Role in ballet keeping ex-catcher on his toes

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Role in ballet keeping ex-catcher on his toes

MIAMI BEACH, Florida ? Mike Piazza knows that some people think it’s funny for a baseball player to take up ballet, but the former catcher hopes to turn whoever is jeering him now into dance fans when he takes the stage with Miami City Ballet in May.

“You gotta sometimes have the courage to go out there and do something like this, and I think the overall effect will be positive,” Piazza said Tuesday after his costume fitting for the role of a gangster in “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.”

Piazza will walk on stage and say a few lines in the company’s May 3 production of the ballet George Balanchine choreographed as part of the 1930s musical “On Your Toes.” Piazza, who had 427 career home runs and made 12 All-Star Game appearances, didn’t know anything about Balanchine when he first entered the rehearsal studio, though he impressed the dancers with the exaggerated accent and smoking habit that he gave his character.

“He knows a lot about acting, which makes it a lot easier,” said principal soloist Kleber Rebello??.

“He’ll be bringing different people, maybe people who haven’t watched ballet yet. It’s definitely a good opportunity,” Rebello said.

AP

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