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FOOTBALL; Steeler with 'Swan(n) Lake' tendencies

By Ross AtkinSports writer of The Christian Science Monitor / June 12, 1980



So what's a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers doing on the same stage as dance greats Gene Kelly and Twyla Tharp? That might be the question most people will ask themselves about Sunday's "Omnibus" TV program (8 p.m., Eastern daylight time, on ABC). The Steeler sharing the spotlight on this GE Theater presentation won't be Mean Joe Greene, however, but wide receiver Lynn Swann, who may be the most graceful man ever to glide under a spiraling football. Fourteen years of studying tap, jazz, and modern dance has a lot to do with Lynn's fluidity on the field.

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Swann has shed his football pads to run a "wide-receiver ballet" on "Omnibus, " utilizing basic Steeler pass plays against defenders Tharp, a renowned choreographer, and Peter Martins, a principal dancer with the New York City ballet. Lynn also joins Kelly in a tap number, a routine that gave him a chance to pick up some pointers from a master. "Gene gave me an education in tap," Swann says. "You know, I haven't danced since college [Southern Cal] six years ago, but I always keep my tap shoes on hand -- one pair in Pittsburgh and one in Los Angeles."