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Words of Wisdom From Our Fave Dance Artists to Start the New Year

Photo by Brooke Lark via Unsplash

Happy New Year! Whether or not resolutions are your thing, I always find that a bit of wisdom from the people I admire is a great way to start the year. Here are some favorite nuggets from eight dancers, choreographers and directors who have appeared in our pages over the last year.


Dancer Robert Fairchild on not being intimidated by stepping out of his comfort zone:

Fairchild in Justin Peck's In Creases. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy New York City Ballet

"I've always been of the mindset that you can't live in fear."


Choreographer Troy Schumacher on why he loves collaborating with artists who work in different mediums:

Schumacher in rehearsal. Photo by Kyle Froman for Pointe

"Every time I come out of one of these projects, we learn something that we wouldn't have learned just working on our own. You give feedback to other art forms and other forms give feedback to you."


Artistic director Paloma Herrera on stepping into a new job:

Herrera in the studio. Photo by La Nación/Maximilliano Armena, Courtesy La Nación

"I use the same formula that served me well during my entire career. It's simple: pure hard work, and a love for what we do."


Choreographer Gemma Bond on what drives her dancemaking:

Bond working with Cassandra Trenary. Photo by Kyle Froman for Pointe

"For me it's more about the intent behind the steps—Why are you running to the corner? What are you saying when you run to the corner? How fast are you running? I want the audience to get the feeling behind the steps without having to look at a synopsis."


Broadway luminary Donna McKechnie on why she's still dancing at 75:

McKechnie. Photo by Kurt Sneddon, Courtesy McKechnie

"I want to be a living example for people to keep dancing and moving. I take ballet class five times a week—if you don't, you lose it. I do the whole barre. If you do a ballet barre correctly, I can't think of anything harder."


Choreographer Andrea Kleine on allowing limitations feed your work:

Kleine's 2014 Screening Room... Photo by Brian Rogers, Courtesy Chocolate Factory Theater

"I'm more interested now in working with the limitations of a project, rather than fighting them. When I was younger, I would have a vision and just throw my credit card down and be like, "Let's make it happen!" and then spend the next two years paying off debt. I'm not interested in doing that anymore."


Choreographer and director John Neumeier on what makes a ballet meaningful:

Neumeier's costume rendering for his 2017 Orphée et Eurydice. Photo courtesy Lyric Opera of Chicago.

"Whether it's a story or a symphonic work, ballet is an art of the present tense. When the curtain goes up, we're interested in and moved by the people we see—not by their historical or literary sources."


Choreographer David Dorfman on why art matters:

Dorfman's first foray into choreographing for Broadway was for the play Indecent. Photo by Carol Rosegg, Courtesy Connecticut College

"How do you have hope for a future that's hopefully filled with love? Can we use love to drive something that we might have as much distrust in as politics? I think a lot of us are thinking that now. It's often theater that helps us see how we express humanity."

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