The muscular way New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, that god of Bro-hood and Manly Meatheadedness, alpha males down the field through of smaller men might seem unrelated to the way ballet dancers flit and twirl above and about a stage.
A dancer needs explosiveness for leaps just as Gronkowski needs explosiveness at the snap to burst past contact into his pass pattern. Gronkowski needs precise footwork and timing in his pattern (ask Tom Brady) just as dancers need the same precision in their teamwork. So, there’s not a total disconnect between Gronkowski and the Miami City Ballet’s Nathalia Arja, who taught Gronk some basic ballet moves and watched him put those moves to use in a dance routine for a GQ Magazine video.
But if you know of any of the following, none of the above surprises you:
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Lynn Swann — The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Hall of Fame wide receiver possessed flight-level leaping ability and such body control that it seemed logical to learn he also possessed a ballet past. Check out Black-and-Gold Swann’s 32-yard sideline catch to set up Pittsburgh’s first touchdown in Super Bowl X or his Super Bowl XIII touchdown, both in the Orange Bowl against Dallas.
Scott and Rob Niedermayer — Defenseman Scott went to the Hockey Hall of Fame after an 18-year NHL career. Center Rob, the Panthers first-ever draft pick, played 17 NHL seasons. The basis for each: superior skating swiftness built by childhood time in figure skating.
Mike Reid — As former NFL defensive end Tim Green wrote in The Dark Side of the Game, a lineman’s hands are incredibly important to him. Few defensive linemen had better hands than Mike Reid, who played the piano at the same Pro Bowl level he played football. After his NFL career, Reid went on to become a noted songwriter.