July 5, 2012

Dance is Music Made Visible

One of my readers asked if I could post my top five dance quotes - and I'm more than happy to share. Hope these quotes inspire you just as much!

“You will only get out of a dance class what you bring to it. Learn by practice.” - Martha Graham

Obvious, right? Nobody can dance for you, not even the greatest teacher. It's your responsibility to be present, alert, take corrections and never stop trying. You will be a better dancer every time you leave class.

“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

This is a hard one. Faith in yourself is often the first to go when ballet is not working out. But you are learning constantly, and the tools you have managed to aquire this far do not suddenly disappear! Most likely you are struggling because your brain and body is adapting to new information. You will get there, eventually.

"We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance." (Japanese proverb)

Pretty much sums it up. Also a good reminder that ballet is not that serious! Let's have some fun!

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." - Samuel Beckett

I don't think Beckett was a dancer, but he could have gotten far with this attitude! Appreciate every tiny step towards improvement, and never give up on yourself. You don't have to be exceptional, not even "good". If something, anything, is better than the last time you tried - that's good enough. And even if it doesn't - you are still working, breathing, living, dancing..

"Dance is music made visible." - George Balanchine

Music and rhythm lies at the heart of dance. You may not be able to extend legs up to your ears, or turn quadruples or dance on a stage.. But you can dance to the music.

Below: Christopher Wheeldon's "After the Rain." Music by Arvo Pärt. Never fails to capture me.


  1. Love the Japanese proverb! I feel a fool often (especially when I catch sight of myself in the mirrors!) but I know I'm improving :)

  2. I second the Japanese proverb! Hilarious and so true.

    Yuan Yuan Tan + Damien Smith + Outdoor Stage = Love!!

  3. This is a very inspiring blog. <3 I love how your posts are so recognisable. I am generally a very shy person but ballet has helped me to get out of my shell and be more confident. But than again it can be a rutheless activity especially with all the other girls and their "glances" that could kill. Girls are mysterious creatures, both in good and in bad ways :) Your blog is fantastic, and you seem like such a wonderful person. I love your quotes, and especially think Twyla Tharp's is so true.. To me it shows that you have to understand that the only person that stands against your own sucess is yourself and your negative thoughts. ;)

    Keep up the good work!! Lots of love from me.<3

    Here are my favourite quotes(I don't know all the authours, sorry):

    "How often in life we complete a task that was beyond the capability of the person we were when we started it."

    "Always act like you're wearing an invisible crown."

    "God wisely designed the human body so that we can neither pat our own backs nor kick ourselves too easily."

    The last one is so true. :D

    1. Don't worry too much about those "glances". Often there's just insecurity behind them. And if they are snobby glances, know this: I have met some very talented and successful (pre-)preofessional dancers - and they have also been the nicest! Only dancers with heart will get anywhere, and frankly, good manners are part of ballet-etiquette!

      I'm glad you are coming out of your shell because of ballet classes! You know, one of my teachers told us that she was terribly shy in her youger years. But she would would learn how to present herself on stage, how to make contact with an audience. Apparently, it worked!

      Love your first quote. And the second.. Just imagining my tiara.. ;)

      Thanks for commenting! Wish you all the best :)


To That Special Ballet Teacher

To that special ballet teacher, who not only teaches you about technique, but helps build your confidence, nurtures your inner artist, ...