#MotivationMonday: "Why I Dance" Edition

May 15, 2016

Whether it’s the end of your semester, the beginning of your season or just another long day of rehearsals, we can all agree that Mondays often require a little extra motivation. Thankfully, we’ve got just the cure for your Monday blues. Every month, top dancers and choreographers contribute to our “Why I Dance,” column, musing on what keeps them going in this challenging career path, and why they came to it in the first place. Show Monday who’s boss and get moving with inspirational words from some of our favorite entries.

Matthew Rushing in Love Songs by Alvin Ailey. Photo by Andrew Eccles.


“I dance out of an overwhelming feeling of necessity. Dance is literally a form of life to me, and I can’t imagine functioning without it!” — Matthew Rushing, former dancer and rehearsal director at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater



“Dance has the ability to bring people of many backgrounds together for one shared experience. It creates community.” — Kara Wilkes, Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancer




Steven McRae in David Dawson’s The Human Seasons. Photo by Bill Cooper, courtesy ROH.

The element of fear and the need to act quickly on the spur of the moment are part of what I adore about performing. No matter how prepared you are, when that curtain goes up, anything is possible.” — Steven McRae, principal dancer with The Royal Ballet


“I believe in the healing power of art—and dance in particular. I see the body as a political and emotional force. I love using mine as an expressive power. There is too much normalcy and puritanism in our culture; dance artists need to shake things up and enable people to see other possibilities for their bodies and lives.” — David Dorfman, performer, choreographer and artistic director at David Dorfman Dance


Dorrance performing in The Blues Project at Jacob’s Pillow. Photo by Christopher Duggan.

“I dance to simultaneously lose myself and be myself.” — Michelle Dorrance, tap innovator and director, Dorrance Dance


I dance to empty my mind and discover something new, whether it is in my environment, my partner, or my impulses. Dancing is an affirmation. It is a revealing act. I dance to be seen. I dance to find truth.” — Rashaun Mitchell, freelance choreographer and performer


For me, dance and life are so inextricably intertwined that it becomes difficult to answer this question in a straightforward way. Why do I dance? I dance because it’s such a big part of me that I have no other choice. But the real answer to this question is an obvious one: I dance because I love it.” — Isabella Boylston, American Ballet Theatre principal

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