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“Swan Lake is the most difficult thing to portray for a female ballet dancer; it really requires such specific qualities of agility, strength, articulation and the arm work is something that takes a lot of training.”
“Football is an art, like dancing is an art – but only when it’s well done, with perfect agility, does it become an art.”
Ballet is the basic foundation for most forms of dance. Whatever you learn in ballet, it translates to values that can be used to pursue other forms of dance. The alignment and musicality it requires are only some examples of important qualities in most dance styles. The development of discipline and dedication. Ballet technique is very specific and requires practice to improve. In most cases, the qualities of discipline and dedication translate themselves to other areas of life like work and school. Increased agility. While often slow and graceful, ballet has its swift moments as well. Football players often attribute speed and agility to their experiences cross-training with ballet during the off season. Because the essence of agility is starting, stopping and cutting.
Born in Ukraine, Svetlana Zakharova studied at a local dance studio where she mostly practised folk dancing from the age of 6. Aged 10 she joined the Kiev Choreographic school, where she trained mainly with Valeria Sulegina. In 1995 she entered the International Young Dancers’ Competition in Saint Petersburg. She won the second prize for her performance of Princess Florine in the pas de deux of the Blue Birds in Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, the variation of George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and the first variation from Paquita.
Following the competition, she was allowed to continue her training at the “Agrippina Vaganova” Academy in Saint Petersburg. Instead of the expected second course, she was admitted directly to the third, the graduating course (in the class of Yelena Yevteyeva, the distinguished Kirov ballerina of the previous generation). While still a student at the Vaganova Academy Svetlana performed the Shades Act of La Bayadère, Masha in The Nutcracker, the Queen of the Dryads in Don Quixote, and Dying Swan on the stage of the Mariinsky Theatre.
In June 1996 Svetlana graduated from the Vaganova Academy, performing Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. She immediately joined the Mariinsky Ballet, where she was promoted to principal dancer a year later. Her vast repertoire at the Kirov included the leading roles in: Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, La bayadère, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, Les Sylphides, Shéhérazade, The Fountain of Bakhchisaray (in Rostislav Zacharov’s version), and Romeo and Juliet (in Leonid Lavrovsky’s version). She has often held the leading role in the following ballets by George Balanchine: Apollon musagète (Terpsichore), Serenade, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Symphony in C and Jewels. At the Kirov she has also danced in MacMillan’s L’histoire de Manon in the title role. She has danced the leading role in the following creations: Poème de l’extase by Alexei Ratmansky, Now and Then by John Neumeier, and Young Lady and the Hooligan by Konstantin Bojarsky.
Svetlana took part in all the major tours of the Mariinsky Ballet and from 1999 on she was invited as a guest star by the main ballet companies of the world, including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet, Teatro alla Scala, English National Ballet, and New National Theatre Ballet in Tokyo.
As of October 2003 Svetlana started dancing as a principal with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. At the Bolshoi she is rehearsing her roles with Ludmilla Semenyaka, the star ballerina from the previous generation. There she has danced Giselle in Vladimir Vassiliev’s version and La fille du pharaon in Pierre Lacotte’s choreographic revival.
She has been awarded numerous prizes: “Agrippina Vaganova” at the third International Ballet Competition in Saint Petersburg (second prize) in 1995; special prize “Our Hope”, from the Baltica in Saint Petersburg in 1997; “Golden Sophit” in Saint Petersburg in 1998; “Golden Mask Award” for Balanchine’s Serenade (1999); “Golden Mask Award ” for The Sleeping Beauty (2000); “People of Our City”, special prize awarded by the city of Saint Petersburg for her achievement in ballet (2001); prize of the Italian magazine “Danza&Danza” (2002); “Benois de la danse” for her performance in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2005).
Born in Madeira Island – Portugal, in 1985, the football player known as Cristiano Ronaldo is actually called Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro – his middle name was inspired by then President Ronald Reagan.
Cristiano started playing football in a local team at age eight and displayed a unique talent for the game from his earliest efforts. His father recognized his ability, giving him encouragement and training before he eventually signed with Nacional – a local football club – at the age of ten. His successes were recognized by the club’s staff, and he was sent for training at the club’s Academia Sporting facility – a leading training ground for young players. Just a few years into his training, Cristiano Ronaldo was diagnosed with a serious heart condition that was treated during his early teens, allowing him to continue to play.
In 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo became the first Portuguese player to be part of the well-known Manchester United team, signing a EUR 20 million contract and securing himself a future as a football star. He played as a midfielder for Manchester United for three years before breaking out during the 2006 season as a promising new player.
The years between 2006 and 2008 were Cristiano Ronaldo’s years to shine, with the young player scoring twenty goals in a season during 2006. His performance lead to numerous offers from other clubs, including an incredible EUR 75 million contract from Real Madrid, attempting to entire the young star to their own team. Ronaldo stayed with Manchester United, however, signing a record-setting contract that earned him over EUR 170K per week. The young star lived up to expectations in the following years, scoring hat tricks against other teams and dominating many of the games that he played in. In 2009, however, Real Madrid announced to the world that they were welcoming the Portuguese athlete to their team. Cristiano Ronaldo signed on with an amazing EUR 110 million contract to his name, making him the most well-paid football player in history and a huge investment for the club.
Cristiano Ronaldo holds numerous records and has won many prestigious titles. He is a prolific striker, and is the first European league player to score 40 goals in a single season, not just once, but twice in consecutive seasons.
Described as the complete footballer, equally proficient scoring with his head, either foot, or even his body, he is equally comfortable with static ball situations, such as taking penalties, free kicks, and corners, as well as tackling and dribbling at high speed. He is also extremely fit, and carries 3% less body fat than a supermodel.
Not surprisingly Cristiano is one of the most popular players in the world – and one of the highest paid. So what goes on in his head, and how can you use this knowledge in your favorite sport?
One experiment involved wiring him to equipment that monitored his eye movements whilst dribbling the ball past an opponent. Cristiano’s eye movements were seen to be extremely rapid, as he scanned the ball, the defender’s body parts, and areas of open space. The result was that he could predict the defender’s movements, and read the game almost instantly – certainly much faster than is possible using his conscious mind. Cristiano therefore trusts his unconscious mind implicitly. The truth is that the greatest gift is to trust and let things happen rather than make them happen. This mind strategy releases the far greater and much faster power of the unconscious mind.
Another experiment involved taking a corner for Cristiano to score from, using his head or foot, depending on the height of the ball. There was no goalkeeper or other defenders, so this should not have been too difficult, except that as the ball was flying about half way to him the lights were switched off. As you might have guessed Cristiano was able to score comfortably, because his unconscious mind had accurately predicted the flight of the ball, and he was able to complete his final movements in complete darkness.
The scientists were determined to test Ronaldo to the limit. This time the lights were switched off just before the ball was kicked in his direction… Still the ball ended up at the back of the net, as he imagined the flight of the ball using only the player’s movements before the ball was even kicked. Ronaldo processed this information by tapping into his unconscious memory banks. He accessed information from thousands of hours of practice to “see” in the absence of seeing a real ball.
This process is called visualization, which we are all capable of. Cristiano has taken it to an extreme. As we study other athletes in this series the importance of visualization will be demonstrated in many different ways. The good news for you is that it is possible to improve your visualization skills. A little extra will make a huge difference to your success, and not just in sport.
Agility is no longer optional for business. It’s a must for success. But what exactly does agility mean? The term “agile” originates in a process created by software developers that was focused on meeting users’ needs, delivering products quickly, and the ability to respond to change. Manage teams to increase collaboration, speed development and foster business agility can improve the benefits of business agility. The result of becoming a more agile in business is a quicker response to customer feedback, which leads to happier and more engaged customers. Businesses also gain a competitive advantage through this responsiveness and are quickly able to adapt as market conditions continue to change. Agile businesses reap additional benefits in terms of employee engagement and retention as well as increased creativity and profitability – three good reasons for businesses to focus on agility.