December 10, 2009

Ballet Is Like...Golf - According to Star of 'The Nutcracker'

Ballet is one of the fine things in life that I can personally appreciate, even if I don't ever enjoy going to performances of it.  Like figure skating it requires an athleticism and agility that are beyond my imagination, and I can certainly respect the dedication, practice and performance pressure ballet stars go through in order to pull off a successful run. In other words, it takes a lot of hard work to make it look easy.

Sounds a lot like golf, doesn't it?  Show me a well-oiled smooth swing and I will show you someone who has spent a very long time perfecting their craft.  No doubt it is the same for a principle in a ballet.

And if you think it through, is the golf swing not a carefully choreographed dance step that we all spend a lifetime trying to master?

From Texas comes a story of a seemingly rare convergence of the two: Texas Ballet Star Compares His Art To...Golf

This may be a first, but Eddy Tovar (pictured at left), the gifted Cuban dancer starring for Texas Ballet Theater, compares the art form at which he excels to golf.

That’s right, golf.

"You get frustrated. Very frustrated," he said, before a recent rehearsal. "It can be hard, very hard, but it can also be . . . amazing."

Like a golfer who finally reaches a breakthrough on the fairway or green, "you suddenly find in yourself something you never did before. And once you know your body, your movements, how you dance, ballet can finally become . . . easier. But it’s always challenging. It never stops being challenging. You know, like golf."

Those who see Tovar, 27, in The Nutcracker, which begins its Bass Hall run Friday, would undoubtedly commend his gift of making it look as easy as sinking a 30-foot putt. His athleticism is evident as he masters one of the key roles in Tchaikovsky’s ballet, the Prince.
 Tovar sounds to me like a thoughtful and intelligent man, the kind of fellow that would be fun to get to know as a friend.  While I may prefer a root canal to another night at a ballet (yes, I've been to more than a few, but that's another story) it seems to me that Tovar is less a prima donna than a decent guy whose life work is incredibly difficult, and one whose hobby is equally challenging.  That sort of person is invariably interesting.

Best of luck to you on-stage this weekend, Eddy.


  1. Hey - why not ? Would've been nice to have the writer ask if Tovar actually plays golf or if he was just speaking off the cuff, but what the hay..right ?

    Tennis Magazine ran a pictorial back around 1980 comparing John McEnroe's movement at the net to ballet moves. It was pretty cool.

  2. As always Mr. Old Man Par, an awesome and unexpected story. :o)

  3. I'd love to know if he plays too.

    As a former competitive figure skater, I can definitely relate to what he is talking about.


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