September 18 ~  Made Known Silently No Intermissions: Life of Agnes De Mille

"No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made, Destiny is made known silently." ~ Agnes De Mille

Agnes De Mille

Born on this day in New York City, acclaimed choreographer Agnes George De Mille (1909-1993) At age 12, she witnessed the performance of the beautiful legendary ballerina Anna Pavlova.

The experience, De Mille said, "burned in a single afternoon a path over which I could never retrace my steps."

In 1943, she danced the lead in Rodeo at the Metroplitan Opera House and received a staggering 27 curtain calls.

From there, De Mille created innovative folk-ballet routines for Oklahoma! (1943) and Carousel (1945), winning the 1947 Tony award for her choreography in the play Brigadoon.

"Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark," she once said.

With passion and vision, she created new ways to dance. A taskmaster who balked at excuses and anything less than excellence, she once advised students, "Dance in the body you have."

Often, she believed dance could tell the story better than dialogue and let her steps speak her story. "She was a bearer of great thought and light for all of us to bask in," praised dancer Tommy Tune.

An advocate for dance as an artform in America, she helped establish the Heritage Dance Theater at North Carolina School of Arts. De Mille explained: "One of the good things about having some recognition is that I can do something for the people I think ought to have more, and correct some of the matters fate fails to take care of."

More Dance Quotations

Agnes De MilleUse the silence to shine.