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Home > Dance History

Great Dance Quotes

"The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie."
~Agnes de Mille

"To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful." ~Agnes De Mille

"Dancing can reveal all the mystery that music conceals."
~Charles Baudelaire

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


Dancer
photo by trepidityprojects

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

"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

"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

"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


Dancer
photo by trepidityprojects

"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

"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


"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."
~Ann Halprin

"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


"Dancers are the athletes of God." ~Albert Einstein

"We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance."
~Japanese Proverb


"Try to be fearless, because fear can inhibit you and keep you from a life."
~Miranda Weese (NYCB)

"There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them."
~Vicki Baum


"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, 1937

Ballet Dancer
photo by siseart.com

"Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels."
~Faith Whittlesey


"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

"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


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

"Light quirks of music, broken and uneven,Make the soul dance upon a jig to Heav'n."
~Alexander Pope, Moral Essays


"It's what I always wanted to do, to show the laughter, the fun the joy of dance."
~Martha Graham

"I don't want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance."
~George Balanchine


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

"Dancers are instruments, like a piano the choreographer plays."
~George Balanchine


"Imagination is more important than knowledge" ~Albert Einstein

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


"Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health - it rusts your spirit and your hips." ~Adabella Radici

"Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair..."
~Susan Polis Shutz


"Dancing is the poetry of the foot."
~John Dryden

"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."
~Havelock Ellis


Dancer
photo by trepidityprojects

"Dance is the hidden language of the soul." ~Martha Graham

"A child sings before it speaks, dances almost before it walks. Music is in our hearts from the beginning." ~Pamela Brown

"Then 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

"Socrates learned to dance when he was seventy because he felt that an essential part of himself had been neglected."
~Source Unknown


"I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what it too deep to find for words." ~Ruth St. Denis

"Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul's weather."
~Martha Graham






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