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Artgate Fondazione Cariplo - Giuliano Bartolomeo, Le Villi

Dance generally refers to human movement either used as a form of expression or presented in a social, spiritual or performance setting.



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I have no desire to prove anything by it. I have never used it as an outlet or a means of expressing myself. I just dance. - Fred Astaire
  • Now the old lady fell ill, and it was said that she would not rise from her bed again. She had to be nursed and waited upon, and this was no one’s duty more than Karen’s. But there was a grand ball in the town, and Karen was invited. She looked at the red shoes, saying to herself that there was no sin in doing that; she put the red shoes on, thinking there was no harm in that either; and then she went to the ball; and commenced to dance.
  • Dance you shall,” said he, “dance in your red shoes till you are pale and cold, till your skin shrivels up and you are a skeleton! Dance you shall, from door to door, and where proud and wicked children live you shall knock, so that they may hear you and fear you! Dance you shall, dance—!
  • I have no desire to prove anything by it. I have never used it as an outlet or a means of expressing myself. I just dance.


  • My dancing days are done.
  • DANCE, v.i. To leap about to the sound of tittering music, preferably with arms about your neighbor's wife or daughter. There are many kinds of dances, but all those requiring the participation of the two sexes have two characteristics in common: they are conspicuously innocent, and warmly loved by the vicious.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
    Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
    Soft eyes look'd love to eyes which spake again,
    And all went merry as a marriage bell.
  • On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
    No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
    To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.
  • And then he danced;—all foreigners excel
    The serious Angles in the eloquence
    Of pantomime;—he danced, I say, right well,
    With emphasis, and also with good sense—
    A thing in footing indispensable:
    He danced without theatrical pretence,
    Not like a ballet-master in the van
    Of his drill'd nymphs, but like a gentleman.


  • If people stand in a circle long enough, they'll eventually begin to dance.
  • There comes a pause, for human strength
    Will not endure to dance without cessation;
    And everyone must reach the point at length
    Of absolute prostration.
    • Lewis Carroll, Four Riddles, no. 1 (1869); reprinted in Phantasmagoria and Other Poems (1919)
  • As to dancing, my dear, I never dance, unless I am allowed to do it in my own peculiar way. There is no use trying to describe it: it has to be seen to be believed. [...] Did you ever see the Rhinoceros, and the Hippopotamus, at the Zoological Gardens, trying to dance a minuet together? It is a touching sight.
    • Lewis Carroll, letter to Gaynor Simpson (27 December 1873), in A Selection from the Letters of Lewis Carroll to his Child-Friends, ed. Evelyn M. Hatch, (London: MacMillan, 1933).
  • Nemo enim fere saltat sobrius, nisi forte insanit.
    • No one dances sober, unless he is insane.
    • Cicero, Pro Murena (Ch. vi, Section 13).
Saman dance, from Aceh, here performed in Borobudur
  • "The thing about dancers is they're a certain breed. You don't do it to become rich and famous, you don't do it to have a really long career or to be the star, you do it because you can't imagine your life not doing it."


  • Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
    Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
    With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
    Let me forget about today until tomorrow.


  • A time to mourn, and a time to Dance.
    • Ecclesiastes, Holy Bible.
  • At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
    Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
    But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
    Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
    Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
    There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.


  • The historical weight of traditional forms (in India) provides both a firm technical base to train in, and a firm place from which to launch into new territories. ‘Distinctive Indian style’ is arguably more about the diversity of styles than anything more unifying. From my individual Western viewpoint as a theatre programmer and producer, I see a lack of professionals to help link artists and their work with the right audiences. It is extremely testing for artists to do the fundraising, marketing, press and publicity and contractual negotiations - as well as have the energy and focus to create fresh, stimulating work."
    • Emma Gladstone quoted in "New shores, uncharted waters". The Hindu. 17 November 2012. 
  • Alike all ages: dames of ancient days
    Have led their children through the mirthful maze;
    And the gay grandsire, skill'd in gestic lore,
    Has frisk'd beneath the burden of threescore.
  • We look at the dance to impart the sensation of living in an affirmation of life, to energize the spectator into keener awareness of the vigor, the mystery, the humor, the variety, and the wonder of life. This is the function of the American dance.
    • Martha Graham, "The American Dance", in Modern Dance, ed. Virginia Stewart (1935).


  • How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat. Some dance to remember, some dance to forget.
  • Round they went, a circular procession of dancers, each with hands on the hips of the dancer preceding, round and round, shouting in unison, stamping to the rhythm of the music with their feet, beating it, beating it out with hands on the buttocks in front; twelve pairs of hands beating as one; as one, twelve buttocks slabbily resounding. Twelve as one, twelve as one. "I hear Him, I hear Him coming." The music quickened; faster beat the feet, faster, faster fell the rhythmic hands. And all at once a great synthetic bass boomed out the words which announced the approaching atonement and final consummation of solidarity, the coming of the Twelve-in-One, the incarnation of the Greater Being. "Orgy-porgy," it sang, while the tom-toms continued to beat their feverish tattoo:
  • We have eight costume changes per show and we have amazing dressers (about one dresser for every three Rockettes) that get us on stage, on time, and looking fabulous.
  • We have very precise movements that we have to do. There are spots in the line that are more difficult. Because you can imagine if you’re catching a taller lady, there’s going to be more weight on you. It’s about trust and I totally trust all the women that I’m dancing with. It’s difficult, it’s a crowd-pleaser and I love it.
  • The costumes, I can’t give you exact numbers, but each costume costs thousands of dollars. So that’s not something they would just hand over to me.
  • The most immediate way we experience the universe is through our body. This is why contemporary dance is the most honest expression because body movement, as they say, cannot lie. Even if you are pretending, it shows."
Indian dance, Nataraja
  • Dancing is generally held to be unlawful [in Islam], although it does not appear to be forbidden in either the Qur'an or the Traditions, but according to al Bukhari, the Prophet expressly permitted it on the day of the great festival. Those who hold it to be unlawful quote the following verse from the Qur'an Surah xvii 39 "Walk not proudly on the earth," as a prohibition, although it does not seen to refer to the subject. The Sufis make dancing a religious exercise, but the Sunni Muslims consider it unlawful.
    • Hughes, T. P. (1986). Dictionary of Islam: : being a cyclopaedia of the doctrines, rites, ceremonies, and customs together with the technical and theological terms, of the Muhammadan religion. Entry DANCING.
  • Merrily, merrily whirled the wheels of the dizzying dances
    Under the orchard-trees and down the path to the meadows;
    Old folk and young together, and children mingled among them.




  • Ghritachi and Menaka and Rambha and Purvachitti and Swayamprabha and Urvashi and Misrakeshi and Dandagauri and Varuthini and Gopali and Sahajanya and Kumbhayoni and Prajagara and Chitrasena and Chitralekha and Saha and Madhuraswana, these and others by thousands, possessed of eyes like lotus leaves, who were employed in enticing the hearts of persons practising rigid austerities, danced there. And possessing slim waists and fair large hips, they began to perform various evolutions, shaking their deep bosoms, and casting their glances around, and exhibiting other attractive attitudes capable of stealing the hearts and resolutions and minds of the spectators.
  • Come, knit hands, and beat the ground
    In a light fantastic round.




  • Others import yet nobler arts from France,
    Teach kings to fiddle, and make senates dance.
  • Oh! if to dance all night, and dress all day,
    Charm'd the small-pox, or chas'd old age away;
    * * * * * *
    To patch, nay ogle, might become a saint,
    Nor could it sure be such a sin to paint.


  • Dance is about saying something. If you ain’t got nothin' to say, get off the dance floor.




  • I always thought dancing improper; but it can't be since I myself am dancing.
    • The Red Cow in P. L. Travers' Mary Poppins, Ch. 5 "The Dancing Cow" (1934)


  • It is sweet to dance to violins
    When Love and Life are fair:
    To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
    Is delicate and rare:
    But it is not sweet with nimble feet
    To dance upon the air!
    • Oscar Wilde, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), Part II, st. 9.


  • O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
    How can we know the dancer from the dance?

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 156-158.
  • This dance of death which sounds so musically
    Was sure intended for the corpse de ballet.
    • Anonymous, On the Danse Macabre of Saint-Saëns.
  • O give me new figures! I can't go on dancing
    The same that were taught me ten seasons ago;
    The schoolmaster over the land is advancing,
    Then why is the master of dancing so slow?
    It is such a bore to be always caught tripping
    In dull uniformity year after year;
    Invent something new, and you'll set me a skipping:
    I want a new figure to dance with my Dear!
  • Imperial Waltz! imported from the Rhine
    (Famed for the growth of pedigrees and wine),
    Long be thine import from all duty free,
    And hock itself be less esteem'd than thee.
  • Endearing Waltz—to thy more melting tune
    Bow Irish jig, and ancient rigadoon.
    Scotch reels, avaunt! and country-dance forego
    Your future claims to each fantastic toe!
    Waltz—Waltz alone—both legs and arms demands,
    Liberal of feet, and lavish of her hands.
  • Hot from the hands promiscuously applied,
    Round the slight waist, or down the glowing side.
  • What! the girl I adore by another embraced?
    What! the balm of her breath shall another man taste?
    What! pressed in the dance by another's man's knee?
    What! panting recline on another than me?
    Sir, she's yours; you have pressed from the grape its fine blue,
    From the rosebud you've shaken the tremulous dew;
    What you've touched you may take. Pretty waltzer—adieu!
  • Such pains, such pleasures now alike are o'er,
    And beaus and etiquette shall soon exist no more
    At their speed behold advancing
    Modern men and women dancing;
    Step and dress alike express
    Above, below from heel to toe,
    Male and female awkwardness.
    Without a hoop, without a ruffle,
    One eternal jig and shuffle,
    Where's the air and where's the gait?
    Where's the feather in the hat?
    Where the frizzed toupee? and where
    Oh! where's the powder for the hair?
  • To brisk notes in cadence beating
    Glance their many-twinkling feet.
    • Thomas Gray, Progress of Poesy, Part I, Stanza 3, line 10.
  • And the dancing has begun now,
    And the dancers whirl round gaily
    In the waltz's giddy mazes,
    And the ground beneath them trembles.
  • Twelve dancers are dancing, and taking no rest,
    And closely their hands together are press'd;
    And soon as a dance has come to a close,
    Another begins, and each merrily goes.
  • He who esteems the Virginia reel
    A bait to draw saints from their spiritual weal,
    And regards the quadrille as a far greater knavery
    Than crushing His African children with slavery,
    Since all who take part in a waltz or cotillon
    Are mounted for hell on the devil's own pillion,
    Who, as every true orthodox Christian well knows,
    Approaches the heart through the door of the toes.
  • Come and trip it as ye go,
    On the light fantastic toe.
  • Dancing in the chequer'd shade.
  • Dear creature!—you'd swear
    When her delicate feet in the dance twinkle round,
    That her steps are of light, that her home is the air,
    And she only par complaisance touches the ground.
  • I know the romance, since it's over,
    'Twere idle, or worse, to recall;—
    I know you're a terrible rover;
    But, Clarence, you'll come to our ball.
  • I saw her at a country ball;
    There when the sound of flute and fiddle
    Gave signal sweet in that old hall,
    Of hands across and down the middle
    Hers was the subtlest spell by far
    Of all that sets young hearts romancing:
    She was our queen, our rose, our star;
    And when she danced—oh, heaven, her dancing!
  • He, perfect dancer, climbs the rope,
    And balances your fear and hope.
  • Once on a time, the wight Stupidity
    For his throne trembled,
    When he discovered in the brains of men
    Something like thoughts assembled,
    And so he searched for a plausible plan
    One of validity,—
    And racked his brains, if rack his brains he can
    None having, or a very few!
    At last he hit upon a way
    For putting to rout,
    And driving out
    From our dull clay
    These same intruders new—
    This Sense, these Thoughts, these Speculative ills—
    What could he do? He introduced quadrilles.
  • We are dancing on a volcano.
  • While his off-heel, insidiously aside,
    Provokes the caper which he seems to chide.
  • But O, she dances such a way!
    No sun upon an Easter-day,
    Is half so fine a sight.
  • Dance light, for my heart it lies under your feet, love.
  • And beautiful maidens moved down in the dance,
    With the magic of motion and sunshine of glance:
    And white arms wreathed lightly, and tresses fell free
    As the plumage of birds in some tropical tree.
  • Jack shall pipe, and Jill shall dance.

Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing


Larry Chang (2006). Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing. Gnosophia Publishers. p. 189. ISBN 978-0-9773391-0-5. 

  • Sports and fitness are not the only media of physical experience that use the body as a source of enjoyment, for in fact a broad range of activities on rhythmic or harmonious movements to generate flow. Among these dance is probably the oldest and most significant, both for its universal appeal and because of its potential complexity…But just as with athletics, one certainly need not become a professional to enjoy controlling the expressive potential of the body.
  • Dancing symbolizes the t rhythmic, patterned movements of life itself. Music and dance amplify and make manifest to our senses the unheard tones and unseen waves that weave together the matter of existence. Even when we are sitting most still or resting in deep sleep, the atoms, molecules, cells, tissues, organs and systems of our body dance in astounding harmony and exchange the ambient energies from air, water, food and invisible electromagnetic radiation.
  • Of what is the body made!
    It is made of emptiness and rhythm.
    At the ultimate heart of the body , at the heart of.
    the world there is no solidity…there is only the dance.
  • The truest expression of people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie.
  • The dance is strong magic. Te dance is spirit.It turns the body to liquid steel. It makes it vibratelike a guitar. The body can fly without wings. It can sing without voice. The dance is strong magic.


  • People dance because dance can change things. One move can bring people together. One move can set a whole generation free. One move can make you believe like you're something more. … Dance can give hope.
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