Watch What Happens When Nathalia Arja Teaches a Tight End Ballet

Ah, pop culture. We'd like to thank you for your endless supply of amusement. Sometimes you blur the lines between life and art. On rare occasions, the unlikely worlds of Sunday Night Football and classical ballet even collide. This is one of those times.

Hey, Gronkowski. Think knees over toes. Photo via GQ.com.

Yesterday, men's magazine GQ released this video featuring newly promoted Miami City Ballet principal soloist Nathalia Arja and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. As you'll see, they're just about as different as could be. The petite and graceful Arja is a patient teacher. Gronkowski is a good sport with horrible technique, though surprisingly impressive ballon. And their height difference is probably the cutest thing you'll see all week.

This isn't the first time professional ballet dancers have been roped into a lesson/parody with a notable nondancer. A few months ago, Misty Copeland was tasked with teaching Jimmy Kimmel. At the very least, the video will make you appreciate all the hours of countless pliés you've put in at the barre—because we all know a dance career, just like football, takes years of dedication.

 

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Luke Isley, Courtesy Ballet West

How Do Choreographers Bring Something Fresh to Music We've Heard Over and Over?

In 2007, Oregon Ballet Theatre asked Nicolo Fonte to choreograph a ballet to Maurice Ravel's Boléro. "I said, 'No way. I'm not going near it,' " recalls Fonte. "I don't want to compete with the Béjart version, ice skaters or the movie 10. No, no, no!"

But Fonte's husband encouraged him to "just listen and get a visceral reaction." He did. And Bolero turned into one of Fonte's most requested and successful ballets.

Not all dance renditions of similar warhorse scores have worked out so well. Yet the irresistible siren song of pieces like Stravinsky's The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, as well as the perennial Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, seem too magnetic for choreographers to ignore.

And there are reasons for their popularity. Some were commissioned specifically for dance: Rite and Firebird for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; Boléro for dance diva Ida Rubinstein's post–Ballets Russes troupe. Hypnotic rhythms (Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel) and danceable melodies (Bizet's Carmen) make a case for physical eye candy. Audience familiarity can also help box office receipts. Still, many choreographers have been sabotaged by the formidable nature and Muzak-y overuse of these iconic compositions.

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