Football (Soccer) Ballet

The Times: “High-kicking new life into beautiful game”

Think you’ve seen Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God”? Of course you have. But probably not as danced by a tiny ballerina in a short frilly tutu, raised high into the air by men in tights, slapping an imaginary ball into an imaginary net. To the strains of Nessun Dorma.

“You’ve got to be a highly polished athlete as a dancer and as a footballer. You need discipline, technique, teamwork and a few players of genius, and both careers are short,” Wayne Eagling, the artistic director of the English National Ballet, said.

Eagling’s company has created The Beautiful Game: A Football Ballet, a 15-minute work commissioned by The New Football Pools to showcase ten iconic moments as voted for by 20,000 visitors to the Pools’ website.

(Emphasis mine.)

The (understandably) England-centric moments reproduced in the ballet include:

  • Gazza’s tears in the 1990 World Cup semifinal
  • Maradona’s “hand of God” goal (context here) in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal — though his “Goal of the Century” (clip, context) from the same match didn’t make the cut, apparently
  • David Beckham’s free kick against Greece that sent England to the 2002 World Cup

    (Sadly Fortunately, one of the most memorable moments in goalkeeping history has been snubbed also been featured. I refer not to England’s Gordon Banks denying Pele in the 1970 World Cup — the so-called greatest save of all time — but to Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita’s scorpion kick in 1995.)

    Thanks to A for the link.

  • EDIT: fixed the above — the scorpion kick was, indeed, reproduced 🙂

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