Football, ballet and New Citroën DS5 - it’s an unusual combination to be sure but the three icons of sport, culture and motoring have joined forces for a unique campaign.
Arsenal players, best known for their fancy footwork on the pitch rather than the stage, performed alongside dancers from the English National Ballet in a series of videos to promote New DS5. It is the latest phase of an innovative ongoing campaign for DS5 that has already won the Top Gear Family Car of the Year prize.
So, how does Citroën, Arsenal and the English National Ballet fit together? The videos play on the strapline for New DS5: ‘The Refined, Redefined’ - and Arsenal players certainly embody this concept by learning the graceful art of ballet.
Arsenal, Citroën’s official automotive partner, sent team players Alex Song, Wojciech Szczesny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Bacary Sagna to the magnificent Brocket Hall where they met up with Jenna Lee, a choreographer and dancer for the English National Ballet and other star performers.
The players learnt about the differences between warming up for a big match and warming up to take to the stage, trying a few steps and then performing with the dancers. They concluded their performance by bowing to the DS5, getting into the car and driving off.
Jules Tilstone, Marketing Director at Citroën UK, explained the thinking behind putting the players together with ballerinas and DS5: ‘With this project, we wanted to take their top class footballers, renowned for their refined style of football, and put them into a new environment that would redefine their sporting talents.
‘It was a fantastic experience working with the Arsenal players and English National Ballet’s dancers in this way - a unique opportunity to bring together two contrasting worlds with individuals who are all at the top of their game,’ he added.
There was plenty of banter between the four players when they were asked about their foray into the world of ballet.
Szczesny was no novice to the world of dance having done ballroom dancing when he was younger but said the filming session was still a challenge: ‘We only had a couple of hours on the day to complete the filming, and it was interesting to see how far we could come from being plié novices.’
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain enjoyed the friendly rivalry between the players and found they were still competitive when it came to the world of dance. He thought he ‘coped alright’ with the dance moves considering he was a total beginner at the start of the shoot.
‘Alex Song struggled a bit with the barre but given what he delivers on the pitch you can't complain too much!’ Oxlade-Chamberlain laughed.
Song had to agree with his team-mate’s light-hearted dig at his dancing skills: ‘Some elements of the shoot really surprised me with their complexity, the dancers are such professionals they made everything look so easy and believe me - it wasn't anywhere near easy.’
It was also a new and different experience for Sagna who was surprised to find himself spending a Thursday afternoon doing ballet and saluted the skill and professionalism of the English National Ballet dancers. However, he is pretty sure any future dance moves will not be seen on video: ‘Thanks to Citroën for letting me tick that box of being a ballet dancer, it's probably not something I'll be repeating, I'm better at throwing some shapes in the dressing room!’
The first video is now online and can be viewed on the Citroën UK Facebook channel - this is a 90-second video and a making-of and two behind-the-scenes videos will be released later in April. In the later videos, you can see the players trying out some more contemporary dance moves as well as Szczesny showing off some hitherto unseen musical skills.