Many different things have been said about dance, and still are said, but it is probably better to hear about it from those who really know about it. For this reason, in this post, you are offered five phrases spoken or written by dancers and choreographers who have made the history of dance. Each of them had their own style and their own way of thinking about dancing; they all brought a revolution to this immense universe.
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The phrases shown here are an expression of their way of seeing dance as well as advice and food for thought for those who, today, love to dance, whether it is in the most prestigious theater in the country or in the living room of their own home.
Table of Contents
1. “Don’t Let Yourself be Tamed”
Isadora Duncan can be considered one of the mothers of modern dance. She is American, she lived and danced between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. She was appreciated at first, especially in Europe, she was a revolutionary: she abolished pointe shoes and heavy tutus, dancing barefoot wrapped in light robes inspired by the clothes of the ancient Greeks.
You were wild once. Don’t let yourself be tamed.
And it is to Greek art that he turned to create his dance, leaving behind the rules of academic ballet. He founded his first school near Berlin and then spread his art throughout Europe.
The quote reported here summarizes his thinking and his way of doing dance, which must above all be free, but also one of the most important sensations experienced by the dancer, in particular, that of modern and contemporary dance.
Isadora Duncan’s advice to dancers
Isadora Duncan’s invitation is addressed to the soul of the dancer, who must go and dig into his primordial instincts, freely bringing to light what he feels deep down and expressing it through his own body without worrying about external constraints.
In a nutshell, the dancer condenses her art and gives important advice for those who want to approach the world of modern dance.
2. When It Is the Blood That Dances
Coming from a poor family, Anna Pavlova condenses her entire life in this sentence. The Russian dancer sees her fate when she first attends a performance of Sleeping Beauty. From that moment on, her whole life will be devoted to ballet.
Born in St. Petersburg in 1881 and died of pleurisy just before she turned fifty, Anna Pavlova is most famous for her personal interpretation of The Death of the Swan, for being an ambassador of dance in the world, and for the changes she introduced. in ballet.
A dancer dances, because his blood dances in his veins.
Arrived at a time when the dancer had to be strong and vigorous, Pavlova unleashes a revolution with her slim and graceful body, but no less resistant, so much so that she also modifies pointe shoes, making them more similar to how they are today.
The passion of Anna Pavlova
What Anna Pavlova wants to tell us with the sentence reported here is that the fate of a dancer is inscribed in his own body. A person who dances does so because it is his own body asking him to do it and he does not have the strength or the power to oppose this great desire.
Dance is a sanguine passion, which is generated inside the dancer and cannot be tamed, similar to what Isadora Duncan also said.
The message that Anna Pavlova wants to convey is that of dance as an inevitable necessity, as the only powerful means of expression for any individual who feels his own blood dancing in his veins.>>Dance gear, books, and movies
3. Small Daily Deaths
The dancer and choreographer who uttered these sentences is probably one of the few figures related to dance known even to non-experts. This is because Martha Graham can be considered to all intents and purposes the prophetess of American modern dance, which then influenced the movement of dancing around the world.
Dancing seems fascinating, simple, enchanting. But the path to the paradise of realization is no less complex than all the others. There is such fatigue that the body cries out, even in sleep. There are moments of complete frustration, there are small daily deaths …
A long-lived dancer, she was born in 1894 and died in 1991. She founded a school, with an attached company, in 1927, giving it her name. She became famous in the 1950s and remained active almost until the last years of her life. Graham changed dance starting from the very concept of show and studying theater.
He brought the movement back to its ritual dimension, causing the dancer to tap into his deepest intimacy to bring the choreography to the stage.
The fatigue of Martha Graham
In the quote quoted here, Martha Graham emphasizes the more physical aspect of dance, which is very important to her. She underlines how, behind a show, which appears beautiful to the viewer’s eye and in which the movements of the dancers seem to come out with great simplicity, there are hours and hours of great work and great sacrifices.
The life of a dancer, especially if a professional, is punctuated by moments of great pain, both physical and mental, which are all overcome in the name of the greater good, that is, the moment in which you finally go on stage. Graham’s speech is still current if you think about how much dance is underestimated today.
4. “Every Man Should Dance”
Rudolf Nureyev left Russia, but soon thanks to his resourcefulness he toured companies and theaters all over Europe, becoming an internationally renowned dancer and choreographer.
Born in Siberia in 1938 and died in Paris in 1993, he stands out above all for his revision of classics from the Russian ballet repertoire, including Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Don Quixote.
Every man should dance, all his life. Don’t be a dancer, but dance.
Despite being known for his intolerant character, he had a great influence on dance, as he was able to give more importance to male roles in classical ballet and broke down the boundaries between classical and modern dancers, venturing into both styles.
Dance as an existential moment for Rudolf Nureyev
The two simple sentences reported here refer to the dimension of dance as a fundamental part of every man’s life. Dancing is not only important for the dancer, but for every human being. Dance is a form of expression, but also of release and liberation.
It is an act that allows man to let go, perceive his own body and merge it with the surrounding world. According to Nureyev, therefore, it is important that every man always dance to feel himself.
5. How to Show Love
Fred Astaire, an American dancer, choreographer, and actor, is best known for the films he shot with Ginger Rogers and is considered one of the greatest dancers of the 20th century. Lived between 1897 and 1989, he knew how to mix music, cinema, and dance with each other, establishing himself as a unique figure of his kind.
He has been active in theater and cinema for nearly eighty years, making thirty-one musical films. He combined jazz music with European music and made tip tap a real art form, becoming its undisputed master. His immense activity earned him the Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, awarded to him in 1950.
The dancer, with a very simple but meaningful sentence, emphasizes dance as a language. Like any other language, primarily the verbal one, dance carries meanings according to the different combinations.
I don’t show my love with a kiss, I show it by dancing.
Fred Astaire is telling us that, for him, as well as for most dancers, dance is what allows him to express himself best, to convey what he wants to communicate in the most effective way possible. For him, dance is the first language, the best, the most complete, and, above all, the one he knows how to use best.