Quotes (17)

  • "He [George Balanchine] had worked with dancers whose legs were thinner and went higher and could turn and jump better. I didn't think I excelled in anything at that time. I even asked him, 'What do you see in me?' I thought everyone looked better than I did. He said, 'You moved different; I like the way you move'".
  • I organized a ballet company from the girls in my ballet class. I called it the NYCB [New York City Ballet] Juniors.... I was twelve and my dancers were ten. I made up nice little dances for them, tutu roles. They would be the snowflakes, and I would be the snowman. I was the boss because I organized the company and I was the tallest. Dance magazine used to publish 'directions' or notations for various dances, and once I deciphered a dance from 'Swan Lake' for my company.
  • I was a kind of good jack-of-all trades, which could be very dull indeed except for the one thing I did have, probably the thing Diana had seen in Cincinnati: I could move, and if I could incorporate what Balanchine wanted with my movement, it might blossom into something --it could be anything. I think that was interesting to Balanchine. With no image to uphold and no glory in any single area of technique, I never had the debilitating worry that I might lose my strongest point.
  • I can never hope to make a lot of money. But I only need enough for cat food [she has nine] and the apartment. Union stagehands get much more for pushing a button than what most dancers get.
  • There is pain and sacrifice in everyone's world. That's why, when I was dancing, I had no pain.
  • Dancers are a great breed of people. And they really want to dance so you don't have to beg them to work. However, dancers sometimes build walls around themselves because they are presenting themselves all the time: dancing is very much a confession.
  • I set as my goal to be the best dancer I could be. Not the most famous, or the highest paid dancer, just the best I could be. Out of this discipline came great freedom and calm.
  • 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.
  • Fifth positions, heads, musicality, energy. Not technical things so much-getting your leg higher or doing more turns but things that would set you apart from other dancers. The only way you can be different is to be yourself if you don't find your spirit and reveal it, you just look like every other dancer.
  • After I stopped dancing, I was unable to listen to beautiful music.
  • I liked to read but, being a dancer, I didn't have a lot of time to read.
  • Even though I am a professional, and I know what the steps are, I don't quite know how I'm going to do them, because I haven't lived that moment yet. I always feel very insecure and I get very excited.
  • Treat each class as if it were your first.
  • 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 bypassed girlhood. Dancing was all I knew. There were no romances, not even any girlfriends. What did I feel for Mr. B., for Paul? Nothing that comes under the heading of normal feelings, nothing that can be expressed in words. I don't know if I understand, for instance, what sexual attraction is. Everything was so confused. The only place I had sanity was onstage. Dancing kept me from going crazy. And luckily we were creating one ballet after another, working very, very hard.
  • The whole ballerina or star issue is an ego thing and beside the point for me. The act of dancing is what matters. I have been enormously lucky to realize my desire at so high a level.
  • Plie is the first thing you learn and the last thing you master.