Alvin Hill has put on football cleats plenty of times. But when he went to buy shoes for ballet class at Maryland this fall, he was way out of his comfort zone.
He had to go to a store that specifically sells ballet shoes. As a 6-foot, 200-pound football player, it was an awkward experience.
“I tried to make myself feel a little bit masculine, but the more I walked in, I started deflating,” Hill told reporters Wednesday.
Hill made his time in the shoe store short. “Lemme get the shoes,” he said. He got a black pair, and headed out.
He’s far from the first football player to take ballet. Barry Sanders and Lynn Swann are a few NFL legends who come to mind.
Hill’s uncle was the first to suggest he take ballet. So the cornerback dug into the subject a little.
“I took it and ran with it,” Hill said. “And I started looking up some things.
“They said Barry Sanders took ballet.”
Bryce Bevill, the team’s director of player development, handed him video showing how ballet could help him jump “higher, faster, quicker” and prevent injuries. Hill took a yoga class last spring, and when the same teacher offered ballet this fall, he went for it.
His mom didn’t think much of it, but his younger sister teased him. When he got to his first class, the other students were taken aback.
“They were shocked. I’m, like, a lot bigger than everybody,” he said. “I got some balance though. I take it serious. You gotta respect that.”
Hill isn’t the only one on his team to take a dance class at Maryland. Quarterback Perry Hills and defensive end Roman Braglio both took an interpretive dance class.
“I don’t know, I was doing a bunch of weird stuff,” Hills joked. “A lot of good NFL players have been in ballet classes, so hopefully he can find something that helps him out.”