Baseballet

And stand and squat and leap and jump. And stand and squat and leap and jump.

Split squad spring training workout or morning ballet class? The Oakland Athletics and the Oakland Ballet say why not both?

There is a reason beyond shared geography that the Oakland Athletics chose to film a broadcast commercial with the dancers of the Oakland Ballet Company. Yes, both are, to use the A’s slogan “rooted in Oakland”, but the team and the company have much more in common than just their East Bay urban home. Baseball and ballet share so much:

  • First, second and third base – first, second and third position.
  • Corp de ballet – Pitching corp.
  • Both demand agility, precise timing, strength and stamina.
  • Both require endless drill and are best performed by the young.
  • Both provide spectators with almost super human displays of speed, flair and coordination.
  • Both dancers and players push themselves to do something very, very physically challenging every single day they perform and to do it better each time. To hold the arabesque longer. To make the throw from right field faster and more accurate.  And the very best of them make it look so deceptively easy.
  • The careers of ballplayers and dancers are fleetingly short and both players and dancers are just one accidentally awkward landing, turn or slide away from a career ending injury.
  • Baseball and ballet both provide spectators with moments of sublime grace and scenes of high drama that are singular in their intensity.

The Oakland Ballet Company and the Oakland Athletics in particular have a lot in common. They both draw smaller crowds than their San Francisco counterparts. The players and the dancers are astonishingly talented, but they are not big names drawing big salaries. Most importantly, the ballet company and the team and their respective fans have tremendous spirit and enormous heart.

So you balletomanes go out and cheer the shortstop’s extension in turning the double play. You baseball fans come see “The Nutcracker” and watch the Cavalier execute a grand jeté that would snag a ground rule double  Let’s play baseballet!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_g3mQb7PHs&w=560&h=315]

By Carolyn Rinetti
Vice President, Oakland Ballet Board of Directors

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