Life is obstinate and clings closest where it is most hated.Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
- At 14, I discovered girls. At that time, dancing was the only way you could put your arm around the girl. Dancing was courtship. Only later did I discover that you dance joy. You dance love. You dance dreams.
- Fred Astaire represented the aristocracy, I represented the proletariat.
- I didn't want to be a dancer... I just did it to work my way through college. But I was always an athlete and gymnast, so it came naturally.
- I [was] twenty pounds overweight and as strong as an ox. But if I put on a white tails and tux like Astaire, I still looked like a truck driver... I looked better in a sweatshirt and loafers anyway. It wasn't elegant, but it was me.
- I wasn't very nice to Debbie. It's a wonder she still speaks to me.
- In the 1930s, when I started, Martha Graham was the only dancer doing anything modern, but she did it all to classical music. I couldn't see myself doing Swan Lake every night, and I wanted to develop a truly American style. The only dancer in the movies at that time with any success was Fred Astaire, but he did very small, elegant steps in a top hat, white tie, and tails.
- The way I look at a musical, you are commenting on the human condition no matter what you do. A musical may be light and frivolous, but by its very nature, it makes some kind of social comment.