55 + Best Ballet Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Inspirational ballet quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

Famous Ballet Quotes

The art of ballet chooses the dancer, not the other way around. Kevin McKenzie

The purpose of art is higher than art. What we are really interested in are masterpieces of humanity. Alonzo King

The ballet is a purely female thing. It is a woman, a garden of beautiful flowers, and man is the gardener. George Balanchine

Technique bodily control must be mastered only because the body must not stand in the way of the soul’s expression. The only reason for mastering technique is to make sure the body does not prevent the soul from expressing itself. La Meri

Ballet something pure in this crazy world. Misty Copeland

People don’t know that they are being controlled but they are looking where I say to look and they are listening to what I say. And the minute you have a full frontal nudity, they immediately are not looking where you want them to and they are immediately having conversations with each other. They immediately start to talk. They are making all sorts of comparisons if you are a man or a woman, so you have lost concentration. One of the things that started me on this was Robert Helpmann who was the Head of the English Ballet at the time of Oh! Calcutta! which was a naked musical, and it was a big thing, you know. They said to Robert Helpmann Would you ever do naked ballet? So he said: “No. They said Why not? He said Because everything does not stop when the music does! Now I think that is a very good reason because what he is saying is you lose the concentration. Concentration is when the music stops bang! you are done. If you are full frontal nude, you are still looking at things still moving. So never do full frontal nudity. Michael Caine

Ballet technique is arbitrary and very difficult. Agnes De Mille

I knew my way around a stage and was strong, so I could lift my partners up and put them down softly. And the other thing that I understood was the importance of eye contact. It’s essential when you’re performing to remain connected with the person you’re dancing with. I see it on the stage all the time when the dancers drop out of character and for the look at me thing. They break that famous fourth wall and let the audience in on the dancer’s private thinking, not the character’s thinking. That will destroy a performance. James Mitchell

Dance design is not simply one element; it is that without which ballet cannot exist. Lincoln Kirstein.

Our pointe shoes are our instruments. If something’s wrong with my feet, all my mind goes there. I usually have six pairs ready. Soft shoes for one act, stiffer shoes for another, stronger shoes for a variation with a lot of turns. Nina Ananiashvili

The only way to do it is to do it. Merce Cunningham

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

Ballet is ultimately a logical technique it favors the shortest, most efficient route from one position into another. Anna Paskevska.

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

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

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

Even if you weren’t born with a genetically perfect body, you can take something like a hand, where everyone has the same capabilities, and you can make it speak. Sarah Lamb

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 harmonized. Ruby Ginner

When ballet takes to the sea, even the sunset comes to take a sneak peek. Anthony T. Hinck

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

Ballet is like a rose. It is beautiful and you admire it, but you don’t ask what it means. George Balanchine

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

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

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

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

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

Ballet is not just movement, not simply abstract. It’s something beautiful. Nina Ananiashvili

I had to learn that slower is faster If you practice every day with patience and correctness, you will get there. It’s like preparing for a jump. You can’t rush. You must summon the appropriate energy with split second timing and have an understanding of purpose to get up in the air. It requires training, confidence and mental effort. You can’t have a vocabulary without the alphabet. Balanchine used to say, “Do you want to be a poet of gesture or do you want to be a physical entity? Edward Villella

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

When someone blunders, we say that he makes a misstep. Is it then not clear that All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill our history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill in dancing. Moliere

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

Even today when I rehearse, I give it everything that I’ve got. If I’m in a performance and the lights go out I glow in the dark. When you’re working before an audience, you have to make them feel like they can touch you. That’s the dancer within, reaching out. Mitzi Gaynor

Learning ballet is wonderful for children because it teaches discipline, grace, and manners. Anna Paskevska

You get obsessed by dancing because 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

Ballet will speak for itself. George Balanchine

Success comes from having a fulfilling experience and being inside the moment of that experience. Success does not come in retrospect or as a recollection or even as an evaluation from others. lt’s not something that you can physically hold onto or repeat at will. Only when you acknowledge the special moments can you truly feel the effects of your most wonderful achievements. Tommy Tune

Ballet is a universe of the imagination, a place of magic and enchantment, beauty and romance. Trudy Garfunkel

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

Treat each class as if it were your first. Suzanne Farrell

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

The purpose of art is higher than art. What we are really interested in are masterpieces of humanity. Alonzo King

The body is the 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

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

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

Ballet is like writing poetry with your body. Elif Shafak

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

Ballet shoes. I cannot play with them like they’re toys. But when the music is playing they get deep on my toes. Ana Claudia Antunes

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

Ballet dancing is arduous, strenuous activity. George Balanchine

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

Ballet is the body rising. Ballet is ceremonial and hieratic. Camille Paglia

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

Ballet is purifying, every movement physically honed and essential, with no superfluity or excess.  Jennifer Homans

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