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More Dance Quotations

Go to Quotes from 

  Mary Dart Pat Murphy
  Ballroom Dancing by Stephenson & Iacarrino
  Richard Kraus Various Sources

 Contra Dance Choreography   by Mary Dart

Figure dances   make use of group movements
                    And patterns
No complex stepping patterns    or
           Intricate body movements.

Social Dance        rather than
       Performance dance.

George Marshall: "It seems to be hard wired into our pleasure centers to move to music".

Dancers are coming to socialize,
          To meet members of the opposite sex.
Caller needs to provide dances
          In which there are
Satisfying interactions with those people.


 Toss the Feathers,   by Pat Murphy

Emotion stimulates the body into movement.
          Though civilization & conditioning have taught people
to suppress this natural response
                    the desire is still there.

A pleasant exercise of the body bringing into use
          both mind and muscle
directing physical energy into a rhythmic pattern.

The closed circle was probably the earliest and simplest form of dance.
All present entered into the ritual of circling the object of worship
so that the power believed to be present in it would be preserved and used successfully.

        The Celts are said to have danced
clockwise in circles         on happy occasions
        anticlockwise in circles        when mourning.

Webster’s Dictionary      says
       the reel comes from ragla        which means to stagger
       incline       or move       in walking
       first to one side            then to the other.
Another source gives its origin as
       the Anglo-Saxon rulla        meaning to whirl.

Let foreigners brag and crow
That dancing’s their devotion
‘Tis little the craychures knoe
Of the poetry of motion;
Their polkas and quadrilles
Are nothing else but prancing’,
An’ Irish jigs and reels,
The King and Queen of dancin’.

In 1416, one famous master, Domenico de Pacienza,
       said that a good dancer required
              ‘a sense of rhythm and space
       a good memory, agility and grace’.

‘Dancing is practiced in order to reveal whether lovers are in good health       sound of limb
after which they are permitted to kiss their mistresses
in order that they may touch and savour one another
      thus to ascertain if they are shapely
or emit an unpleasant odour as of bad meat.’

Ladies were particularly likely to be denounced
       if they were known to favour dancing.

A Parisian dancing-master named Cellarius
      is said to have recorded one hundred cotillion figures in his booklet. Among the games included were:
La Conversation, where gents were invited
      to speak a sentence to impress a lady
              the winner dancing with her.
La Trompeuse, where a lady flirted with one gent
      then danced with another.
La Paraplui, where two gents approached a lady
      and she handed her umbrella to one and danced with the other.
The one with the umbrella had to hold it over the dancing couple
      for the duration of the dance.

The French term, quadrille,
              is derived from the Italian quadriglia
       a group of horsemen who formed a square
              when taking part in a tournament.

The first quadrilles had intricate steps and terms
      developed by French dancing-masters
      and nowadays associated with ballroom dancing.
French terms such as jetté, chassé, assemblé,
              balance, and changement de jambe were used.
It would appear that these were beyond the capability
      of all but the most talented and dedicated dancer
so the steps gradually disappeared
all except the easy walking step known as the pas marche.


The Complete Book of Ballroom Dancing   by Stephenson & Iacarrino

Dancing is an integral part of life itself

Male birds don brilliant colors and dance
      during the mating season

Anthropoid apes dance
       sometimes forming circles
              and parading around a tree post.

No primitive tribe has been discovered
      in which dancing      was not
             an important of the tribal culture.

There is no ancient civilization
              of which we have record
       that did not know dancing.

A survey of married couples in England showed
      that a large percentage of them
             had first met on the dance floor.

 From History of the Dance   by Richard Kraus

Aristotle defined education as a blend of music & gymnastics

Socrates: “Those who honor the Gods most beautifully in dance
              are best in war.

Greek artist Lucian: “the most noble & greatest personages
              in every city are the dancers”

The Roman Cicero: For no man, one may almost say, ever dances
              when sober, unless perhaps he be a madman


Dance Quotations from Various Sources

Music washes away
       From the soul
The dust of everyday life

Music makes people kinder, gentler,
       More staid & reasonable

       Through Music
       The Passions
              Enjoy Themselves       (Nietzche)

Sex (Dance): An emotion in motion

The truest expression of a people is in its dances and its music.
       Bodies never lie.

Music can open up spaces in our hearts that we didn’t know we even had      --     Sister Prejean

This juxtaposition of sounds can affect our souls

The whole point of being a serious musician
       is to avoid verbalization whenever you can.

Freedom? To move inside what space confines
       (Robert Frost: moving easy in harness)

Isadora Duncan: The Divine expression of the human spirit through
              the medium of the body’s movement.

Figure dances use group movements & patterns.
       No complex stepping patterns or intricate body movements.
Social dances rather than performance dances

Sociologists pointed out that Dance is seen as a profoundly important social experience -- a powerful rite shared by all members of the culture and essential to its well being.

Margaret Mead: Dancing is the only activity in which
       almost all ages and both sexes participate

Among primitive peoples one of the great purposes of dance was to establish social unity and provide a means of collective strength & purpose.

Dance: The need to express oneself through rhythmic play
       and through exploration of
one’s bodily powers and physical environment

It has a unique capacity to blend the physical & emotional aspects of our
       being in an integrated expression.
       The ability to release one’s feelings in this way
Is a deeply therapeutic and healthful function.

Psychoanalist Joost Merloo suggests dance is such a widely found form of 
      human expression and emotional release

that those who cannot dance are “imprisoned in their own ego.”

William Stafford: Kids, they dance before they learn
              there is anything that isn’t music

Dance lets man rediscover his body as a tool of expression

Enriching life, expressing man’s deepest mood

Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is no mere translation or abstraction from life, it is life itself.

The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought

People who learn to dance well always have bigger bolder movements.
People who learn to sing well always have richer rounder voices

Nature gives us limbs and art teaches us to use them

A good dance should include respect and importance for partner
Flirtatious possibilities, plenty of activity, and above all grace
A smooth flowing statement emphasizing the dancers real life predicament
In short, an eight minute marriage.

It is possible to have a good time with:
       A poor MC       An awful hall
       No refreshments or drinks.
You can never have a good time       With Bad Music

Minuet: Nobody ventures unless he has been taught the Art
Contras: Pastime, Social Game -- A chance community
       Without serious purpose       Without Art

Charm of European dances:       Contact of Man & Woman
       Common Rhythm & Harmony of Movement
       Physical Duet       Unison of Motion
One dances for oneself       Not for others  

Something is missing from dancing today
              A guaranteed sociability
Where the dancing       provides a real opportunity
       To enjoy the company       of everybody else in the hall  

Modern dancers       give
       A sinister portent       about our time
They don’t even look at one another
       Just a lot of isolated individuals
       Juggling       in a kind of self hypnosis
Dancing with others       only to remind themselves
       That       we are not completely
              Alone in this world

These old dances have a
       Really delightful social element
In that each couple progresses
       To a new place in the set
              And dances
With a new couple
       At each repetition
              Of the figure

Dances for a group of people
       Rather than
              For couples alone
You still had a partner
       But you were
       In a Set
A big circle, A long line
       A square
With the rest of your friends
There were few steps
       to remember
The pleasure
       Came from
The patterns       and figures
       You made

Couples must move
       To the same melody
       Over & over again
In the same figure pattern

Primitive    Underlying   Theme
       Love       Combat
Approaching       Retreating
       Separating       Uniting

To impose    Upon a chance gathering
       Of a few dozen guests
A communal feeling

Exaltation    Surrender
       Extinction of       the world
              Round about

Smooth interweaving of the figures
       Harmonious cooperation    of the couples

When the heart is glad
       The feet are ready to dance
              (I say:
When the feet dance
       The heart is glad)

       Dancer’s Body
Luminous manifestation of the soul

It’s   a   wonderful    thing
       To be able to dance
              To tell
Your body what you
       Want it to do

Do the steps you’ve been shown
       By everyone you’ve ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own    (Jackson Brown)

       Dance -- A little insanity
               That does us all
        A lot of good

       Introduce yourself
You could be dancing
       With your future

       Dance is the only sport
       Where a man can touch a woman
       Over most parts of her body
       She thanks you for it afterwards

The smile of the limbs

Life without Music    Unthinkable
Music without Life    Academic

When you perform you are out
Of yourself       Larger more Potent

Dance    Hidden language of
       The soul of the body

Than dancing there is no species of exercise which can be taken
within doors more cheering to the mind, and renovating to the body
The music alone has remarkable power over many individuals
In soothing the mind and equalizing the passions.




Copyright © 2006
Henry Morgenstein

email:   henry @ henryandjacqui,com_

Henry's Home PageDance Quotes 1Life Changing QuotesLinks to trad. dance related sitesAnnotated Bibliography