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Dance

  • Always at a dance, formal or informal, there are guests who do not dance. ... But 'the guest who does not dance' is one of the unfortunate things the hostess has to put up with at every one of her dances.

  • Thoughts of sorrow, of gladness, of joy, of hope surge through us and cry for expression. Dancing is nature's way of expressing these emotions.

  • [On Isadora Duncan:] There was never a place for her in the ranks of the terrible, slow army of the cautious. She ran ahead, where there were no paths.

  • I loved dancing with a delirious 'I wish I could die' passion, especially when the music appealed to me ... but alas! only one in ten partners had any notion of time, and what made it worse, the nine were always behind, never before the beat. ... Sometimes I would firmly seize smaller, lighter partners by the scruff of the neck, so to speak, and whirl them along in the way they should go, but I saw they were not enjoying themselves, and oddly enough I wanted these wretches to like dancing with me.

  • ... crawling about the floor like half-dead November flies is one thing, and dancing reels another.

  • 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.

  • ... I have only danced my life.

  • It was a little like living with a cross between Martha Graham and Groucho Marx: dancing with a wisecrack.

  • Dancing is like bank robbery. It takes split-second timing.

  • ... dancers are allowed, indeed encouraged, to remain children forever ...

  • Dance is the stepchild of the arts.

  • ... when dancing is right, the movement possesss a logic common to us all, an inevitability that takes it beyond the personal and egocentric and makes of it classical art.

  • I have always felt one of the things dance should do — its business being so clearly physical — is challenge the culture's gender stereotypes.

  • ... dance is simply the refinement of human movement — walking, running, and jumping. We are all experts. There should be no art form more accessible than dance, yet no art is more mystifying in the public imagination.

  • 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 once been, though slightly, felt - it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.

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

  • The first religious experience that I can remember is getting under the nursery table to pray that the dancing mistress might be dead before we got to the Dancing Class.

  • ... a person without rhythm doesn't know he can't dance.

  • 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.

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

  • Archie had been no good as a dancer. He had trundled her about. She ought to have been warned by that; for dancing and sex were linked ... and Archie, she had soon discovered trundled through sex.

  • I see the dance being used as a means of communication between soul and soul — to express what is too deep, too fine for words.

    • Ruth St. Denis,
    • in Claudia E. Cornett, The Arts As Meaning Makers ()
  • 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 are the ones that saw something more than a novelty, something more than surface. They were the ones I reached. 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.

  • Dancing brings an endlessness in which nothing matters but to go on dancing — in a room, till the walls disappear — in the open, till the sky, moving as you dance, seems to cleave and let you through.

  • Part of the joy of dancing is conversation. Trouble is, some men can't talk and dance at the same time.

  • If you want to understand a nation, look at its dances and listen to its folk songs — don't pay any attention to its politicians.

    • Agnes de Mille,
    • in Alan F. Pater and Jason R. Pater, What They Said in 1977 ()
  • The truest expression of a people is in its dances and its music.

  • A good education is usually harmful to a dancer. A good calf is better than a good head.

  • ... the choreographic process is exhausting. It happens on one's feet after hours of work, and the energy required is roughly the equivalent of writing a novel and winning a tennis match simultaneously.

  • To make up a dance, I still need, as I needed then, a pot of tea, walking space, privacy and an idea.

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

  • 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.

  • ... true nature rises / when the body dances.

    • Sandra Cisneros,
    • "Letter to John Franco -- Venice," My Wicked Wicked Ways ()
  • Man learned to resort to the dance when he felt helpless or fragmentary, when he felt dislocated in his universe.

  • Dancers, like dogs, grow old faster than the rest of us.

  • Two big Cossacks have to carry him [Fred Astaire] protesting onto the dance floor, and there he does his longest and most absorbing solo of the series so far, full of stork-legged steps on toe, wheeling pirouettes in which he seems to be winding one leg around the other, and those ratcheting tap clusters that fall like loose change from his pockets.

  • Good choreography fuses eye, ear, and mind ...

  • ... the art of movement does not deny or separate the life force from its bodily component. ... The dance traditionally fuses the feminine and masculine elements of experience. It emphasizes the truth and power of the physical body to house and express spirit.

    • Fanchon Shur,
    • in Ellen M. Umansky and Dianne Ashton, eds., Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality ()
  • But ballet is always dying. Like all dance, it exists purely in time and leaves no record, and is an art of the external present. Unlike music, it does not have a consistent written language; video can capture only its shadow because it lacks the third dimension, where dancing lives. So we are left with the present.

  • You leap like living music thru the air.

  • A brand-new pair of toe shoes presents itself to us as an enemy with a will of its own that must be tamed.

    • Toni Bentley,
    • "The Heart and Sole of a Ballerina's Art: Her Toe Shoes," in Smithsonian ()
  • A toe shoe is as eccentric as the ballerina who wears it: their marriage is a commitment.

    • Toni Bentley,
    • "The Heart and Sole of a Ballerina's Art: Her Toe Shoes," in Smithsonian ()
  • To dance at all is to confront oneself. It is the art of honesty.

  • You can't lie when you dance. It's so direct. You do what is in you. You can't dance out of the side of your mouth.

  • Being a dancer meant you nearly always thought about food.

  • When I discovered dancing, I learned to dream.

  • Dancing is being trusted with other people's guts; choreographing is trusting other people with yours.

  • Every dancer lives on the threshold of chucking it.

  • I was born to be a ballerina — my physique, my spirit, my feeling for music. What I am can only be expressed in dance. I am an erotic woman and that's what dance is.

  • Even the ears must dance.

  • Dancing is such a despised and dishonored trade that if you tell a doctor or a laywer you do choreography he'll look at you as if you were a hummingbird. Dancers don't get invited to visit people. It is assumed a boy dancer will run off with the spoons and a girl with the head of the house.

    • Agnes de Mille,
    • in Jane Howard, "The Grande Dame of Dance," Life ()
  • We lived and breathed ballet. We walked like ducks all the time, with our feet turned out in first position. Dropping a napkin was an excuse for a plié. My hair was in a permanent bun.

    • Teri Garr,
    • in Teri Garr, with Henriette Mantel, Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood ()
  • Dancers are both athletes and artists ...

  • The world of dance is a natural world from which civilization has divorced many of us by making it appear remote — something reserved for the few who have a special talent.

  • 'Jumping for joy' is a very basic human reaction, and a child skipping down the street is simply an untrained dancer.

  • Ballet is more than a profession — it is a way of life.

  • There was one fello there danced awful. He pumped with his arm like he was tryin to get his engine started.

  • Think of the magic of that foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It's a miracle, and the dance ... is a celebration of that miracle.

  • Dancers have more bones than most people and on the days when you work hard you are sure that you have somehow accumulated more bones than you started with.

  • Every dance is a kind of fever chart, a graph of the heart. The instrument through which the dance speaks is also the instrument through which life is lived ... the human body.

  • Dance is the hidden language of the soul.

    • Martha Graham,
    • in "Martha Graham Reflects on Her Art and a Life in Dance," The New York Times ()
  • Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery ...

    • Martha Graham,
    • in "Martha Graham Reflects on Her Art and a Life in Dance," The New York Times ()
  • I did not choose to be a dancer. I was chosen.

    • Martha Graham,
    • in Russell Freedman, Martha Graham: A Dancer's Life ()
  • Stand up! Keep your backs straight! Remember that this is where the wings grow.

    • Martha Graham,
    • to her students, in Russell Freedman, Martha Graham: A Dancer's Life ()
  • There is fatigue so great that the body cries, even in its sleep.

  • I think the reason dance has held such an ageless magic for the world is that it has been the symbol of the performance of living.

  • Dance is my medicine ... Dance is the fist with which I fight the sickening ignorance of prejudice. Instead of growing twisted like a gnarled tree inside myself, I am able to dance out my anger and frustration.

    • Pearl Primus,
    • in Barbara Carlisle Bigelow, ed., Contemporary Black Biography ()
  • The dance is strong magic. The dance is a spirit. It turns the body to liquid steel. It makes it vibrate like a guitar. The body can fly without wings. It can sing without voice. The dance is strong magic. The dance is life.

  • I danced with a passion to spite the music.

  • Ballet is a riddle of means and ends.

  • Classical virtuosity is more than technique, line, proportion, and balance. It is as if the performer and spectator come together to hold in their hands a bird with a broken wing. The creature can be felt to stir, to struggle for freedom. Its life responds to human warmth; its wing might brush your check as it flies away.

  • The nature of my compulsion was such that I danced in my sleep. The entire household was sometimes awakened by loud thumping sounds coming from my room.

  • As unnatural as dancing is, you have to find a natural way to do the unnatural.

  • I repeat the wake-up, the workout, the quick shower, the breakfast of three hard-boiled egg whites and a cup of coffee, the hour to make my morning calls and deal with correspondence, the two hours of stretching and working out ideas by myself in the studio ... That's my day, every day. A dancer's life is all about repetition.

    • Twyla Tharp,
    • in Mason Currey, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work ()
  • Ballet's image of perfection is fashioned amid a milieu of wracked bodies, fevered imaginations, Balkan intrigue, and sulfurous hatreds where anything is likely, and dancers know it.

  • I feel like an ordained minister; I was supposed to preach here. Through dance, we're as close to God as we're going to get — until he calls us home.

  • 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.

  • [On Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire:] She gives him class and she gives him sex.

  • We waltzed Lisztlessly.

  • All writers, musicians, artists, choreographers/dancers, etc., work with the stuff of their experiences. It's the translation of it, the conversion of it, the shaping of it that makes for the drama.

  • I like very little to talk. There are many things I cannot say, I can only feel them and dance them.

    • Flores Amaya,
    • in Nina Winter, Interview With the Muse ()
  • To dance is human, to polka is divine.

    • k.d. lang,
    • in Victoria Starr, k.d. lang ()
  • [On Nijinksy:] Ah, he took my breath away! The body that man had, the controlled power, the iron fragility. He was a note of music. He was dance!

  • You gotta roll with me, Henry, / All right, baby / Roll with me, Henry / Don't mean maybe.

    • Etta James,
    • song, "Wallflower (Dance With Me, Henry)" ()
  • Learning to walk sets you free. Learning to dance gives you the greatest freedom of all: to express with your whole self the person you are.

  • My dance is a sacred poem in which each movement is a word and whose every word is underlined by music. The temple in which I dance can be vague or faithfully reproduced, for I am the temple.

    • Mata Hari,
    • in John S. Craig, Peculiar Liaisons: In War, Espionage, the Terrorism in the Twentieth Century ()
  • God, I love the waltz, the way the elegance of the one-count draws your attention away from the restlessness of the two-three.

  • They who dance / Find infinite golden floors / Beneath their feet.

  • ... dancing! It's magical, actually. A kind of slowish magic. Like writing with your feet.