100 Inspirational Ballet Quotes For Aspiring Dancers

Georgia Stone
Dec 12, 2023 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Feb 03, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Classical ballet performed by a couple of ballet dancers on the stage of the opera house.

Ballet is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the 15th century.

The art of ballet is known to teach life-skills like perseverance, dedication, motivation, work ethic, stamina, and strength. All its dancers need to work hard with their technique while learning ballet, but the results are always worth it.

Ballet is special because it allows dancers to spread their wings and fly through their different performances and choreographies. Anna Pavlov was the first-ever world famous ballerina from the 19th century and other legendary ballet dancers are Alicia Markova, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, George Balanchine, and more who make ballet treasured all across the world.

Ballet dancing quotes can be inspiring, especially when they come directly from famous ballerinas and performers.

If you want more on the ways of a dancer's life, do check dance quotes and dancer quotes.

Motivational Quotes About Ballet

Every beginner dancer needs motivation when they start to learn. These quotes based on ballet will bolster that motivation for beginners.

1. "...The art of ballet chooses the dancer, not the other way around."

- Kevin McKenzie.

2. "The ballet is a purely female thing. It is a woman, a garden of beautiful flowers, and man is the gardener."

- George Balanchine.

3. "Ballet: something pure in this crazy world."

- Misty Copeland.

4. "Ballet technique is arbitrary and very difficult."

- Agnes De Mille.

5. "Dance design is not simply one element; it is that without which ballet cannot exist."

- Lincoln Kirstein.

6. "The only way to do it is to do it."

- Merce Cunningham.

7. "Ballet is ultimately a logical technique; it favors the shortest, most efficient route from one position into another."

- Anna Paskevska.

8. "Technical perfection is insufficient. It is an orphan without the true soul of the dancer."

- Sylvie Guillem.

9. "Even if you weren’t born with a genetically perfect body, you can take something like a hand, where everyone has the same capabilities, and you can make it speak."

- Sarah Lamb.

10. "When ballet takes to the sea, even the sunset comes to take a sneak peek."    

- Anthony T. Hinck.

11. "Ballet is like a rose. It is beautiful and you admire it, but you don't ask what it means."

- George Balanchine.

Quotes About Dance And Ballet By Famous Dancers

Portrait of cute blue-eyed baby ballerina in pink leotard and big pointe shoes standing near the ballet barre.

Dance can never go out of a dancer's life. Quotes by the best dancers will encourage the dance prodigy in you.

12. "No one can arrive from being talented alone. God gives talent; work transforms talent into genius."

- Anna Pavlova.

13. "On the plié and rélevé is based the whole structure of the classical ballet."

- Christian Johansson.

14. "Ballet is not just movement, not simply abstract. It’s something beautiful."

-Nina Ananiashvili.

15. "Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion."

- Martha Graham.

16. "It takes an athlete to dance, but an artist to be a dancer."

- Shanna LaFleur.

17. "Learning ballet is wonderful for children... because it teaches discipline, grace, and manners."

- Anna Paskevska.

18. "Ballet will speak for itself."

- George Balanchine.

19. "Ballet is a universe of the imagination, a place of magic and enchantment, beauty and romance."

- Trudy Garfunkel.

20. "Treat each class as if it were your first."

- Suzanne Farrell.

21. "The purpose of art is higher than art. What we are really interested in are masterpieces of humanity."

- Alonzo King.

22. "The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure."

- Mikhail Baryshnikov.

23. "Ballet is like writing poetry with your body."

- Elif Shafak.

24. "Ballet shoes... I cannot play with them like they're toys. But when the music is playing they get deep on my toes."

- Ana Claudia Antunes.

25. "Ballet dancing is arduous, strenuous activity..."

- George Balanchine.

26. "Ballet is the body rising. Ballet is ceremonial and hieratic."

- Camille Paglia.

27. "Ballet is purifying, every movement physically honed and essential, with no superfluity or excess."

- Jennifer Homans.

Famous Ballet Quotes To Feel Inspired

Here are a few famous quotes that a teacher can put up in ballet class for children to feel inspired about the art they are learning.

28. "Think of the magic of the foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It’s a miracle, and the dance is a celebration of that miracle."

- Martha Graham.

29. "Plié is the first thing you learn and the last thing you master."

- Suzanne Farrell.

30. "Beauty, like male ballet dancers, makes some men afraid."    

- Mordecai Richler.

31. "The domain of the ballet dancer is not earth but air."

- Lincoln Kirstein.

32. "Ballet is not a technique but a way of expression that comes more closely to the inner language of man than any other."

- George Borodin.

33. "What’s so wonderful about ballet is that... it's almost a Greek ideal of body, mind, and form."

- Edward Villella.

34. "The dance world is too small in lots of ways – it’s too intense, it rattles around itself, and it needs exposing to other ideas."

- Siobhan Davies.

35. "The mechanics of épaulement are what gives ballet its inner transitions."

- William Forsythe.

36. "To dance is to be out of yourself."

- Agnes De Mille.

37. "Ballet is a perfect medium for the expression of spiritual love."    

- Ayn Rand.

38. "Ballet is created on beautiful lines and shapes."

- Martin Fridmann.

39. "Ballet is a dance executed by the human soul."

- Alexander Pushkin.

40. "Ballet's image of perfection is fashioned amid a milieu of wracked bodies, fevered imaginations, Balkan intrigue, and sulfurous hatreds where anything is likely, and dancers know it."

- Shana Alexander.

41. "You can't put ballet into words. That's why we dance."

- Suzanne Farrell.

42. "At the ballet, you really feel like you're in the presence of something outside the rest of your life."

- Robert Caro.

43. "All ballet is dance, but not all dance is ballet."

- Robin Rinaldi.

Humorous Ballet Dance Quotes To Share

Every art form has some funny aspect to it. Here are a few funny quotes on ballet that you can share with your friends for a giggle in class or before a performance to release pressure.

44. "Ballet is only good when it is great."

- Arlene Croce.

45. "A pas de deux is a dialogue of love. How can there be a conversation if one partner is dumb?"

- Rudolf Nureyev.

46. "All ballet galas are unbearable, but they're unbearable in different ways."    

- Robert Gottlieb.

47. "People say about the ballet that our daily physical routine is like working in a coal mine."

- Diana Vishneva.

48. "Dancing is wonderful training for girls. It's the first way you learn to guess what a man is going to do before he does it."

- Christopher Morley.

49. "It's not magic! It's physics. The speed of the turn is what keeps you upright."

- Deborah Bull.

50. "Ballet is good because it makes you stand up tall."  

- Carine Roitfeld.

51. "I do ballet because it has nothing to do with the people. Give me tiaras and boys in tights any day."

-  Erik Jones.

52. "Ballet is the fairies' baseball."

- Oscar Levant.

53. "You go to the ballet and you see girls dancing on their tiptoes. Why don't they just get taller girls?"

- Greg Ray.

54. "I don't understand anything about the ballet; all I know is that during the intervals the ballerinas stink like horses."

- Anton Chekhov.

55. "Only angels and ballerinas dance on their toes."

- David Ira Rottenberg.

56. "Ballet is the one form of theater where nobody speaks a foolish word all evening, nobody on the stage at least."

- Edwin Denby.

57. "There are no mothers-in-law in ballet."

- George Balanchine.

58. "To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other."

- Jack Handy.

59. "Most people think of ballet as children in little tutus. They don't know it is sweat, blood, and tears as well!"

- Nan Keating.

60. "I can see why they named that ballet the Nutcracker. It’s gotta hurt having ‘em crushed in something that tight."

- Mark Cooper.

Ballet Dancer Inspiration Quotes About Experience

Right from the Bloch toe shoes, to the incorporation of ballet in jazz, hip-hop, the people who learn ballet have a lot of experience to share through their quotes. This list will motivate you right away.

61. "I could never make a ballet by wrinkling my brow and concentrating..."

- George Balanchine.

62. "Our pointe shoes are our instruments. If something’s wrong with my feet, all my mind goes there."

- Nina Ananiashvili.

63. "Ballet is such a disciplined craft and it has given me a good grounding."

- Jennifer Ellison.

64. "Technique–bodily control–must be mastered only because the body must not stand in the way of the soul’s expression."

- La Meri.

65. "A ballerina takes steps given to her and makes them her own."

- Maria Tallchief.

66. "Ballet is not a film, so when there's a live broadcast I feel unusual emotions."

- Svetlana Zakharova.

67. "There comes a moment in a young artist's life when he knows he has to bring something to the stage from within himself."

- Mikhail Baryshnikov.

68. "Ballet is ultimately a logical technique; it favors the shortest, most efficient route from one position into another."

- Anna Paskevska.

69. "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… I have danced for those ten."

- Ruth St. Denis.

70. "A lot of people insisted on a wall between modern dance and ballet. I’m beginning to think that walls are very unhealthy things."

- Twyla Tharp.

71. "If our ballets are feeble, monotonous, and dull, if they are devoid of ideas, meaning, expression and character, it is less the fault of the art than that of the artist."

- J.G. Noverre.

72. "A dancer, more than any other human being, dies two deaths: the first, the physical when the powerfully trained body will no longer respond as you would wish..."

- Martha Graham.

73. "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."

- Sylvie Guillem.

A Ballet Quotes Collection To Remember For Life

Always find a quote to stick to throughout your life for inspiration. One of these ballet quotes could be that source of inspiration to you in your journey to becoming a ballerina.

74. "Ballet is important and significant – yes. But first of all, it is a pleasure."

- George Balanchine.

75. "Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."

- Edgar Degas.

76. "When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way."

- Wayne Dyer.

77. "A real ballerina must fill her space with her own personality."    

- Natalia Makarova.

78. "A brand-new pair of toe shoes presents itself to us as an enemy with a will of its own that must be tamed."

- Toni Bentley.

79. "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 center of gravity, poise lifts the whole being to a point so delicate that it almost defies definition…"

- Ruby Ginner.

80. "The physical language of the body is so much more powerful than words."

- Bill Irwin.

81. "When one lifts a ballerina, it is not her weight but her nature that causes the problem."

- Maris Liepa.

82. "The discipline that ballet requires is obsessive... only the ones who dedicate their whole lives are able to make it."

- Penelope Cruz.

83. "A toe shoe is as eccentric as the ballerina who wears it: their marriage is a commitment."

- Toni Bentley.

84. "Ballet class is like Life Lessons 101. You learn some of life’s most important lessons here that you will carry with you forever."

- Joanne H. Morsche.

85. "Everything cannot be conveyed by ballet, only those things which can be shown on the stage."

- George Balanchine.

86. "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."

- Suzanne Farrell.

87. "When you take dancing lessons, you learn steps and you learn steps and you learn steps. It can go on for a long time. And then one day, you just learn to dance, and it is so different."

- Bill Austin.

88. "You don’t have to know about ballet to enjoy it, all you have to do is look at it."

- Edwin Denby.

89. "The choreographer and the dancer must remember that they reach the audience through the eye. It’s the illusion created which convinces the audience, much as it is with the work of a magician."

- George Balanchine.

90. "Even the ears must dance.

- Natalia Makarova.

91. "Ballerinas are conditioned from a young age to accept self-sacrifice as an integral part of the art form."

- Deirdre Kelly.

92. "Dance is the only art of which we ourselves are the stuff of which it is made."

- Ted Shawn.

Famous Ballet Movie And Book Quotes

Don't miss out on the quality collection of ballet dance quotes from popular ballet movies and books.

93. "The only person standing in your way is you."

- Thomas, 'The Black Swan'.

94. "I’m going to be everything I want to be."

- Felicie, 'Leap'.

95. "Everything will be better in the morning. It always is"

- Erica, 'The Black Swan'.

96. "Perfection is not just about control. It's also about letting go."

- Thomas, 'The Black Swan'.

97. "Every girl in this room has a chance to dance in my new ballet."

- Merante, 'Leap'.

98. "I was dancing the White Swan."

- Nina, 'The Black Swan'.

99. "It was all very well to be ambitious, but ambition should not kill the nice qualities in you."

- Noel Streatfeild, 'Ballet Shoes'.

100. "No matter what happens, never give up on your dreams. You can do it."

- Odette, 'Leap'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for ballet quotes then why not take a look at our dancing in the rain quotes, or theatre quotes?

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Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

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Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

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