Are You Ready for Some Football [Players in Ballet Class]?

We've all heard that old story about football players taking ballet classes to improve their grace on the field. Yeah, yeah, OK. We'll believe it when we see it.

Well, believe it, guys. Because it really does happen. And it is just as awesome as you'd imagine it to be.

ESPN went behind the scenes with 320-pound Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon, who, yes, takes a weekly ballet class—at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, no less.

He takes it pretty seriously, too.

Apparently, McLendon's ballet habit started in college. "I needed like an extra credit or two, and the first day when I walked into class, there were nothing but females in there," he says. "Then [the teacher] told me it could help me with football..."

Now he's hooked—especially because all those classes have strengthened his lower body, particularly his ankles and feet, making him less prone to injury on the field. (BREAKING: Ballet dancers are strong!) He's even convinced some of his teammates to join him.

Bonus: The video includes footage of the very aptly named Steelers Hall of Famer Lynn Swann doing ballet on a 1981 episode of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood." It is totally great.


Latest Posts

Because you know you've always wondered... (Getty Images)

Sounding Off: Here's What Your Favorite Musicians Think of Dance Routines Set to Their Songs

In the competition world, a small group of musicians has attained almost cultlike status, with choreographers turning to their tracks over and over. We know how we feel about these bangers—there's a reason we can't stop dancing to them—but how do the musicians feel about us? We caught up with three contemporary artists whose music has dominated the competition scene recently, and gauged their reactions to the dances set to their life's work.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
King Kong on Broadway (Joan Marcus, courtesy Bonneau/Brian-Brown)

Follow the Path of a Broadway Musical from Concept to Opening Night

The curtain rises, the crowd goes wild, and the bright lights of Broadway shine down as you make your debut on opening night…it's every Broadway baby's dream. But you may be surprised to learn that a show's journey to the Great White Way can be months, or even years, in the making. How does a production go from concept to curtain call? We spoke to industry veterans about what happens at every stage.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Jordan Fisher (center) in a dance scene from Work It (Brendan Adam-Zwelling/Netflix)

Here's Why Jordan Fisher Thinks You Should Be Excited for Netflix's New Dance Film, "Work It"

If you're looking for a sign that 2020 might *just* be turning around, look no further than Netflix's new dance-centric film Work It. The movie comes out this Friday, August 7, and the hype is real. ICYMI, the film follows high school senior Quinn Ackerman, played by none other than Sabrina Carpenter, as she attempts to lead her dance team to a competition win in order to bolster her chances of being admitted to the college of her dreams. One small challenge: Quinn isn't a dancer.

Enter Jordan Fisher as Jake Taylor, a talented-but-troubled choreographer and dancer, to help Quinn lead the team. We had the chance to speak with Fisher about his experience on set, and why Work It just might be the dance movie we've all been waiting for.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search