louis


Dancers work and live from the inside.
They drive themselves constantly producing a glow
that lights not only themselves but audience after audience.

~ Murray Louis


Dancing is as old as love.

~ Lucian


The lips are closed, for the dancer has plenty of other voices at his service.

~ Lucian


Fred Astaire's great achievement was that instead of saying it he danced it –
the main emotional moments [in his films] would be told through dance.

~ Baz Luhrman, Director − Strictly Ballroom


Filmed in one shot, and considered by many the best tap dance sequence ever filmed:
Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell, in 1940. Brief narration by Frank Sinatra.
The Good Old Days


Striving for a connection with the audience is essential
because you are in the moment it is a give and take relationship.
Catching someone's eye during a performance makes it more special.

~ Aubrey Lynch


To touch, to move, to inspire.
This is the true gift of dance.

~ Aubrey Lynch


Dance is an art that imprints on the soul.
 It is with you every moment,
it expresses itself in everything you do.

~ Shirley MacLaine


When come the lights shining on you from above. You are a performer.
You forget all you learned, the process of technique, the fear, the pain,
you even forget who you are you become one with the music,
the lights, indeed one with the dance.

~ Shirley MacLaine


Dancers are an admirable bunch of people.
The way they work. The stress is extraordinary.
It's a difficult career. I think it's hellish;
the fact that they are over the hill as they're emotionally maturing.
That calls for a terrific strength of character.

~ Lady D. MacMillan


Dance has to unfold with the grace of a tree
giving out leaves, flowers and then tiny fruit.
Nothing so beautiful can be done in haste.

~ Pt. Birju Maharaj


Always the question for dancers is: Can we fly?

~ Jean-Christophe Maillot


Whoever finds that they're not prepared to give their all
should draw the inescapable conclusion from that and stop.

~ Jean-Christophe Maillot


Even the ears must dance.

~ Natalya Makarova


Versatile American Ballet Theatre star Natalya Makarova, perhaps the definitive
Odile/Odette for Swan Lake, won a Tony Award for her Slaughter On 10th Avenue
performance in the 1983 Broadway revival of Rodger's & Hart's On Your Toes.


The expression should come from within oneself, conveying the spiritual –
something between earth and heaven.
And if one runs, one should not seem to touch the ground.

~ Natalya Makarova


When you are dancing with your partner, for that two and a half minutes,
you are in love with each other. You're corresponding with each other
by the moves that you make. It's a love affair, between you and your partner
and the music. You feel the music, you feel your partner, she feels you and
she feels the music. So there the three of you are together.
You've got a triangle, you know. Which one do you love best?

~ Frankie Manning


Poetry is like dancing.
Not all of us can be ballet dancers, but all of us dance.
Everyone has a poet inside of him struggling to get out.

~ Marks and Spencer


Glorious bouquets and storms of applause
are the trimmings which every artist naturally enjoys.
but to move an audience in such a role,
to hear in the applause that unmistakable note
which breaks through good theatre manners and comes from the heart,
is to feel that you have won through to life itself.
Such pleasure does not vanish with the fall of the curtain,
but becomes part of one's own life.

~ Dame Alice Markova


Dancing should look easy; like an optical illusion.
It should seem effortless. When you do a difficult variation,
the audience is aware that it is demanding and that you have
the power and strength to do it. But in the end,
when you take your bow, you should look as if
you were saying, ‘Oh, it was nothing. I could do it again.’

~ Bruce Marks


The dance exists exclusively in terms of the movement of the body,
not only in the obvious sense that the dancer moves,
but also in the less apparent sense that
its response in the spectator is likewise a matter of body movement.

~ John Martin


Wives are people who feel they don't dance enough.

~ Groucho Marx


The ballet.
I saw in the fugitive beauty of a dancer's gesture a symbol of life.
It was achieved at the cost of unending effort but,
with all the forces of gravity against it, a fleeting poise in mid-air,
a lovely attitude worthy to be made immortal in a bas-relief,
it was lost as soon as it was gained and there remained
no more than the memory of an exquisite emotion.
So life, lived variously and largely, becomes a work of art only
when brought to its beautiful conclusion and is reduced to nothingness
in the moment when it arrives at perfection.

~ W. Somerset Maugham


Gypsy dance is never just to be dancing. Instead it seems to be a part of an immense
and significant non-verbal vocabulary of Gypsy communication and behavior.
It is at the heart of an essential transformation, a transcended state, an escape
from the realities of their daily lives to a more satisfying state of mind.

~ Kate McGowen


I started Ballet at a very young age and I was captivated
immediately. It became my voice, means to overcome those
final barriers to expressing myself. Letting myself fly free.
The more experience I have, the more I get to know myself.

~ Amanda McKerrow


Prayer does not use up artificial energy,
doesn't burn up any fossil fuel, doesn't pollute.
Neither does song, neither does love,
neither does the dance.

~ Margaret Mead


The Marquesan girls dance all over;
not only do their feet dance,
but their arms, hands, fingers, ay,
their very eyes seem to dance in their heads.

~ Herman Melville


Technique – bodily control – must be mastered
only because the body must not stand in the way of the soul's expression.

~ La Meri


We have come to consider the word technique applicable
only to movements that are so showy as to approach acrobatics...

~ La Meri


Ballet: it's to be there and to experience every day,
every minute, the ballets, the performances, growing-up,
getting older, getting better. It's my world!

~ Monique Meunier


If you dance with your heart your body will follow.

~ Mia Michaels


Bleeding feet will bond us.

~ Liza Minnelli


Liza at 26, performs Bob Fosse's choreography for Cabaret's Mein Herr.


He [Gene Kelly] once told me dancing was a man's game,
as much of a sport as baseball itself. And he made us believe that.
He changed our minds and suddenly,
all of America wanted to dance just like Gene Kelly.

~ Liza Minnelli


Come & trip it as ye go
On the light fantastic toe.

~ John Milton


Dancing is a way to meet people –
you don't have to speak a word of their language –
you communicate with your bodies.

~ Pimpa Mingkwan


Once you begin improvising, allow your body
to go with the flow of energy that comes forth.
Dance is a nonverbal experience,
and excessive thinking blocks the body's energy flow.

~ Sandra Cerny Minton


All the ills of mankind,
All the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books,
All the political blunders,
All the failures of the great leaders,
Have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing.

~ Molière or Jean Baptiste Poquelin; from a play


Those who danced were thought to be quite insane
by those who could not hear the music.

~ Angela Monet


There is nothing more notable in Socrates
than that he found time, when he was an old man,
to learn music and dancing,
and thought it time well spent.

~ Michel de Montaigne


Life's a dance you learn as you go.

~ John Michael Montgomery


The dance, more than any other art,
lives through the genius of its interpreters.

~ Lillian Moore


If you hear a different drummer – dreamer, take a chance...
The road you choose to travel means the difference in the dance.

~ Daniel Morgan


Ballet class is like Life Lessons 101.
 You learn some of life's most important lessons here
that you will carry with you forever.

~ Joanne H. Morscher


Do not deny yourself the opportunity for a spontaneous exchange
between the musician and yourself. Let the music come inside of you
and dance that music. It is this most intimate musical self and your most
intimate dancing self. Feel the music. Fill yourself with it...
This is the art of takseem.

~ Artemis Mourat


Hold your hands out gently. Ask others to do the same. See how different
each person looks. Each person has their own unique and natural beauty.
Use this natural beauty when you dance. Respect your individuality.

~ Artemis Mourat


People in the audience, when they've watched the dance,
should feel like they've accomplished something,
that they've gone on a journey.

 ~ Paul Mercurio


I'm not interested in a group of people with some sort of
incredible homogeny, a group that can do the movement I want.
I'm interested in people who can take the movement somewhere.

~ Graeme Murphy


It's the emotional trigger points that are important to me
because I know if I could believe in the characters and try and imagine
how they felt then I'd be able to do something quite honest.

~ Graeme Murphy


Some are less giving, others are more reticent
and you actually have to create for them.
Others have within them the next step.

~ Graeme Murphy


Dance is about movement and can be an art,
but it's also about communication
– with yourself, as much as with other people.

~ Jan Murray


Without dance I cannot feel my soul,
hear my heart, or see my dreams.

~ Nahara


Dance in the Middle East celebrates war and peace, birth and other passages
of life; affirms the solidarity of the family, the tribe, the people; even effects
oneness with God, or the All in the Muslim dhikr and hadra ceremonies.
The line between spectator and participant often disappears; dancers,
musicians and audience are interchangeable when the call of the blood
breaks down social barriers. In the ancient Middle East, and among the Arabs
before Islam, the blood was the life, and the blood has it's rhythm, and the quam –
'The People', the Arab Tribe – dances the dahiyya to the rhythm of the blood.

~ Edwina Nearing


We were tap-dancers but we put more style into it,
more bodywork, instead of just footwork.

~ Harold Nicholas


A fabulous tap dancing tribute to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson featuring
Sammy Davis, Jr. and Gregory Hines, excerpted from the 2001 film Bojangles.


Dance is the medium that ties together modern cultures
with those that are fading, and a form that appeals
to both the wealthy and the poor.

~ Madeline Nichols


At present I am light, now I fly,
now I see myself below me,
now a god dances through me.

{A présent je suis léger, à présent je vole,
à présent je me vois moi-même au-dessous de moi,
à présent un dieu danse à travers moi.

~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education:
dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add
that one must also be able to dance with the pen?

~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


I would not know what the spirit of a philosopher
might more wish to be than a good dancer.
For the dance is his ideal, also his fine art;
finally also the only kind of piety he knows, his divine service.

~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


I should not believe
in a God who does not dance.

~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane
by those who could not hear the music.

~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
(also attributed to Angela Monet and George Carlin)


We should consider every day lost
during which we have not danced at least once.

~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


The Faun is Me.

~ Vaslav Nijinsky
Wacław Fomich Niżyński
Вацлав Фомич Нижинский


Hommage to Vaslav Nijinsky, with brief excerpts from
Le Spectre de la Rose, Jeux, Scheherazade (as the Golden
), Le Sacre du Printemps {The Rite of Spring}, Petrushka
and L'après-midi d'un faune {Afternoon of a Faun}.


I have come to the conclusion that it is better to be silent than to speak.

~ Vaslav Nijinsky


A cat is never a presentation, but an innocent happening.

~ Alwin Nikolais


Basic dance – and I should qualify the word basic – is primarily concerned with motion.
So immediately you will say but the basketball player is concerned with motion.
That is so – but he is not concerned with it primarily. His action is a means
towards an end beyond motion. In basic dance the motion is its own end – that is,
it is concerned with nothing beyond itself.

~ Alwin Nikolais


Dance is advanced body language.

~ Kristy Nilsson © 1995


Dance is fluent body language.

~ Kristy Nilsson © 2007


Dancing is the world's favorite metaphor.

~ Kristy Nilsson © 1999



Eddie Uehara created two, short inspirational Dance Quotes videos,
and chose two of Kristy's quotes. MTV's DanceLife requested
permission to use Eddie's video. Eddie Uehara's Dance Quote:

Eddie's newest short video, Dance is Life,
is further down the page... and quietly wonderful.


Dance is the world's most famous metaphor.

~ Kristy Nilsson © 1999


Dance – no translation needed.

~ Kristy Nilsson © 1999


It is not the movements
that make a dance beautiful,
it is the emotions that inspired the movements
that make it beautiful.

Kristy Nilsson © 1999


Musicality is when the dancers' movements
appear to create the music –
and not the other way around.

~ Kristy Nilsson © 2002


The easiest part should be the best part;
don't ignore the little steps.

~ Kristy Nilsson © 2006


Dance is the poetic baring of the soul through motion.

~ Scott Nilsson © 2001


Life is better with a little drama in it.

~ Scott Nilsson © 2000


Turn-out: Verb or Noun?

~ Antony Noa


I will make an average man into an average dancer, provided he be passably
well made. I will teach him how to move his arms and legs, to turn his head.
I will give him steadiness, brilliancy and speed;
but I cannot endow him with that fire and intelligence,
those graces and that expression of feeling which is the soul of true pantomime.

~ Jean Georges Noverre


When the music and dance create with accord...
their magic captivates both the heart and the mind.

~ Jean Georges Noverre


A pas de deux is a dialogue of love.
How can there be conversation if one partner is dumb?

~ Rudolf Nureyev
Rudolf Xämät ulı Nuriev
Рудольф Хаметович Нуриев


Rudolf Nureyev (also Nuriev and Noureev), widely held as one of the
three greatest male ballet dancers of the 20th Century − along with
Baryishnikov and Vaslav Nijinsky, appearing on The Muppet Show for a
pas de deux with Miss Piggy (actually Royal Ballet Soloist Graham Fletcher).


Each time I try to go into society, it doesn't work. It's artificial,
I will do it as a performance and get out as fast as I can. I don't fit.

~ Rudolf Nureyev


My feet are dogs.

~ Rudolf Nureyev


Technique is what you fall back on when you run out of inspiration.

~ Rudolf Nureyev


When I miss class for one day, I know it.
 When I miss class for two days, my teacher knows it.
When I miss class for three days, the audience knows it.

~ Rudolf Nureyev


We danced with one body, one soul...  For me,
Margot is my family. She is all I have, only her.

~ Rudolf Nureyev on his partnership with Dame Margot Fonteyn


Nureyev's Romeo to Fonteyn's Juliet − revealing the exuberance of their partnership.


Birds use their wings to fly,
because they do not know how to dance.

~ Zeynep Okcu


If somebody asks, "What is a dance?" how can you define it?
But you can dance and you can know the inner feel of it.

~ Osho


When movement becomes ecstatic, then this is dance.
When the movement is so total there is no ego, then it is dance.

~ Osho


It is a temptation to exploit one's technique
because an audience is easily reached this way,
but they cannot be moved by technique alone
and to move an audience is the role of dance as an art.

~ Alla Ossipenko


All great stars are competitive. That's a sign of a true artist –
if you don't have the fire of competition deep down inside,
you're never going to achieve anything.
You have to want to be king of the heap.

~ Camille Paglia


My experience with dancers has been very peculiar.
They generally like a studio photo shoot before their actual performances.
I sometimes wonder how they are more careful about their costumes during the shoot.
It is interesting to see them adjust to their surroundings to get the best shots,
they would get restless, put music on to give the best poses.
The same evening you see them so involved in their art form,
oblivious of costumes and makeup.

~ Avinash Pascricha, photographer



Learning ballet is wonderful for children
even if they never become dancers.
It is wonderful because it teaches
discipline, grace, and manners.

~ Anna Paskevska



To dance is to give oneself up to the rhythms of all life.

~ Dr. Maya V. Patel


Classical ballet is so unforgiving.

~ Francis Patrellel


To dance, above all, is to enter into the motions of life.
It is an action, a movement, a process.
The dance of life is not so much a metaphor as a fact;
to dance is to know oneself alone and to celebrate it.

~ Sherman Paul


After I perform, I hope the audience is excited, inspired,
and taken away from their everyday grind or work.
Perhaps even inspired enough to get up and dance themselves.

~ Lenore Pavlakos


I danced from the moment I could stand.

~ Anna Pavlova
Anna Pavlovna Pavlova
Анна Павловна Павлова


Master technique
and then forget about it and be natural.

~ Anna Pavlova


No one can arrive from being talented alone.
God gives talent; work transforms talent into genius.

~ Anna Pavlova


Where there is no heart
there is no art.

~ Anna Pavlova


If I can not dance, I shall die!

~ Anna Pavlova


Anna Pavlova died from pneumonia on tour at near 50:
"the night after she died her company performed and at the end
of the show they played the Dying Swan with the spotlight
floating across the empty stage where Pavlova would have danced."
Her signature performance of Mikhail Fokine's Dying Swan in 1907:


Anna Pavlova was looking at her swan costume as she was dying.
Her final words:

Get my swan costume ready.

~ Anna Pavlova


Hence it is from the representation of things spoken
by means of posture and gesture
that the whole of the art of dance has been elaborated.

~ Plato


The Dance, of all the arts, is the one that most influences the soul.
Dancing is divine in its nature and is the gift of God.

~ Plato


...the instinctive desire to explain words by gestures of the entire body.

~ Plato (concerning dancing)


To sing well and to dance
is to be well educated.

~ Plato


Maya Plisetskaya to Gennady Smakov regarding KGB persecution she
suffered while Prima Ballerina Assoluta at the Bolshoi Ballet.

The only weapon I had was my dancing.
With that I fought like a general without an army.
If I could have saved all the energy I wasted on my struggle
it would have sufficed me to cover a dozen ballets.

~ Maya Plisetskaya
Maya Mikhailovna Plisetskaya
Майя Михайловна Плисецкая

Above, Maya Plisetskaya performed a tribute to Isadora Duncan
at age 70, dancing − and appearing − decades younger.
Maya Plisetskaya in Act III of Sleeping Beauty.


A poor dancer will be disturbed
even by the hem of her skirt.

~ Polish Proverb


And men must walk at least before they dance.

~ Alexander Pope


True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learned to dance.

~ Alexander Pope


Music begins to atrophy when it departs
too far from the dance.

~ Ezra Pound


Dancing serves no necessary use, no profitable, laudable, or pious end at all.
It is only from the inbred pravity, vanity, wantonness, incontinency,
pride, profaneness, or madness of man's depraved nature.

~ Puritan William Prynne


The way to heaven is too steep, too narrow for men to dance in
and keep revel rout. No way is large or smooth enough for
capering rousters, for jumping, skipping, dancing dames
but that broad, beaten, pleasant road that leads to hell.
The gate of heaven is too narrow for whole rounds,
whole troops of dancers to march in together.

~ Puritan William Prynne


Dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt.
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.

~ William W. Purkey

Purkey later added an additional final line:

And speak from the heart to be heard.

Frequently misattributed - notably to Mark Twain - and misquoted as,
"Dance like no one is watching," and "Dance like nobody's watching" -
Purkey's poem was incorporated in lyrics of Come From The Heart
by Susannah Clark and Richard Leigh.


Ballet is a dance executed by the human soul.

~ Alexander Pushkin


Dance, like music and other arts,
helps us rise above the beast in ourselves.

~ Sudharani Raghupathy


Forget the dancer, the center of the ego.
Become the dance.
Then the dancer disappears and only the dance remains.
Then the dancer is the dance.
There is no dancer separate from dance,
no dance separate from the dancer.

~ Acharya Rajneesh


My long association with classical dance forms makes it difficult
for me to change and accept radical transformations.
On further thought, I feel change is inevitable and dance is no exception.
Modernity need not be viewed as a thing to be confronted.
Many a time certain aspects of modernity have helped regeneration.
Hence, the introduction of new conceptualisation and innovative techniques
are necessary for dance to grow. However not at the cost of tradition.
Branching off or grafting need not necessarily involve uprooting the tree.
... the introduction of new forms need not be a cause for concern.
I believe that ultimately it is the core values that enable art forms to survive.

~ Leela Ramanathan


Listen to the music.

~ Hossam Ramzy


I knew I was completely missing out many things
but I also knew that was the price I had to pay for what
would truly make me happy, so it was not a painful sacrifice.
But I was very conscious of what I was missing.
I accepted that and took joy in it.

~ Anthony Randazzo


Sometimes I gave conflicting emotions
because it's been going on for so long now,
but then I see somebody dancing real well
and it just comes back like an old love.
The flame ignites again.

~ Ann Reinking


Ann Reinking performs There Will Be Some Changes Made from All That Jazz,
from the fancifully theatrical 1979 film-bio of Broadway legend Bob Fosse.


There is a general decline of taste for classical dance,ce,
which is neglected and this must be developed from the grassroots.
There is so much of razzle-dazzle... that classical dance suffers.

~ Kanak Rele


All the gestures of children are graceful;
the reign of distortion and unnatural attitudes
commences with the introduction of the dancing master.

~ Sir Joshua Reynolds


My hope remains to shed light, provoke thought, entertain, and move through dance.

~ Dwight Rhoden


The gymnasium of running, walking on stilts, climbing, etc.
stells and makes hardy single powers and muscles,
but dancing, like a corporeal poesy,
embellishes, exercises, and equalizes all the muscles at once.

~ Jean Paul Richter
("Stell": to place firmly in position.)


You get obsessed by dancing there seems to be no choice.
Sometimes you are miserable, sometimes you are floating in elation.
But you can't leave it alone until the passion is spun out.
If you are lucky you try not to hate it when you leave.

~ Lisa Rinehart


I remember looking around in company class
and seeing all the faces I would later watch twice a week onstage
and realizing that they were normal people and had to take ballet class too!
It was definitely a big adjustment being at the theater 10 to 12 hours a day.

~ Jennifer Ringer


Dance, in its broadest sense, is a physical acknowledgment
of the rhythm of the universe and of our own lives.

~ Carol Roan


 You danced!

   (pointing to the dancers)

 And you didn't!

   (pointing to the audience)

~ Mario Robau


Dance is like life, it exists as you're flitting through it,
and when it's over, it's done.

~ Jerome Robbins


From the 43rd Annual Tony Awards in 1989: excerpt from the new Tony-award
winning show Jerome Robbins BroadwayWest Side Story's Dance at the Gym:


I told you to sell it, not give it away.

~ Jerome Robbins


Either you do the pirouette or you shoot yourself.
One or the other, but something must happen.

~ Monet Robier


Everyday there must be something I can't do,
otherwise it's boring.

~ Monet Robier


It's the easiest things that cause the most problems.

~ Monet Robier


Dancing's just a conversation between two people.
Talk to me.

~ Steven Rogers, "Hope Floats"


The people who do not dance are dead.

~ Jerry Rose of Dance Caravan


Graham Principal, Bertram Ross, on seeing Martha Graham dance the first time:

It was the greatest revelation of my life.
I couldn't believe that the human body was capable of making visible
all those feelings you had inside you and couldn't put into words.

~ Bertram Ross


Dance is movement, is action, and like all action,
it reveals us to ourselves in the doing.

~ Gabrielle Roth


It's beautiful to dance alone,
beautiful to dance with your children,
beautiful to dance with your friends,
beautiful to dance with your lover,
or even collectively.
But the ultimate dance
is the one we do by ourselves,
when we make ourselves known to God.

~ Gabrielle Roth


The self is a dance, constantly in motion.

~ Gabrielle Roth


When we give ourselves over completely
to the spirit of the dance, it becomes a prayer.

~ Gabrielle Roth


I was a ballerina.
I had to quit after I injured a groin muscle.
It wasn't mine.

~ Rita Rudner


In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.

~ Rumi


Whosoever knoweth the power of the dance, dwelleth in God.

~ Rumi


The dance is the mother of the arts.
Music and poetry exist in time;
painting and architecture in space.
But the dance lives at once in time and space.

~ Curt Sachs


A solid, confident and well-founded sense of self worth
is one of the most attractive features a woman can have.
It is completely independent of physical form,
and dance is one of many avenues to developing that.

~ Aziza Sa'id


But in reality we are accompanied by the whole dancing universe.

~ Ruth St. Denis


I have performed for thousands
when they found me exotic, the vogue, daring,
but I have danced, at any given time, for about ten people...
They were the ones that left the theater forever different
from the way they were when they came in.
All of my long, long life, I have danced for those ten.

~ Ruth St. Denis


I see dance being used as communication
between body and soul,
to express what it too deep, too fine for words.

~ Ruth St. Denis


It is not a question of who dances
but of who or what does not dance.

~ Ruth St. Denis


It is this mission of the dancer
to contribute to the betterment of all mankind.

~ Ruth St. Denis


It was then that my religious consciousness emerged
to flower years afterward into definite forms of religious dancing
in which there is no sense of division between spirit and flesh, religion and art.

~ Ruth St. Denis


The Gods have meant
That I should dance
And in some mystic hour
I shall move to unheard rhythms
Of the cosmic orchestra of heaven
And you will know the language
Of my wordless poems
And will come to me
For that is why I dance.

~ Ruth St. Denis


Ruth St. Denis − teacher of and profound influence on
Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey and Charles Wiedman;
from a National Museum of Dance project celebrating her legacy.


The real message of the Dance opens up the vistas of life
to all who have the urge to express beauty
with no other instrument than their own bodies,
with no apparatus and no dependence on anything other than space.

~ Ruth St. Denis


We should realize in a vivid and revolutionary sense
that we are not in our bodies but our bodies are in us.

~ Ruth St. Denis


When you are fifty, you're neither young nor old;
you're just uninteresting. When you are sixty, and still dancing,
you become something of a curiosity. And boy! if you hit seventy,
and can still get a foot off the ground, you're phenomenal!

~ Ruth St. Denis


You and I are but specks of that rhythmic urge
which is Brahma, which is Allah, which is God.

~ Ruth St. Denis


Talk about dance?
Dance is not something to talk about.
Dance is to dance.

~ Peter Saint James


A teacher must possess many qualities –
firmness and softness, patience and perseverance and sturdiness...
But above all is love for children,
desire to train them up, all of them, both week and strong.
And, creativity in one's approach to one's task is also above all...

~ Lyudmila Sakharova


Dancing up the full moon
Round some fair new altar
Trample the soft blossoms of fine grass.

~ Sappho


The real self of an artiste lies in art, so when an artiste performs,
all the pain, trauma and tension get released through art,
be it dancing, painting, singing, writing or even martial arts.

~ Mrinalini Sarabhai


There is no other knowledge, no other learning, no other art...
that is not found in dance.

~ Natya Sastra


Dance, like music, knows no geographical boundaries,
no linguistic barriers and no racial divisions.
All walls crumble where art is concerned.
It is a great unifying and integrating force.

~ Vempatti Chinna Satyam


To those of us with real understanding,
dancing is the only pure art form.

~ Charles Schulz as Snoopy, Peanuts


Snoopy dances to Woodstock's whistling in Snoopy Come Home, 1972:


To live is to dance, to dance is to live.

~ Charles Schulz as Snoopy, Peanuts


Art is something vital.
It may be beautiful or even hideous,
but it must be deep and strong in its expression.
Art is not, and should not be mechanical.
It must always be alive.

~ Igor Schwezoff


There are two basic elements to classical ballet. They are quality
and quantity. Quantity is how much a dancer can physically do…
the element that gives an artist the freedom to concentrate on quality,
while quality is how he or she does it…quality of movement…
the most difficult phase… requires long and arduous training.

~ Igor Schwezoff


To dance is to share – to share is to teach.

~ Selayma


There was never a merry world since the fairies left off dancing.

~ John Selden


Maya (was) able to absorb within a month
what some other dancers cannot do in a decade.

~ Marina Semyonova on Maya Plisetskaya


It is difficult to produce a television documentary
that is both incisive and probing
when every twelve minutes one is interrupted
by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.

~ Rod Serling


Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion.
You must set yourself on fire.

~ Fred Sero


He capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth,
he writes verses, he speaks holiday, he smells April and May.

~ William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor


She is your treasure, she must have a husband;
I must dance barefoot on her wedding day ...

~ William Shakespeare, Taming of the Shrew


A star danced, and under that was I born.

~ William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing



When you do dance,
I wish you a wave o' the sea,
that you might ever do.

~ William Shakespeare, Winter's Tale


Wooing, wedding, and repenting,
is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace:
the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig,
and full as fantastical;
the wedding, mannerly modest as a measure,
full of state and ancientry;
and then comes repentance, and with his bad legs,
falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster,
till he sink into his grave.

~ William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing


All the world is a stage... and life is the dance there performed.

~ Half Shakespeare & half anonymous


Just like it is rare to get a good guru,
it is equally rare for gurus to get a good disciple.
Every performer is not an able guru and vice-versa.
Not everyone has the kind of patience required for teaching.

~ Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma


Dance communicates man’s deepest, highest and
most truly spiritual thoughts and emotions
far better than words, spoken or written.

~ Ted Shawn



Dance is the only art
of which we ourselves
are the stuff of which it is made.

~ Ted Shawn


Education in the art of dance is education of the whole man −
his physical, mental and emotional natures
are disciplined and nourished simultaneously in dance.

~ Ted Shawn



I wanted to see if the American man in plain brown pants
and a bare torso could speak profound things.

~ Ted Shawn


Man has used human rhythmic movement
as raw material out of which to create works of art,
as the composer of music uses sound,
the sculptor uses stone and wood,
the painter his pigments, and the writer – words.

~ Ted Shawn


Dancing is more than rhythmically performing a series
of grouped or patterned movements. That is exercise.
Dancing is artistic self-expression and good dancing
is a synergism between the dancer and the music.
Great dancing creates a synergy
between the dancer, the music and the audience!

~ Shibar


A choreographic idea flows only as fast as the initiator
can communicate it to bodies and see them realize it.

~ Marcia B. Siegal


Classical language and musicality are not
simply effete traditions belonging to the bygone upper classes.
The vocabulary and manner of classical ballet
express a high order of discipline and restraint,
a sense of harmony with forces larger and more lasting
than the individual.

~ Marsha B. Siegel


What is modern about modern dance is its resistance to the past,
its response to the present, its constant redefining if the idea of dance.

~ Marsha B. Siegel


About Fred Astaire:

He is a model for transforming the entire body into a Jazz instrument.
He seems to understand that Jazz rhythm has a better chance
of impacting the viewer when expressed through several parts of the body at once,
not just the feet... like a drummer, he plays these gestures against the space,
as if the air were stacked with drum heads
and his chief concern was to zing them with sharpshooter precision.

~ Billy Siegenfeld


The last two clips of Fred Astaire − this time with his favorite partner, Rita Hayworth.
The first clip features just Fred and Rita:
Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth

This second clip features an enormous sound stage full of show dancers.
More Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth


Draw a crazy picture
Write a nutty poem
Sing a mumble-gumble song
Whistle through your comb
Do a loony-goony dance
'Cross the kitchen floor
Put something silly in the world
That ain't been there before.

~ Shel Silverstein


Dancing is silent poetry.
{La danse est une poésie muette.}

~ Simonides


Whoever would have his body supple, easy and healthful
should learn to dance.

~ Socrates (Xenophon)


The way people move
is their autobiography in motion.

~ Gerry Spence


Be responsible, a good communicator, a good team player,
while pursuing individual dreams, and understanding the pitfalls
of being a perfectionist – a common characteristic
among ballet staff and students around the world.

~ Mavis Staines


Igor Stravinsky yelling at Vaslav Nijinsky:

    There is no 27 in my music!

Nijinsky's response:

    Dancers and musicians have always counted music differently.


Dance is the essence of mystery.
Through dance we experience a dimension that the linear mind is not structured to perceive.
It may have been dance that enabled us to first conceive of existences beyond
our immediate physical experience, thereby creating the concept of spirituality, of 'God'.

~ Iris Stewart, "Sacred Woman Sacred Dance"


For all those who are interested in the spiritual, emotional,
intellectual, esthetic, historical or any other aspects of our dance art...
It is high time that our universities had faculties for dance,
giving the art its due place in the academic world.

~ Padma Subrahmanyam


But oh, she dances such a way!
 No sun upon an Easter-day
 Is half so fine a sight

~ Sir John Suckling


Man must create – or destroy.

~ David Suggs


Listen to the silence as it echoes around you.
Ancient spirits dance to it.

~ Amber Coverdale Sumrall


Dance is the pure language of the soul –
it's been with us from the very beginning.

~ Patrick Swayze


Eddie Uehara's Dance is Life - a tribute to the solitary dedication of the dancer,
recalling Twyla Tharp's words in The Creative Habit:
"I begin each day of my life with a ritual."  A morning from the dancer's ritual:

Thank you, Eddie. I'm sure this touches home for a lot of us...


... a person who can connect with their partner, another human being
who can connect with their soul − it's not just learning steps,
it's about expressing something. I've found in dancing all my life
that I can release something as a dancer that I can't in any other way...

~ Patrick Swayze


A poetic critical review of Maria Taglioni from 1838:
Her dance is an Acted Poem, sparkling with images...
She achieves the office of wings, without their incumbrance (sic).
Her sweetness and gentleness have a wooing tone, which breathes from her
with no more external appearance than the aroma from flowers.

~ The Monthly Chronicle, excerpted from
The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction, Vol. 32 − 1838


Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time
like dew on the tip of a leaf.

~ Rabindranath Tagore


I don't mind being listed alphabetically.
I do mind being treated alphabetically.

Maria Tallchief


Dancing was It. Dancing was what life was all about.
If you wanted to be a dancer, you didn't just want it,
you felt chosen to be one...

~ Paul Taylor


For a dancer, to be able to perform well,
most of his waking hours must be devoted
to preparing for the holy white instant of performance.

~ Paul Taylor


I like to think dance is an international language that all people can appreciate.
All societies have some form of dance as a form of communication.

~ Paul Taylor


I would like to make it clear from the start that these dances
are primarily meant to be a kind of food for the eye.
If they evoke dramatic images and riddles,
the key to their solution lies not so much in the brain,
but in the senses and the eye of the spectator.

~ Paul Taylor


It's a religion, a monstrous itch, a huge and illogical church.
In my case, even before learning to dance,
I was positive I'd been ordained to it...

~ Paul Taylor


Dance just gets more exciting the more you know about it,
which is why you have to do it well at school
so you can spend the rest of your life supporting your habit.

~ Kay Teague


All night have the roses heard
The flute, violin, bassoon;
All night has the casement jessamine stirr'd
To the dancers dancing in tune;
Till a silence fell with the waking bird,
And a hush with the setting moon.

~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson


They who love dancing too much
seem to have more brains in their feet than in their head.

~ Terence (c. 190-159 BCE)


A lot of people insisted on a wall between modern dance and ballet.
I'm beginning to think that walls are very unhealthy things.

~ Twyla Tharp


Twyla Tharp Dance, from a television ad for their
performances at Sadler's Wells in London, in 2003:


Dancing is like bank robbery,ery,
it takes split second timing.

~ Twyla Tharp


Twyla Tharp on creating “Brahms/Hande” with Jerome Robbins:
He basically made me crazy, because it would be like, you know,
I plan what I'm going to do, I do it, I'm ready to move on;
he plans what he's going to do, he does it, he's ready to go back.

~ Twyla Tharp


I also had a will that let me eliminate everything that stood in the way
of my becoming the best dancer I could be. By a gradual process... (I)
 had invested every bit of my dreams, my hopes, my energies in defining myself as a dancer.

~ Twyla Tharp


I always, somehow, knew that I was going to dance.

~ Twyla Tharp


I began to discriminate between fear and excitement.
The two, though very close, are completely different.
Fear is negative excitement, choking your imagination.
Real excitement produces an energy that overcomes apprehension
and makes you want to close in on your goal.

~ Twyla Tharp


I do everything I know how in a dance.

~ Twyla Tharp


I often say that in making dances I can make a world where I think
things are done morally, done democratically, done honestly.

~ Twyla Tharp


I think that probably the moments of discovery do come from a place
that is not totally organized. Order is something that we already know about.
Discoveries are in a place we don't already know about.

~ Twyla Tharp


I would have to challenge the term, modern dance.
I don't really use that term in relation to my work.
I simply think of it as dancing. I think of it as moving.

~ Twyla Tharp


I'm not one who divides music, dance or art into various categories.
Either something works, or it doesn't.

~ Twyla Tharp


It's extremely arrogant and foolish
to think you can ever outwit your audience.

~ Twyla Tharp


It's very difficult to justify a profession as a dancer.

~ Twyla Tharp


The only thing I fear more than change is no change.

~ Twyla Tharp


This is not a pleasant route for many young people to consider.
You have to be either hopelessly passionate, or very stupid.

~ Twyla Tharp


Usually kids who are talented have the brashness to think they can do anything,
but they don't often get the chance to see how close they can come.

~ Twyla Tharp


We're a machine and we have to be worked
in the same way we have to be fed.

~ Twyla Tharp


You have to believe there's something at the other side.
And you have to have faith in yourself.
You have to think that you have the tools to accomplish it.

~ Twyla Tharp


Swedish juggler Pär Söderlund dances while juggling as a performance tribute
to Mikhail Baryshnikov in Twyla Tharp's One for the Road from Sinatra Suite:


Long experience has taught me that the crux of my fortunes
is whether I can radiate good will toward my audience.
There is only one way to do it and that is to feel it.
You can fool the eyes and minds of the audience, but you cannot fool their hearts.

~ Howard Thurston


Don't dream it – dance it!

~ W. M. Tory


The dance is over,
the applause subsided
but the joy and feeling will stay with you forever.

~ W. M. Tory


I would like to tell all dancers to forget themselves and the desire
for self-display. They must become completely absorbed in the dance.
Even in a classical variation there should never be any thought
of a dancer doing a variation – he should become identified with it.

~ Anthony Tudor


If I see a human body on the stage, I don't see it as an abstraction.
I see it as a body.

~ Anthony Tudor


I had longed to be a butterfly, and I was one at last.
I attended private parties in sumptuous evening dress,
simpered and aired my graces like a born beau,
and polkaed and schoisched with a step peculiar to myself –
and the kangaroo.

~ Mark Twain in Roughing It
(after he finally found employment in San Francisco)


I am lost, and I rejoice in the openness I cannot
decide where to go, so for now, I will dance where
I am and be. There is no goal, no destination,
just wilderness and life and being. I sing and
dance and live in the wilderness, and I am home.

~ Tziporah


It is not enough to merely leave Egypt.
To truly be free of Mitzrayim's grasp,
you must emerge from the waters
and dance on dry land.

~ Tziporah


Whenever we dig down into the achievements of a creative artist,
we invariably trace them to the beginning of all beginnings: labour.

~ Galina Ulanova


Do you not realize that dance is the pure act of metamorphosis?

~ Paul Valéry


Dance is like wine
it matures with every performance.

~ Alarmel Valli


What's so wonderful about ballet is that it's mind-driven physicality.
It's almost a Greek ideal of body, mind, and form.

~ Edward Villella


Sex in a dance is in the eyes of the beholder.
I never thought my dances sexy.
I suppose that's because I see myself with my face washed,
and to me I look like a rabbit.

~ Gwen Verdon


Gwen Verdon (at 72) joins Chita Rivera (at 64) to perform a medley from Chicago,
including All That Jazz − performed for the 51st Annual Tony Awards in 1997.


The sensitive artiste develops the “hearing ear” and the "seeing eye”eye”
which forever lead one to seek search,
making one’s entire life a voyage of discovery”.

~ Chitra Visweswaran


Dancing is an art because it is subject to rules.

~ Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire


Let us read and let us dance –
two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.

~ Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire


Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

~ Kurt Vonnegut


The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.

~ William Arthur Ward


Try to be fearless...
fear can inhibit you and keep you from a life.

~ Miranda Weese


I have always added dance to my productions.
When I was directing theatre,
I added dance sequences where they didn't exist in the play.
I think dance is the ultimate form of expression.

~ Valerie Weiss


I came to see that movement is one of the great laws of life.
It is the primary medium of our aliveness,
the flow of energy going on in us like a river all the time,
awake or asleep, twenty-four hours a day. Our movement is our behavior;
there is a direct connection between what we are like and how we move...
As people begin to move in their own way, they are faced with
feelings of surprise and delight and often of anxiety and embarrassment.
Judgments, corrections and explanations are of no use.
It is their movement, and it happened just that way.

~ Mary Whitehouse


I dance with the dancers.

~ Walt Whitman


Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did,
but she did it backwards and in high heels.

~ Faith Whittlesey


Strong and convincing art has never arisen from theories.

~ Mary Wigman



The dance grew into a colorful flower bouquet
which caught and contained the glow of sun-happy summer days,
the secret of star-studded nights,
and the wistful sweetness of overcast and rainy hours.

~ Mary Wigman


Ballet: men wearing pants so tight
that you can tell what religion they are.

~ Robin Williams


Though talent is wonderful, dance is 80% work and 20% talent.

~ Tad Williams


Being a dancer is just an extension of being a human being.

~ Tovaris Wilson


Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath,
kick off your shoes, and dance.

~ Oprah Winfrey


I'm dancing to the music of the madness inside me.

~ George C. Wolfe


When I play on my fiddle in Dooney
 Folk dance like a wave on the sea.

~ William Butler Yeats


And the merry love the fiddle,
and the merry love to dance.

~ William Butler Yeats


O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
 How can we know the dancer from the dance?

~ William Butler Yeats


On dancing on pointe:
Why don't they just get taller girls?

~ Henny Youngman


Dance, one of the oldest forms of artistic expression,
requires only the human body for its realization.

~ Igor Youskevitch


Discipline is the mother of the art.
Discipline is not militaristic; the dancer must be relaxed.

~ Maestro Hector Zaraspe


Music is the language of the soul,
dance is the language of the body.
Body and soul, music and dance conceive an instrument
of expression through which the spirit communicates.

~ Maestro Hector Zaraspe


'The Dance' is what we are all here to serve.

~ Maestro Hector Zaraspe


Try to respect the student's spiritual feeling and intelligence.
A human being is in your hands.
If you don't love your students, it's better you don't teach.
Give the truth always.

~ Maestro Hector Zaraspe


Teach me to dance!

~ from "Zorba the Greek"
Michael Cacoyannis, Screenwriter; after a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis


Anthony Quinn celebrates as Zorba the Greek −
in a dance with reserved Englishman Alan Bates.




~  Quotes of Unknown Origin  ~

(please email us with any known sources)

~ The "Most Attributed" Dance Quote~

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."

Attributed to: Laurie Anderson, David Breskin, David Byrne,
William S. Burroughs, John Cage, George Carlin, Elvis Costello,
Miles Davis, Nick Lowe, Steve Martin, Charles Mingus, Thelonious
Monk, Mark Mothersbaugh, Martin Mull, Clara Schumann,
W.G. "Snuffy" Walden, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Zappa.

Alan Scott maintains a webpage dedicated to discovering the truth of this quote: Email him at:


A day I don't dance is a day I don't live.


A football player is a dancer built to military specifications.


All it takes is to convince your mind to move your feet.


All that music and only two feet.


Anyone who thinks sunshine is happiness
has never danced in the rain.


A passionate dancer is a poet in action.


Ballet dancers miss so much because of their exhausting schedules,
many dancers hardly seem to notice the world around them.
A classical dancer is always a loner, always self-involved.


Ballet discipline:
only the true believer would suffer the rigors it demanded.


Be an awake dreamer:
cultivating the skills that you need,
finding out the talents you have
and yet not letting go of your dream of dancing.


Being a dancer means sacrificing a lot.
It's a life based on discipline and hard work,
hardly the normal state of affairs for a teenager.
Of course, if you love to dance more than anything,
then it's also time well spent. Only you can decide.
Just make sure you're listening to your heart.


Blood, sweat and tears of the ballet world:
the nuts and bolts behind ballet's ethereal stage presence.


Choosing a life in dance is like taking vows in a nunnery,
with similar frustrations.


Common sense would tell parents never to send their children to a ballet school.
Common sense would tell teenagers that there is a wider and happier world
beyond the grueling strictures of daily barre and class.
Common sense would tell the graduating student that there are infinitely
superior ways of making money than joining a professional ballet company.
Common sense would tell a young dancer that very few (laughably few)
of his or her colleagues will ever make it to the top or even near the top.
Yet... there remains the dance and the dancer.


Dance from your heart and love your music,
and the audience will love you in return.

~ Maria


Dance has a way of teaching people how to live.


Dance is a delicate balance between perfection and beauty.


Dance is a golden language written by the body.


Dance is an hourly and daily discipline,
but it is also lifelong happiness.


Dance is life, the rest is just details.


Dance is not an answer. Dance is a question.
Yes! is the answer.


Dance is the thing that challenges the mind, body and soul.


Dance isn't a form – it's a way of life.


Dance isn't what I do, it's who I am.


Dance to express, not to impress.


Dancers are among the most passionate and dedicated of artists
and rarely take their work for granted.


Dancers aren't made of their technique, but their passion.


Dancers are team players and individuals at the same time.
And it's... one of the professions in which students
think about the excitement it can give them,
rather than how much money they're going to make.
Dance people don't ever ask that.
That, in itself, is what is beautiful about the human spirit.


Dancers keep looking for the perfect teacher without realizing that
it's all there within themselves. You teach yourself; your teacher is a guide.
If you do not hear the advice, corrections and words of your guide,
it makes no difference how great the teacher. You will never dance.


Dancers offer us our only earthly chance
to catch a glimpse of the angelic host.


Dancing is like life:
it's good to have a plan, but be prepared to improvise.


Dancing with the feet is one thing,
but dancing with the heart is another.


Eat, drink, sleep... dance!


Even the greatest dancers in the world must submit
throughout their careers to the continual corrections of daily class.


Every day, we must dance. If only in our minds.


Every day, we must dance. If only in our minds.
Why do we dance? Because we're happy to be alive.
So every day, we must dance to say thank you to God.
Thank you for life.


Every day, we must dance to say thank you God. Thank you for life.


For some, dancing is an excuse to make money.
For the best, money is an excuse to dance.


For the ballet dancer, pain is a constant reality.


I am a dancer.
I twirl, leap, and spin.
I jump, pirouette, and tap.
I am a dancer.
I feel pain and fear.
I feel defeat and failure.
Yet, I keep going.
I smile, I practice, I perform.
I have grace and beauty.


I do not dance because I am happy,
I am happy because I dance.


I hear the applause.
I perform and do my best.
Sometimes I fail.
I don't give up.
For I am a dancer.
I am brave and strong.
I dance not for fame and glory.
But for how I feel inside.
I am happiness, joy, love, and excitement.
Strife, talent, joy.
Determination and beauty.
I am a dancer.


I still struggle in ballet class,
but now I have a sense of the pure joy of being in class,
rather than going after an unattainable ideal.


I was desperate in those days to do thirty-two fouettés, right and left.
I still thought, in my heart, that somehow it would happen,
that I'd become a dancer.


I’d rather be dancing.


If dancing was any easier,
they would call it football.


If it were not for dreams
there would not be such a thing as ballet,
the cruelest of the performing arts.


If you have to ask me why I dance,
you’ll never understand.


If you say you can you can, but if you say you can't your right!


If you're not dancing, you're wasting your feet.


If you're on thin ice you might as well be dancing.


In conversation as in dance, each is the mirror of other.
{Dans la conversation ainsi que dans la danse,
chacun est le miroir de l'autre.


In dancing, the women usually know the steps
and the men know the holds.


In order to dance professionally, one must sacrifice everything else,
including individual happiness, to an all-consuming god of Art.


In swing, whatever works is right.


It doesn't matter where you are on the stage, just as long as you're there.


It isn't necessarily a matter of minimal experience or talent;
it's also a question of desire.


It's not the turning that is hard in pirouettes,
it's that you gotta keep on doing it.


Lesser dancers stumble, better dancers syncopate.


Let the music move your body.


Letting go of perfectionism,
so ingrained in the nature of a ballet dancer,
can be the most difficult thing.


Life is a dance, from one stage to the next.


Listen to your heartbeat and dance.

~ Miki H.


My feet are never at a loss for words.

~ Miki H.


[The ballet world]
Once you're in there's no way out.
It's like that enchanted forest in the Sleeping Beauty
after everybody goes under the spell.


One's concentration as a performer must remain centered
on the action of which one is a part. For it is in truth
only one's own concentration on the imagined reality of the role
that can force the audience's attention to that same place.

~ Rick


Only the wise can dance the rhythm of life.


Safety pins are a belly-dancer's best friend.


Seen from the wings, a ballerina's life is made-up of
sheer physical misery relieved only by the euphoria of performance.
Physical agony is a normal thing backstage
and arouses the awe and pity only of outsiders unused to its sight.


Set yourself up for success and anything is possible.


Smart girls dance. If you weren't smart, you wouldn't be here.


Socrates learned to dance when he was 70
because he felt that an essential part of himself had been neglected.


Some people march to a different drummer... and some people polka.

~ Los Angeles Times Syndicate


Striving for a connection with the audience is essential
because you are in the moment – it is a give and take relationship.


Tap Dancers Have Rhythm in Their Soles.


Thank God that you are able to dance...
remember there are those who cannot even walk.


The art of dance is above all
about the gestures of what one feels with one's heart.

{L'art de la danse c'est avant tout de faire
avec des gestes ce qu'on ressent avec son coeur.


The ballet toe shoe is one of the few instruments of torture
to survive intact into our time.


The best dancer is one who dances with expression and meaning,
not the one who finishes first.


The dispassionate preparation
that goes into one of the most romantic performing arts.


The feet may learn the steps, but only the spirit can dance.


The grinding discipline, the long, lonely hours of practice,
the responsibility to dance, the rehearsals and the thrill of the stage:
an unbroken session of days and years devoted to being a dancer.


The hardships of working as a dancer,
including physical and psychological abuse and low pay,
are plainly worth it.


The orchestra, the lights, the smell of make-up and powder,
the back-stage nitty-gritty, the sore feet, the hard work
and the petty intrigues: the real life of a ballet dancer.


The rewarding routine of dance.


There are never mistakes, just unexpected solos.


Those hours spent dancing are not deducted from ones life span.


To dance is like speaking in silence.
It is to everything without saying a word.

{Danser, c'est comme parler en silence.
C'est dire plein de choses sans dire un mot.


To tap or not to tap... silly question!!


Until (AIDS is stopped) we will dance for life.


We dance for laughter,
we dance for tears,
we dance for madness,
we dance for fears,
we dance for hopes,
we dance for screams,
we are the dancers,
we create the dreams.


We dancers are very lonely people.
We work together
but we are very much self-made,
self-centered individuals.


We do not always dance because we are happy,
but we dance and cannot help but become happy.


When in doubt... dance!


When dancing:
1. Never try to step with the foot on which you are standing,
2. Never try to turn on a foot on which you are not standing, and
3. Never dance when you are too tired to know
whether you are adhering to principles 1 and 2.


When some men dance they're all feet,
and when they stop they're all hand.

Why do I dance? Why do you breathe?


Why do we dance?
Because we're happy to be alive.


You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart.


You can dance perfectly,
but you will be never an artist
if you dance without your soul.

{Tu peux danser parfaitement, mais tu ne sera
jamais artiste si tu ne danses pas avec ton âme.


You can't count on other people to provide happiness,
the unexpected reward that comes, perversely,
to those not obsessed with seeking it.
The dancer who relies upon the doubtful comforts of human love
will never be a good dancer.


You can't make a pointe if you don't understand the details.


You don't stop dancing because you grow old,
you grow old because you stop dancing.


You know you're dancing
when tears of pain and happiness blend in with your sweat.


You live it,
you breath it,
you dance it.


You never know whether being a dancer is a dream or reality.
The world on stage is a fairy-tale world. You end an
evening enveloped in the applause from the audience.
But outside the theater, you are back into reality,
and when you come home you realize
that you are just an ordinary person like everybody else.


You will only get out of a dance class what you bring to it.


Your dance identifies who you are.


Your love for yourself is only shown when you are dancing freely.




~  Quotes on the Joys - and Risks - of Social Dancing  ~


I knew the moment I met her
that she was trouble...
or that I was in trouble...
or that we would get into trouble together −
and then we danced.

~ Scott Nilsson
(on meeting Kristy Nilsson - nee Dawson)


The waltz is a dance of quite too loose a character,
and unmarried ladies should refrain from it...
very young married ladies may be allowed to waltz
if it is very seldom...

~ The Gentleman and Lady's Book of Politeness, 2nd American edition
Boston: Allen and Ticknor and Carter, Hendee & Co., 1833.


Swing your partner, dosey-do, now clap your hands...
uh-oh, that's all the square dance moves I know...
I'll bluff the rest: slap your partner in the face,
write bad checks all over the place, flirt with strangers, annoy
your spouse, get a divorce and lose your house – now dosey-do!

~ Scott Adams, writing as Dogbert


Disco is just jitterbug.

~ Fred Astaire


It may be possible to do without dancing entirely.
Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months
successively without being at any ball of any description,
and no material injury accrue either to body or mind.

~ Jane Austen, "Emma"


To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.

~ Jane Austen


You should make a point of trying every experience once,
excepting incest and folk dancing.

~ Sir Arnold Bax


Look, spaghetti arms. This is my dance space. This is your dance space.
I don't go into yours, you don't go into mine. You gotta hold the frame.

~ Eleanor Bergstein, screenwriter − "Dirty Dancing"


Dance, v.i. To leap about to the sound of tittering music,
preferably with arms about your neighbor's wife or daughter.
There are many kinds of dances, but all those requiring the
participation of the two sexes have two characteristics in common:
they are conspicuously innocent, and warmly loved by the vicious.

~ Ambrose Bierce


About a year ago I took up line dancing. I got so into it
I had to join a self-help group to stop. It's a two-step program...

~ Frederick J. Boenig


To shake your rump is to be environmentally aware.

~ David Byrne


These days, many forms of dance and music come close to being trance-inducing.
One of the subdivisions of house music has even been given the name 'trance.'
In addition, it is not simply the style of dancing that approaches or revives the
nature of tribal dancing, but also another dimension. In those places and at those
moments where all the elements are just right – the crowd, the music, the ambiance,
the moon – something happens that goes beyond the merely individual experience.
Suddenly, in the way of synergy, the participating individuals actually disappear
and a concerted, coherent, and merged group is born, for however short a time. In
those very moments, the tribal spirit is truly manifest and, just as in tribal societies,
the dance becomes a release and a catharsis for the entire community.

~ Rufus C. Camphausen


Never criticize your dance partner.

~ Brave Combo


The tango is the man and woman in search of each other. It is the search
for an embrace, a way to be together, when the man feels that he is a male
and the woman feels that she is female, without machismo. She likes to be led;
he likes to lead. Disagreements may occur later or they may not. When that
moment comes, it is important to have positive and productive dialogue,
fifty-fifty. The music arouses and torments, the dance is the coupling of
two people defenseless against the world and powerless to change things.

~ Juan Carlos Copes


When a man and woman understand each other dancing,
simply carrying the beat, dancing for three minutes to a music called tango,
it's the closest thing to (sex) – but sensual rather than erotic.

~ Juan Carlos Copes


The dance can be re-born with each song
and in a different way by each couple.

~ Mike Corbett


Want to spend lots of time dancing with ladies?
Impress them with how good they are!

 ~ Gerald Cosby


Relationships are like a dance.
People spend so much time trying to change their partner's steps,
and blaming them for treading on their toes.
When they instead focus on changing their own steps,
the dance changes anyway.

~ Tania Dally, Relationship Coach


O, Love's but a dance,
   Where Time plays the fiddle!
See the couples advance –
O, Love's but a dance!
A whisper, a glance,
   "Shall we twirl down the middle?"
O, Love's but a dance,
   Where Time plays the fiddle!

~ Henry Austin Dobson


Relationships are like a dance
with visible energy racing back and forth between the partners.

~ Colette Dowling, New York psychotherapist


In couple dances, gentlemen, hold onto her like you like her.

~ Richard Duree


The aesthetic pleasure of dance
is a secondary reflection of the
primary, vital joy of courtship.

~ Havelock Ellis


How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget...

~ Don Felder, The Eagles – "Hotel California"


Dancing is, in itself, a very trifling and silly thing:
but it is one of those established follies to which
people of sense are sometimes obliged to conform;
and then they should be able to do it well.
And though I would not have you a dancer,
yet, when you do dance, I would have you dance well,
as I would have you do everything you do well.

~ Lord Chesterfield, in his letters to his son


The time honored most accepted method of inviting and accepting
a request for a dance, is the eye contact and a head nod.
It speaks highly of politeness, courtesy and above all
about avoiding uncomfortable and at times embarrassing experiences.
It also affords every dancer the privacy of choosing how to spend an evening.
It is unsettling being stalked by overzealous individuals or being put into
the difficult situation of accepting reluctantly or declining uncomfortably.
In spite of its popularity nobody appreciates being "used."

~ extracted from "El Firulete"


If life is a dance, then friends are the music.

~ Eva Gregory


Love is a perky elf dancing a merry little jig
and then suddenly he turns on you
with a miniature machine gun.

~ Matt Groening


A man who knows how to dance
can make any woman feel good.

~ Barbara Haller, ballroom champion


To dance with a man
is to concentrate a twelvemonth's regulation fire upon him
in the fragment of an hour.
To pass to courtship without acquaintance,
to pass to marriage without courtship,
is a skipping of terms reserved
for those alone who tread this royal road.

~ Thomas Hardy


In eroticism as dance: one of the partners
is always charged with leading the other.

{Il en va de l'érotisme comme de la danse: l'un des
partenaires se charge toujours de conduire l'autre.

~ Milan Kundera


In the pivotal moves of the dance, those in which the dance partners
exchange leadership, the power of the dance can be seen to
alternate as quickly as that of sweat-slick wrestlers or fate-heavy duelists.
ominance is always fragile and unsure; subjugation is merely quiescence
in which to plot the regaining of the upper hand. Thus, energies of ego and
control struggle in a psychomania in three dimensions on the dance floor.

~ Richard Martin


Do you want – do you want – do you want to dance with me baby?

~ Joni Mitchell, "All I Want"


Dancing is wonderful training for girls;
it's the first way you learn to guess what a man is going to do before he does it.

~ Christopher Morley, Kitty Foyle


Chubby Checker lost pounds by demonstrating how to move as if you were
'drying your back with a towel' − the substitution of the word 'back' for 'bottom'
indicates the oddly wholesome image of the Twist.

~ Jan Murray


Just the pleasure of moving and the pleasure of using your body is,
I think, maybe the main point. And the pleasure of dancing
with somebody in an unplanned and spontaneous way,
when you're free to invent and they're free to invent
and you're neither one hampering the other –
that's a very pleasant social form.

~ Steve Paxton


Dancing is an amazing activity.
You can go up to a gorgeous woman that you've never met before,
spend three minutes touching her virtually anywhere on her body,
and she thanks you for it afterwards!

~ Mario Robau, Jr


Everyone has seen people dancing all night.
But take a man and make him dance for a quarter of an hour
without music and see if he can bear it.

~ Maurice de Saxe


Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.

~ George Bernard Shaw


There was an old clerk of Columbus
Who wearied of totaling numbus,
So he moved to East Lansing
And spent his time dancing
Maxixes, merengues, and rhumbus.

~ Colonel G. L. Sicherman


Relationships are like a dance.
After a while we are so used to doing certain steps
that we lose our balance
and awareness of our bodies in relationship to others.

~ Sheryl Stephen


These sort of boobies think that people come to balls
to do nothing but dance;
whereas everyone knows that the real business of a ball
is either to look out for a wife,
to look after a wife,
or to look after somebody else's wife.

~ Robert Smith Surtees


How do you know a partner is right for you?
That has everything to do with knowing each other and practicing together
until you work as one, until you begin to synchronise your movements
and your thoughts and your rhythmical feel for the music with your partner.

~ Patsy Swayze


... if you desire to marry you must realize that a mistress
is won by the good temper and grace displayed while dancing...
for dancing is practiced to reveal whether lovers
are in good health and sound of limb,
after which they are permitted to kiss their mistresses
in order that they may touch and savor one another
thus to ascertain if they are shapley
or emit an unpleasant odor as of bad meat.
Therefore, from this standpoint, quite apart from the
many other advantages to be derived from dancing,
it becomes an essential to a well-ordered society.

~ Jehan Tabourot, "Orchesography"


You'll find your feet at the end of your legs...
you may care to move them.

~ Rose Tyler character in the BBC series Doctor Who,
as written by C. E. Webber and Anthony Coburn


Whoever has seen the masked at a ball dance amicably together,
and take hold of hands without knowing each other,
leaving the next moment to meet no more,
can form an idea of the world.

~ Vauvenargues


Feel the blood rise to your face with every beat;
while an arm winds like a snake
around a waist that is about to break.
This is how to dance the tango!

~ Elizardo Martinez Vilas


Alas! Our dancing days are no more.
We wish, however, all those who have a relish for so agreeable and
innocent an amusement all the pleasure the season will afford them.

~ George Washington


The curve is more powerful than the sword.

~ Mae West


Dancing is all about wordless communication –
a light pull on a shoulder, a step forward and a shift of weight,
a shared understanding of the music and how it moves bodies.

~ Jasper Winn


The opportunities for body-contact highlight how wonderfully
non-politically correct dance is. It's about display and seduction...
And once you get into real dancing – partner dancing –
you've got the added inequality of somebody having to follow.

~ Jasper Winn


The girl who can't dance says the band can't play.

~ Yiddish Proverb


Dance Me to the End of Love

by Leonard Cohen

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love.
Dance me to the end of love.

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love




~  Social Dancing: The Un-Attributed Quotes  ~

(please email us any known sources)


Contra dancing is the most fun you can have with your clothes on!


Dancing check to check
is really a form of floor play...


Drinking and dancing don't mix.


Unless the dance is about the drink... as in Les Bourgeois.
Enjoy Daniil Simkin, the prodigal son, and his father, Dmitrij Simkin −
both winners of international ballet competitions − each performing
Ben Van Cauwenburgh’s classic work to the music of immortal Jacques Brel.
Performed two years apart, Daniil, at 19, plays it with youthful debauchery −
while there is depth and poignance in Dmitrij’s performance.
First, Daniil Simkin − in Les Bourgeois.


Dmitrij Smikin – founder of the Simkin Ballet:


If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet,
you'd best teach it to dance.


Relationships are like a dance
 It's as much about your patience, kindness, confidence,
and sense of rhythm as it is your choice of partner.


Relationships are like a dance,
one couple or group may be doing a waltz
and another is doing the tango.
Both are beautiful in their own right.


The follow you just received was a direct result of the lead you just gave.


The one unbreakable rule of couples dancing
is that the partners must move interdependently, as a unit.


When the going gets tough, the tough go dancing!


Bonus Video:

Daniil and Dmitrij Simkin perform Steven Thoss's contemporary choreography
to Paul Anka's My Way at the World Ballet Star Gala Performance
at Seoul Arts Centre's Opera Theatre in South Korea in 2004.



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