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.
Jennifer Kahn knew the theater industry could do better. As a professional stage manager for 17 years she worked on regional, off-Broadway and Broadway shows. Nearly each time a show closed, something unsettling happened: "I would watch them throw away our shows. All of the beautiful artwork by my friends in the paint shop would go in the trash." The elaborate backdrops? Gone.
But she had an idea: What if the material used in the backdrops and legs could be upcycled into something new? And what if theater lovers could literally keep a piece of a beloved show?
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.
For decades the name Alicia Alonso has been virtually synonymous with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she co-founded in Havana in 1948. Alonso died on October 17, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. In recent years, she had stepped back from day-to-day decision-making in the company. As if preparing for the future, in January, the company's leading ballerina, 42-year-old Viengsay Valdés, was named deputy director, a job that seems to encompass most of the responsibilities of a traditional director. Now, presumably, she will step into her new role as director of the company. Her debut as curator of the repertory comes in November, when the troupe will perform three mixed bills selected by her at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso. The following has been translated from a conversation conducted in Spanish, Valdés' native tongue.
New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns wasn't sure she was strong enough. A ballerina who has danced many demanding full-length and contemporary roles, she was about to push herself physically more than she thought was possible.
"I said, 'I can't. My body won't,' " she says. "He told me, 'Yes, it will.' "
She wasn't working with a ballet coach, but with personal trainer Joel Prouty, who was asking her to do squats with a heavier barbell than she'd ever used.