Manchester United star takes classical ballet lessons

Manchester United star takes classical ballet lessons


norman lebrecht

February 24, 2021

The Irish Times reports that Edinson Cavani, Man United’s striker, has been training with the Ballet Nacional de Sodre in his native Uruguay.

Apparently it does him a power of good for poise and stamina.

Read here.





  • Fernandel says:

    It doesn’t surprise me. Cavani has always been a special case – “un cas à part”.

  • Alexander T says:

    Brilliant player. Buying him was a smart move.

  • Rogerio says:

    “It’s November 29th, 2020, and Manchester United are 2-0 down at Southampton. Bruno Fernandes skews a shot goalward, it’s off target. Defeat seems inevitable.
    Out of nowhere, gliding across the box unnoticed with long black locks flowing, Edinson Cavani springs into the air and nods the misfired shot into the back of the net.”

    If Cavani scored the goal, the pass was not off target.
    The person who wrote this knows f**k-all about football.
    And probably just as much about ballet.

    • Angela says:

      Yeah, the ballet’s seriously dodgy too:
      “As it happens, two months earlier the striker had swapped the football boots for the pointe shoes of ballet”

      While it’s not uncommon for male dancers to do pointe work – whether to improve technique or for performance – there’s no way a newbie ballet student would be put in pointe shoes, especially not one whose feet and ankles were his livelihood.

  • Stephen Gould says:

    This isn’t new. Sam Hammam, who owned Wimbledon FC in the 1980s, invited two of the dancers from Covent Garden to Wimbledon to train the footballers, particularly on how to warm up quickly and effectively.

  • Gary Freer says:

    As anyone who ever watched Vinny Jones and Dennis Wise will remember!

  • V.Lind says:

    Not uncommon in male sport. Lynn Swann of the Pittsburgh Steelers took ballet (any young boy that could survive the name Lynn Swann, let alone go on to great success in pro football, could declare what he did to make it work better for him as he saw fit). Pro (American) football players spoke of ballet teaching them “hang time” and being equally strong n both legs and learning to pivot easily and many other skills that were endemic to ballet. It is not surprise that it has come to the Beautiful Game.

    • CROGERS says:

      Yes. Absolutely. The Manchester City players in Bell, Lee and Summerbees era brought in ballet dancers and coaches for take off, balance and strength. Footballers need to be supple and agile not muscle bound.

  • J Barcelo says:

    It’s true: it does help athletes. Two of my friends from school days both went on to NFL careers and they credited the ballet classes they took when they were young for their nimbleness and speed on the field.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Classical ballet has always been a very masculine art. After all, its professionalisation as an art was born at the court of Louis XIV under the guidance of the king, who was a good dancer himself and who often performed in the productions composed for him by Lully.

    “….. the world’s first ballet school, the Académie Royale de Danse, was established by King Louis XIV in 1661.[1] The Academie’s purpose was to improve the quality of dance training in France, and to invent a technique or curriculum that could be used to transform ballet into a formal discipline.”

    Some understanding of ‘gender fluidity’ is needed to appreciate the art form’s transcendent qualities.

  • Stephen Maddock says:

    It’s an honourable tradition.
    Graham Potter took the whole Ostersunds squad to ballet lessons I believe. And I recall Alan Shearer had tap lessons back in the day, to help with his quick feet and balance in the box.

  • E says:

    Occasionally, ballet is taught using illustrations of movement and follow through from
    the baseball field! I remember that with fondness. The teacher, it so happened, was from
    South America. This was many decades ago.

  • Corno di Bassetto says:

    I have heard of a number of boxers, NFL players and NBA players take ballet to improve footwork, coordination and jumping.

  • Patricia says:

    As long as he doesn’t start wearing a tutu.

  • Cathrine says:

    Several football players take ballet classes. Besides agility, it helps dynamic stability on the supporting leg side and possibly achieve power on shooting.