Dance History Quiz | Good Luck?

Fun facts for teachers & students

What do dancers say before a performance?

a. Break a leg
b. Good luck
c. Nostrovia
d. Merde

d. Merde

According to, dancers are the only performers who wish each other well pre-show with “merde.” Actors and musicians use “break a leg”; longstanding theater superstition prevents any stage performer from using the generic “good luck.” It’s believed that the use of “merde” started in 19th century Paris, where numerous horse-drawn carriages meant a full house. Dancers warned each other to watch their step by saying “merde,” French for manure.

For more information: