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From the field to the ballet barre: How learning dance is helping these West Hartford football players

Broadway performer Tim Hughes taught the Wyverns ballet techniques that may translate to the football field.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — At Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford, the varsity and junior varsity football teams were introduced to a different form of practice. 

Broadway performer Tim Hughes (Hadestown, Frozen) was invited to the school by Theatre Director Kyle Reynolds. The mission for Tim: Teach the Wyverns ballet.

"I wanted to hire someone who the football players could aspire to be," said Reynolds. "Someone who’s strong and resilient but incredibly athletic and who also has a lot of ballet experience. He did a great job."

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But while Hughes knows ballet, he's not a ballet teacher. So, while the players stepped out of their comfort zone and onto the dance floor, Hughes did as well.

"I've never taught football players before," said Hughes. "I was nervous myself."

Hughes got a chance to show the players that ballet takes an incredible amount of athleticism. Hughes stands at 6 feet and 7 inches tall, and he's also an athlete himself.

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"I grew up playing a lot of sports in a family that had a lot of athleticism and arts and I felt like I use a lot of that athleticism in my own career and in my own performances," said Hughes.

The ballet class lasted 30 minutes and was complete with plies and pirouettes.

“Our dancers make it look easy," said Reynolds. "And our football players got to see firsthand how hard it is to dance.”

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Perhaps the challenge of the activity helped the players gain an appreciation for the arts.

“It’s really dedication to be an artist," said Wyverns Varsity wide receiver and safety Rhandyn Langston Bair. "It’s really hard work. You really understand the difference between artist and athlete. And it’s really not that different.”

"It was way harder than what I expected it to be," explained Wyverns Varsity quarterback and outside linebacker Nathan Charles Bowes. "It was definitely something I would do again."

Jonah Karp is a meteorologist at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jkarp@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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