Forty Steps Dance is a modern dance troupe founded by Sallee Slagle in 1992 to fulfill an artistic dream and increase the visibility of dance in our society. The troupe has performed throughout the Boston area and abroad presented by the Culture Connection, Dance North Alliance, North Shore Dance Alliance, Windhover Performing Arts Center, Majestic Cruise Lines and the Saint Hill European Arts Festival in England.


Dear Sallee,

What an absolute thrill to ... see your new works in progress. True to form, your dances are physically demanding and yet appear otherworldly, infused by awesome, lithesome technique and of course the intangible gift that makes them signature Sallee!
I asked that question about ‘meaning’ because there is so much in your work. It’s packed! Gabriel was biblical, the yearn of human kind; [Missing Pieces] was more frenetic than your first dances with this company, reflecting possibly the chaos of too many people on earth ... The lifts, the leaps, the push and pull; it was a sea of energy that made me want more! I couldn’t believe how the choreography intensified alongside the music ... it was like a fire hose of phrases that somehow made sense, even though I couldn’t put them into words.

I loved what you said in response! I once read that music has the ability to rearrange your insides until your body rejoices. That’s how I feel when I watch you and your company dance—my insides are under construction and wildly emotive! As I was saying to my friend ... you are like Isadora Duncan in Nahant. What a gift to the community that you are keeping the tradition alive.

— Laura B. Smith, on the June 2, 2012 Fundraiser performances


Forty Steps Dancers are a true pleasure to watch!  This modern dance company of young adult dancers is the creation and vision of long-time dancer, choreographer and teacher Sallee Slagle. Recent performances have featured their newest work, Beneath the Surface, as well as earlier works, Two From Tull and Lux Aeterna, all of which exhibit smooth, flowing movement and strong, clean lines. The dancers perform Slagle's challenging choreography with the appearance of ease.  It is apparent that this company has developed a strong sense of union, trust and respect for each other though their dance. It is obvious from the Tull piece entitled Bouree that they enjoy dancing together as they look as though they are having so much fun!  It was also great to see Slagle perform herself in a solo to Tull's "Life Is A Long Song."  Take the time to see Forty Steps Dance ... they won't disappoint!

— Peggy McHugh, SVP/COO, ClearRock, August 2010

Finding the Joy in Dance

I ... had the opportunity to sit down with Sallee Slagle, owner of the Nahant based Forty Steps Dance Company, to talk to her about her work as a Modern Dancer and Choreographer and to discuss the upcoming "Celebration of North Shore Dance" performance at Salem State College.

... The Center for Creative and Performing Arts at Salem State College has invited The Forty Steps Dance troupe to be a part of their upcoming Celebration of North Shore Dance on the Main Stage this Friday, September 18th at 7:30 p.m. The showcase will also include acts by other local groups including: The North Shore Civic Ballet, Ipswich Moving Company, Exit Dance Company, and the Turnpike Project. For the performance, Ms. Slagle has Choreographed a piece entitled, “Lux Aeterna (”Eternal Light.”) The movement was inspired by the music, a classically oriented trio of strings, robust with violins and cellos. There are five members of the dance company involved in the piece, all of whom she had not worked with previously. Sallee calls her dancers her “canvas” and she has enjoyed watching the evolution of the piece take form and shape thanks to their combining efforts.

Throughout our conversation, I was struck by Sallee’s concern to nurture other artists and how in-tune she seemed to be with the needs of her community. She spoke of artists as being “multifaceted… dabbling in more than one art..” Her approach of embracing the entire individual while at the same time inspiring collaboration in her dancers is fitting…Modern dance is dance for our times and our times are multifaceted, as well. According to Sallee Slagle, if you want to find the joy in dance, “just keep moving…”

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— Elizabeth Hickey, September 2009