Dance, Space and Subjectivity

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I want to slow dance with you again. I want to dance with you forever. Sarah Black. I feel that the essence of dance is the expression of man, the landscape of his soul. I hope that every dance I do reveals something of myself or some wonderful thing a human can be. Patrick Swayze. Sometimes a choreographer wants you to have an idea, and sometimes you are the idea. Angel Corella. I had to learn that slower is faster. If you practice every day with patience and correctness, you will get there.

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. I have a fabulous life. It is interesting and rigorous. I work hard. So leave me alone. Watch my dust. Shut up. Mark Morris. I have performed for thousands when they found me exotic, the vogue, daring, but I have danced, at any given time, for about ten people…. They were the ones that left the theater forever different from the way they were when they came in.

All of my long, long life, I have danced for those ten. I just know that when I go on stage, I give everything I have, not only my legs, not only my feet, not only my body. I try to tell a story. Sylvie Gulliem. 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. That will destroy a performance. James Mitchell. I know that applause is food for the arts, but it ceases to be wholesome if administered indiscriminately; and the nutrition is so rich that, far from strengthening the constitution, it disturbs and enfeebles it.

Stage beginners are similar to those children totally spoiled by the blind affection of their parents. I learned to act by watching Martha Graham dance, and I learned to dance by watching Charlie Chaplin act. Louise Brooks. But my parents just say their prayers because they got used to it. Ali Shariati. I praise the dance, for it frees people from the heaviness of matter and binds the isolated to community.

I praise the dance, which demands everything: health and a clear spirit and a buoyant soul. Dance is a transformation of space, of time, of people, who are in constant danger of becoming all brain, will, or feeling. Dancing demands a whole person, one who is firmly anchored in the center of his life, who is not obsessed by lust for people and things and the demon of isolation in his own ego.

Dancing demands a freed person, one who vibrates with the equipoise of all his powers. I praise the dance. O man, learn to dance, or else the angels in heaven will not know what to do with you. Saint Augustine. I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what it too deep to find for words. I set as my goal to be the best dancer I could be.

The dancer

Not the most famous, or the highest paid dancer, just the best I could be. Out of this discipline came great freedom and calm. I should never conclude were I to speak to you of all the misfortunes which have their origin in the faulty carriage of the body. All these defects, mortifying for those who have contracted them, cannot be remedied except in their early stages.

A habit born in childhood is strengthened in youth, becomes deeply rooted in adulthood and is incurable in old age. Jean Georges Noverre. I think it was important that I learned to love to dance eventually for its own sake, as opposed to wanting to be a ballerina. I think most dancers would agree that the art of ballet chooses the dancer, not the other way around. 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. But then I thought to myself, how am I going to learn this? I watched her and counted. So I learned at a very young age how to pick up steps. This gave me a great advantage later on. I could learn choreography very quickly. And I did something else. I realized that if you watched his face, you got the reason, the intention, the answer to why he was doing the steps. I was very happy that I was as normal as possible before I went into serious dance.

I will make an average man into an average dancer, provided he be passably well made. I will teach him how to move his arms and legs, to turn his head. I will give him steadiness, brilliancy and speed; but I cannot endow him with that fire and intelligence, those graces and that expression of feeling which is the soul of true pantomime. I would have to challenge the term, modern dance. I simply think of it as dancing. I think of it as moving. I would like to make it clear from the start that these dances are primarily meant to be a kind of food for the eye. If they evoke dramatic images and riddles, the key to their solution lies not so much in the brain, but in the senses and the eye of the spectator.

Paul Taylor. I would like to tell all dancers to forget themselves and the desire for self-display. They must become completely absorbed in the dance. Even in a classical variation there should never be any thought of a dancer doing a variation — he should become identified with it. Anthony Tudor. I also struggle, tire and become discouraged. But what has always revived me…has been the rebirth of energy each time the creative process is awakened and artistic activity begins to unfold even in some infinitesimal measure.

Ann Halprin. If anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away. If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. John F. I see it as a body. If it were not for dreams there would not be such a thing as ballet, the cruelest of the performing arts. If one had to define one essential gift with which a dancer needs to be endowed, there might be a rush of answers.

A beautiful body, grace of line, graciousness of spirit, joy in the work, ability to please, unswerving integrity, relentless ambition towards some abstract perfection. Lincoln Kirstein. If our ballets be feeble, monotonous and dull, if they be devoid of ideas, meaning, expression and character, it is less the fault of the art than that of the artist. Jean George Noverre.

When you dance, you can enjoy the luxury of being you. Paulo Coelho. Christian M. George Bernard Shaw. If you look at a dancer in silence, his or her body will be the music. If you want to dance seriously, do. You must think about it day and night, dream about it, desire it.

Christa Justus. If man and woman can only dance upon this earth for a few countable turns of the sun… let each of us be an Artemis, Odysseus, or Zeus… Aphrodite to the extent of the will of each one. Roman Payne. In a dancer, there is a reverence for such forgotten things as the miracle of the small beautiful bones and their delicate strength. In a society that worships love, freedom and beauty, dance is sacred, it is a prayer for the future, a remembrance of the past and a joyful exclamation of thanks for the present. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes.

In order that our art may arrive at the degree of the sublime which I demand and hope for, it is imperative for dancers to divide their time and studies between the mind and the body, and that both become the object of their application; but, unfortunately, all is given to the latter and nothing to the former. The legs are rarely guided by the brain, and, since intelligence and taste do not reside in the feet, one often goes astray. In order to dance well, nothing is so important as the turning outwards of the thigh; and nothing is so natural to men as the contrary position.

In the pivotal moves of the dance, those in which the dance partners exchange leadership, the power of the dance can be seen to alternate as quickly as that of sweat-slick wrestlers or fate-heavy duelists. Dominance is always fragile and unsure; subjugation is merely quiescence in which to plot the regaining of the upper hand. Thus, energies of ego and control struggle in a psychomania in three dimensions on the dance floor. Richard Martin. It always takes two. Gillian Murphy. It is more important who they are as people and only then is it important who they are as dancers.

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Marcia Haydee. It is not so much upon the number of exercises, as the care with which they are done, that progress and skill depend. August Bournonville. It is not the movements that make a dance beautiful, it is the emotions that inspired the movement that make it beautiful. Kristy Nilsson. It is shameful that dancing should renounce the empire it might assert over the mind and only endeavor to please the sight. Jean Geroge Noverre. It takes ten years, usually, to make a dancer. It takes ten years of handling the instrument, handling the material with which you are dealing, for you to know it completely.

It was Anna Pavlova, and no one else, who opened the world to ballet. It was Pavlova who found and cultivated audiences for contemporary ballet companies. Her service to ballet is priceless. No other single human being did more for ballet than she. To all the millions of people for whom she danced she brought little of herself…what remains of Pavlova today is not a movement in the art, not a tendency, not even a series of dances. It is something far less concrete, but possibly more valuable: inspiration. Hilda Dutsova. It is the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance. And the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.

Bette Midler. Some will be boring or make you mad. Some you will wish you never needed to do again. But AHA! You think. I will dance all the dances I can. Or like the seed that when you plant it, becomes the enormous tree with leaves and fruit. Everybody was in that little seed, and so everything can open. The tree of dance is like that. It just takes a long, long time to blossom.

The speed of the turn is what keeps you upright. Deborah Bull. Jack Kerouac. William Edgar Stafford. We had all failed to understand. It just stopped the fear of death swallowing us up while we were still alive. Her dance had set me free. Jackie French. Learning to walk sets you free. Learning to dance gives you the greatest freedom of all: to express your whole self, the person you are. Melissa Hayden. Let us read and let us dance — two amusements that will never do any harm to the world. Letting go of perfectionism, so ingrained in the nature of a ballet dancer, can be the most difficult thing.

Life is sweet when you pay attention. Whitney Scott. Alexander Pope. Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering. Steve Maraboli. Long experience has taught me that the crux of my fortunes is whether I can radiate good will toward my audience.

There is only one way to do it and that is to feel it. You can fool the eyes and minds of the audience, but you cannot fool their hearts. Howard Thurston. Love is the key to success. Love is the most powerful source from which all creativity grows. I try to infuse my work with this magical ingredient, and when I do, everything is taken care of. Success comes when the intention to serve what you love and feel passionate about is realized.

You may not become financially successful or publicly celebrated, but that is not always the true measure of success. What makes me feel successful is using the gifts that have been bestowed upon me and giving them back In the form of entertainment. Tommy Tune. Man must speak, then sing, then dance. The speaking is the brain, the thinking man. The singing is the emotion. The dancing is the Dionysian ecstasy which carries away all. Isadora Duncan. Many other women kicked higher, balanced longer, or turned faster. These are poor substitutes for passion.

Agnes de Mille. Minor things can become moments of great revelation when encountered for the first time. Dame Margot Fonteyn. You see, their idea of time is related to those infinitely short moments when they are onstage being their superselves. Most people think of ballet as children in little tutus. Nan Keating. Movement never lies. John D. No artist is ahead of his time. He is time; the others are just behind the times. No dancer can watch Fred Astaire and not know that we all should have been in another business.

No matter the style, the farther one goes the more obstacles increase, and the more distant appears the object it is desired to attain. Again, the most strenuous labor affords the greatest artists but a disquieting gleam which only reveals their inadequacy, while the self-satisfied ignoramus surrounded by the deepest gloom flatters himself that he has nothing more to learn.

No one can arrive from being talented alone.


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God gives talent; work transforms talent into genius. Nothing so clearly and inevitably reveals the inner man than movement and gesture. It is quite possible, if one chooses, to conceal and dissimulate behind words or paintings or statues or other forms of human expression, but the moment you move you stand revealed, for good or ill, for what you are.

Doris Humphrey. Now I am going to reveal to you something which is very pure, a totally white thought. O body swayed to music; O brightening glance; How can we know the dancer from the dance?

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William Butler Yeats. Christian Johansson. On with the dance! To chase the glowing hours with flying feet. One can be a great artist without being a great technician. There have been many famous ballet stars who did not have the ideal body or total mastery of all aspects of the art form, but on the stage they possessed magnetism—true artistry, by which I mean a charismatic quality. You can work with a coach to try and develop it, but a true artist has the ability to express his inner feelings naturally.

Fernando Bujones. One is born to be a dancer. No teacher can work miracles, nor will years of training make a good dancer of an untalented pupil. Deepak Chopra. Our bodies are at once the receiving and transmitting stations for life itself. It is the highest wisdom to recognize this fact and train our bodies to render them sensitive and responsive to nature, art and religion.

Our classes are our practices. Our dance sneakers are our equipment. Our teacher is our coach. Our dance clothes are our jerseys. Our performances are our matches. Our audiences are our fans.

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Our concert is our tournament. The rhythm is our rule. Failure is our opponent; we will not lose. This is our game. This is our sport. Vala Yankovski. Our pointe shoes are our instruments. 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.

Our profession creates illusions. It is not a matter of having a perfect body, but of dancing in such a way as to look perfect. Wilheim Burmann. People tend to look at dancers like we are these little jewels, little cardboard cut-outs, and yet we have blood and guts and go through Hell. Susan Jaffe. This business is very subjective. Please send me your last pair of shoes, worn out with dancing as you mentioned in your letter, so that I might have something to press against my heart.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Poetry is like dancing. Not all of us can be ballet dancers, but all of us dance. Everyone has a poet inside of him struggling to get out. Marks and Spencer. 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. Righteous, I like that. Kinda fitting when you think about it. Physical agony is a normal thing backstage and arouses the awe and pity only of outsiders unused to its sight. She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar. Jane Fitch. So if the dance is five minutes long, make yourself run for perhaps eight minutes. That way, you over-train and the dance will seem easier…Deborah Bull.

So many dancers feel that what they look like is more important than who they are. This is a real danger for dancers who focus for years on appearances and think of themselves as merely a body. Alonzo King. So many dancers leave me untouched, unmoved. A dancer should be able to raise an arm and make someone cry, in the way Isadora Duncan did. It is a necessity for any art to move you. Pauline Koner. So many dancers rely on some sort of magic happening on the stage. They never, for various reasons, work full out in rehearsal. Benjamin Harkarvy. So, I think I would say, enjoy the process of learning to dance.

Socrates learned to dance when he was seventy because he felt that an essential part of himself had been neglected. Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can. Some people seem to think that good dancers are born, but all the good dancers I have known are taught or trained. Fred Astaire. Someone need not be perfect to be a great dancer — feeling a soul is more important than what the body can do. Someone once said that dancers work just as hard as policemen, always alert, always tense.

The flame ignites again. Ann Reinking. Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health — it rusts your spirit and your hips. Adabella Radici. Style is an afterthought, not something that is preconceived. 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. Only when you acknowledge the special moments can you truly feel the effects of your most wonderful achievements. Technical perfection is insufficient. It is an orphan without the true soul of the dancer. Sylvie Guillem. La Meri. Technique is what you need to do to dance well, principally to make it feel good to your partner. Style is everything else you do when you dance, hopefully to make it look good to your partner, and your audience.

David Barker. That which cannot be spoken can be sung; that which cannot be sung can be danced. French proverb. 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. Dance is the music made visible. You are the music! The ballet is a purely female thing. It is a woman, a garden of beautiful flowers, and man is the gardener.

The Ballet toe shoe is one of the few instruments of torture to survive intact into our time. The better dancers get, the crazier they are. James Waring. 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.

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. The choreographer and the dancer must remember that they reach the audience through the eye. The choreographer cannot deliberately make a ballet to appeal to an audience, he has to start from personal inspirations. He has to trust the ballet, to let it stand on its own strengths or fall on its weaknesses. If it reaches the audience, then he is lucky that round! Gerald Arpino. The choreographic process is exhausting. The dance exists exclusively in terms of the movement of the body, not only in the obvious sense that the dancer moves, but also in the less apparent sense that its response in the spectator is likewise a matter of body movement.

John Martin. The Dance instills in you something that sets you apart. Something heroic and remote. Edgar Degas. The dance is the mother of the arts.


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Music and poetry exist in time; painting and architecture in space. But the dance lives at once in time and space. Curt Sachs. Siobhan Davies. The dance, just as the performance of the actor, is kinesthetic art, art of the muscle sense. The awareness of tension and relaxation within his own body, the sense of balance that distinguishes the proud stability of the vertical from the risky adventures of thrusting and falling — these are the tools of the dancer.

Rudolf Arnheim. 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. 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. The defect in wisdom and taste which exists among the majority of dancers is due to the bad education which they generally receive.

They apply themselves only to the material side of their art, they learn to jump more or less high, they strive mechanically to execute a number of steps, and like children, who utter a great many words devoid of sense and relation, they execute many phrases of steps devoid of taste and grace. The defects born of habit are innumerable.

I see every child occupied in some way in disarranging and disfiguring his physique; some displace the ankles through the habit they have contracted of standing on one leg only and playing, as it were, with the other; placing it in a position which though disagreeable and strained, does not fatigue them, because the softness of their tendons and muscles lend themselves to all kinds of movement. The expression should come from within oneself, conveying the spiritual —something between earth and heaven.

And if one runs, one should not seem to touch the ground.

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Natalya Makarova. The first time I started choreographing was in the dark, in my living room, with the lights completely out, to some popular music on the radio. I put the radio on full blast and I started moving. The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed.

The journey between who you once were, and who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place. Barbara De Angelis. The main thing is dancing, and before it withers away from my body, I will keep dancing till the last moment, the last drop. Rudolph Nureyev. The Marquesan girls dance all over; not only do their feet dance, but their arms, hands, fingers, ay, their very eyes seem to dance in their heads.

Herman Melville. 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. The mother of the dance is the melody because she gives you everything, tells you everything you need to know, like a mother. The father of the dance is the rhythm and he is the strong one, the leader, the authority, as a father should be!

Tayyar Akdeniz. It means formidable technique not displayed lightly. The excitement comes from elegance. The first is imperative and the second disastrous. The purpose of art is higher than art. What we are really interested in are masterpieces of humanity. The really great dancer is perhaps a rarer phenomenon than great musicians, painters or sculptors. This is because dance is a consummation of all these arts. Subhas Chandran. 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. The trained dancer must not only have grace and elegance, but also the leap of an Olympic hurdler, the balance of a tight-rope walker and panther-like strength and agility. Camilla Jessel. The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie. The ultimate aim of all dance must be to move the whole being together in harmony. In this way the outer and the inner being will be harmonized.

Sue Ellen Campbell. The world loves a clone and a good knock-off. Then come the lights shining on you from above. You are a performer. You forget all you learned, the process of technique, the fear, the pain, you even forget who you are you become one with the music, the lights, indeed one with the dance. And finally, there are those who convert the body into a luminous fluidity, surrendering it to the inspiration of the soul.

There are times when the simple dignity of movement can fulfill the function of a volume of words. There are two basic elements to classical ballet. They are quality and quantity. Quantity is how much a dancer can physically do…the element that gives an artist the freedom to concentrate on quality, while quality is how he or she does it…quality of movement…the most difficult phase… requires long and arduous training. Igor Schwezof. He has to put in something in order to be able to take something.

There is a need to find and sing our own song, to stretch our limbs and shake them in a dance so wild that nothing can roost there, that stirs the yearning for solitary voyage. Barbara Lazear Ascher. There is only one success — to be able to spend your life in your own way. There was still no likelihood that we could make a living from dance.

We were doing it because we loved it… We realized how full we felt; we were surrounded by music and dancing and joy. Chris Scott. They dined on mince, and slices of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon; and hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon. Edward Lear. They who love dancing too much seem to have more brains in their feet than in their head. Dizzy Gillespie. Think of the magic of the foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests.

This art, born of genius and good taste, can become beautiful and varied to an infinite degree. This is not a pleasant route for many young people to consider. You have to be either hopelessly passionate, or very stupid. It takes time to get a dance right, to create something memorable. Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.

Angela Monet. Thousands of emotions well up inside me throughout the day. They are released when I dance. Abraham Lincoln. And, moreover, to succeed, the artist must possess the courageous soul… The brave soul. The soul that dares and defies. Kate Chopin. To be creative means to be in love with life.

Dance, space and subjectivity

You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it. To change the world, you must first change yourself. To dance is to be out of yourself, larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking. To dance is to challenge the body which is also the self. To generate an action which has a force of its own and allow the movement to penetrate the inner sensibilities, or to calculate the action and try to tune out—this is difficult, perhaps impossible.

Book Pages: Illustrations: 35 illustrations Published: April Drawing on fieldwork in Johannesburg's nightclubs and analyses of musical performances and recordings, Livermon applies a black queer and black feminist studies framework to Kwaito. He shows how Kwaito culture operates as an alternative politics that challenges the dominant constructions of gender and sexuality. Artists such as Lebo Mathosa and Mandoza rescripted notions of acceptable femininity and masculinity, while groups like Boom Shaka enunciated an Afro-diasporic politics. In these ways, Kwaito culture recontextualizes practices and notions of freedom within the social constraints that the legacies of colonialism, apartheid, and economic inequality place upon young South Africans.

At the same time, it speaks to the ways in which these legacies reverberate between cosmopolitan Johannesburg and the diaspora. In foregrounding this dynamic, Livermon demonstrates that Kwaito culture operates as a site to understand the triumphs, challenges, and politics of post-apartheid South Africa.

Paperback Cloth. Availability: Not in Stock. Open Access. Request a desk or exam copy. Table of Contents Back to Top. Rights Back to Top. Awards Back to Top. Additional Information Back to Top. Also Viewed.



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