Critiquing City Ballet principals at rehearsal in 1955 or 1961 or 1973, George Balanchine said, “Dance. Don’t pretend to dance.”
And a little later but not much later, Bette Davis admitted, “I never learned to dance.” This was at the end of a career in which — as a movie star of Hollywood’s Golden period — she had been obliged to do a lot of dancing. “So I faked it. And fake dancing is harder to do, a lot harder, than real dancing.”
I may have Ms Davis’s exact wording slightly wrong, but I’m close. You can check if you like. I believe the remark is recorded — presumably with exactness — in David Thomson’s lovely little Great Stars monograph Bette Davis, (Macmillan, 2010).
As to Balanchine’s stunning insight, I’m as close as possible. It was relayed to me by Conrad Ludlow some years after Ludlow’s retirement from the company. Suki Schorer reiterated the quotation word for word in Balanchine Technique (Knopf-Doubleday, 1999).