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10 Inspirational Quotes from Famous Dancers

Baryshnikov, as pictured on the cover of Dance Magazine (January 1992) New York, New York

Need that extra push? Here are 10 quotes from famous dance figures to give you extra inspiration.


1. "Dancers are the athletes of God."—Albert Einstein

2. "Do it big; do it right; and do it with style." —Fred Astaire

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

4. "When the music changes, so does the dance." —African proverb

5. "Dance is the hidden language of the soul." —Martha Graham

6. "Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye, but the dance lives on." —Michael Jackson

7. "If you look at a dancer in silence, his or her body will be the music. If you turn the music on, that body will become an extension of what you're hearing." —Judith Jamison

8. "The problem is not making up the steps, but deciding which ones to keep." —Mikhail Baryshnikov

9. "Do a loony-goony dance, 'cross the kitchen floor, put something silly in the world that ain't been there before." —Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic

10. "You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive."—Merce Cunningham

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Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy. Photo courtesy Dance With Me

Listening to Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy riff together makes it crystal-clear why each has mastered the art of partnering in the ballroom—they've long been doing this dance in real life as brothers and business partners.

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@jayplayimagery, courtesy Kerollis

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Courtesy Oleson

American dance educator Shannon Oleson was teaching recreational ballet and street-dance classes in London when the pandemic hit. As she watched many of her fellow U.S. friends pack up and return home from their international adventures, she made the difficult choice to stick with her students (as well as her own training—she was midway through her MFA at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance).

Despite shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders, she was able to maintain a teaching schedule that kept her working with her dancers through Zoom, as well as lead some private, in-home acro classes following government guidelines. But keeping rec students interested in the face of pandemic fatigue hasn't been easy.

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