Forget Soccer Players: Brazil Makes Darn Great Dancers

OK, yes, they had a disastrous loss to Germany last night, but we still heart Brazil! The host of the 2014 World Cup has had everyone—even non-fervent football fans—buzzing about soccer and its stars for the last few weeks. But while pages upon pages of internet space have been devoted to Brazilian soccer standouts recently, we'd like to take a moment to honor Brazilian ballet dancers.

Yes, Neymar and Hulk (I'm sorry, sidebar—the Brazilian soccer team has a player named "Hulk"?!) are talented and graceful and have amazing abs; they deserve all the attention they've been getting. But Brazil has also proved a breeding ground for truly great ballet stars—danseurs, especially—who are just as talented and even more graceful and also have fabulous abs.

Let's start with Marcelo Gomes, shall we? The American Ballet Theatre principal was born in Rio de Janeiro:

Photo by Mark Squires

Then there's Thiago Soares, who's also from Rio and is now a principal with the Royal Ballet:

Photo by Uspensky

Boston Ballet's Irlan Silva, another Rio native, starred in the documentary Only When I Dance:

Photo by Jean-Bernard Sieber

And the Joffrey Ballet is home to no fewer than three Brazilians: Elivelton das Gracas, Fernando Duarte, and the lovely Amanda Assucena:

(L to R) Elivelton das Gracas, Fernando Duarte, and Amanda Assucena (Agência Espetaculum/Divulgacao, via Chula Vista Ballet, Herbert Migdoll)

There must be something in the water down there. Vá Brasil!

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