“Bodybuilding was a sport where you had to perform”: Arnold Schwarzenegger Learned Ballet to Become Mr. Universe

Arnold Schwarzenegger Learned Ballet to Become Mr. Universe
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Arnold Schwarzenegger has had a long and successful career as an action star in Hollywood. Because of his professionalism and dedication, he has successfully built a juggernaut in both his acting and bodybuilding careers. However, did you know that he worked out in a dance studio in New York not just for fun, but rather to hone his professional abilities and get ready for a bodybuilding competition?


Yes, the 75-year-old former Governor of California, who is arguably one of the greatest bodybuilders in history, decided to focus on something else to hone his skills in. Yes, that is right—ballet. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Thus, he believed that bodybuilding was a competitive sport that required performance, so he trained himself to learn at his own pace.


Also read: Arnold Schwarzenegger FUBAR Salary – It Took 53 Years for Austrian Oak to Finally Make Small Screen Debut in Netflix Series

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dance 

Arnold Schwarzenegger was known as ‘The Austrian Oak’ in his bodybuilding days, ‘Arnie’ in his acting days, and ‘The Governator’ (a combination of Governor and The Terminator) in his political days. 

As a bodybuilder, he was required to appear in lineups striking specific poses. He must perform individual posing routines for a panel of judges, who rank the competitors based on factors such as symmetry, muscularity, and conditioning. 


As a result, in order to win the competition, an athlete needs to be in good physical shape. And for that reason, the True Lies star started taking ballet classes, so that he could be able to practice his poses, get ready, and give the best first impression. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger

He received training from dancer and choreographer, Marianne Claire in 1976 in New York City. In the recently released docuseries, Arnold on Netflix, the Austrian- American actor stated:

“Bodybuilding was a sport where you had to perform, So I could learn in my own way, to perform and pose on stage. And people then correct you and say, you know, ‘Smile more when you perform.’”

And those ballet lessons eventually helped him in winning his first Mr. Universe title in 1967. 


Also read: “I hated the very idea of ordinary life”: Arnold Schwarzenegger Rejected the Woman He Loved to Create a $450M Empire

He Once Learned a Dance Form For a Film 

Arnold Schwarzenegger had already appeared in two enduring James Cameron films by the early 1990s. The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day were the two installments of the Terminator franchise. Therefore, the third film from the team, True Lies, was eagerly anticipated by fans.

The director, though, wanted to stray from the action-oriented films he usually makes. Additionally, he already had the genre in mind: a spy action comedy film. It was the first time the director had wished to attempt a comedy film.


However, The Terminator director was also aware that Schwarzenegger could not dance. Even so, there was a scene in the movie where the actor actually had to put on his dancing shoes. Cameron gave the actor a challenge so that the former governor would give it his all.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger

In an interview, the director reflected on the incident and said:

“I sent him the script and in the margins, I put an arrow to the tango scene that said, ‘This is your most dangerous stunt.’ I think he took that to heart, because he did learn how to tango!”

When True Lies was released in 1994, it quickly became a huge hit while making over $378 million at the box office. 


Meanwhile, you can continue to get inspired by watching Arnold on Netflix. 

Also read: $450M Rich Arnold Schwarzenegger Reportedly Part Owner of World’s Most Powerful Company – Is He Secretly a Multi-Billionaire?

Source- Arnold Episode 1


Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Articles Published: 1775

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1700 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

Who knows, maybe your next favorite persona on the screen will be crafted by her.