Who is a dancer?

When a dancer comes onstage, he is not just a blank slate that the choreographer has written on. Behind him he has all the decisions he has made in life. He has already met a million forks in the road. Each time, he has chosen, and in what he is onstage you see the result of those choices. You are looking at the person he is, the person who, at this point, he cannot help but be. All the experiences he has had as a child and as a teen-ager, all the images that his body has accumulated, these come up as colors in the dancing, giving it sparkle and complexity. They come out through the eyes, through the pores.

Exceptional dancers, in my experience, are also exceptional people, people with an attitude toward life, a kind of quest, and an internal quality. They know who they are, and they show this to you, willingly.


-Mikhail Baryshnikov


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