Chicago – She is seven years old Keller Gordon He was standing in front of the television in the living room of his family’s home in Mukilteo, Washington. A batch of Michael Jackson’s music videos were on the DVD player, and Gordon was intent on mastering all the moves into “Bad.”
It was the jig he would take in competitions all over the Seattle area and various states. Spending hours making sure the shrugging of the shoulders was sharp and to the rhythm and mimicking the signature kick was pivotal to Gordon as he transformed himself on stage.
“I was just getting into Michael Jackson’s situation,” Gordon, one of the rookies on the Chicago Bears, said recently with a laugh.
The judges’ prison routine is one of Gordon’s favourites.
Fifteen years later, Gordon was standing in front of the San Francisco 49ers . receiver Debo Samuel. While the movements he was about to make weren’t written down, Gordon was confident. Hip movement, balance and flexibility that Gordon began to develop and perfect through competitive dance helped put him on this stage.
It was Gordon’s NFL debut, playing every defensive shot, making six individual tackles, including one for a loss, while helping the Bears upset the 49ers 19-10. Gordon made some powerful plays, but he also had teachable moments.
“I definitely made a mistake that could have been easily corrected,” Gordon said, noting that his eyes weren’t out of place at the 44-yard reception he allowed Joan Jennings. “I know what it is, so I don’t really have to worry about getting out there and fixing it.”
He’ll need to be on top of his game Sunday night when the Bears travel to Green Bay to face Aaron Rodgers (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC), who is coming off a loss to the Minnesota Vikings and will be excited to avoid a 0-2 start at NFC North.
“He’s been thrown into the fire, and he’s doing a really good job so far,” Bears Cornerback Jaylon Johnson He said. “He still has a few things to learn and go through.
“You burn in the fire, but he’s definitely doing a good job. He’s definitely on the right track.”
First, Evamari Gordon The idea that her son is special came while visiting Kyler’s grandparents when he was 1. Kyler was trying somersaults and wheels. The energy in his movement was different, and eventually led Ivamarie to enroll Kyler and his younger sister Keaonamarie in dance.
Evamari, a former gymnastics coach, encouraged her children to stretch and work on their flexibility while watching cartoons at home. She was telling them it was a short-term sacrifice that would yield long-term benefits, not just to become better dancers, but to build work ethic, discipline, and most importantly, confidence.
Eventually, the siblings met dance instructor Oga Hawkins, with whom they developed a close relationship. She modeled the group numbers for Jennifer Lopez’s “Let’s Get Loud,” utilizing Gordon’s high energy and charisma.
“When he’s listening to music, his body automatically flows,” Hawkins said. “It’s hard to teach music. Ballet technique, we can shape it, we can shape muscles, we can make her roles stronger. But the dance movement, the maturity — it’s the gift I was born with. He could feel the music. He had that gift.”
Gordon’s artistic skills took shape not only in the studio, as he spent 20 hours a week after school. Evamari was insisting that her children continue their practice at home.
“Anytime he does [a new sport]Ivamari said, “He can move his body. I don’t just think, I know the dance made a huge difference.”
Gordon had four to six numbers prepared for each competition, perfecting jazz, lyrical, ballet, and hip-hop styles for group numbers and solo performances, all while performing complex memory routines. He was the recipient of many awards, and former dance teachers believed he had the ability to dance professionally.
“I’ve been living vicariously through my children because I’ve always wanted to do this kind of thing, but I’ve never had the confidence,” Evamari said. “I wanted these kids to grow up and have confidence.
“I didn’t have….My goal was to make sure these kids really like who they are and feel confident in everything they do.”
Gordon knew nothing more about discipline than ballet. Hawkins laughs when she remembers how Gordon didn’t want to wear ballet shoes because he thought his feet looked “ugly.” Gordon, the self-proclaimed “idiot man,” would hear the stern guidance of his teachers and immediately correct his posture and point his toes.
“People don’t realize how difficult it is,” he said. “I feel ballet is more difficult than a lot of other sports. It’s very strict and disciplined.”
In the end, the time requirements became too much. Gordon enrolled in kung fu lessons at the age of five, was in competitive choreography from six to twelve, and danced with the Seattle Storm troupe from the age of 10 to 15. He learned football at the age of ten and also played basketball and lacrosse.
“People don’t realize how difficult it is. I feel that ballet is more difficult than many other sports. It is very strict and disciplined.”
Gordon’s passion for football soon blossomed, but the rush that came from performing in front of thousands at halftime. Storm The games were undeniable. While competitive dance taught him how to master technique in a world of precision and structure, the hip-hop routine he performed with the Tempest Dance Troupe allowed him to tap into his sharpness and vanity with the occasional flip-flop or spin-off.
“He could jump really high,” said Rosa Ekman, who was the lead of the storm dance team when Gordon was a member. “It excited the crowd every time. They loved it.”
But a few years later, Gordon’s passion for football triumphed. He would go on to star in the University of Washington, where he took home all 12 first-team PACs last season, before being the Bears’ first draft pick in April, No. 39 overall.
Bears in the first year General Manager Ryan Pauls pulled his shirt collar while calling Gordon from the bears haul room on April 30. This moment was touching for the Poles, who choked when they called his first draft.
“We’re trying to build something special here, and we think you can help us get that done,” Poles told Gordon.
The Bears finished last season 6-11 and fired coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace. The Poles and coach Matt Eberfels were hired to rebuild a team that had not won a playoff game since the 2010 season. Previous first round pick Justin Fields He is the offensive anchor for the quarterback, and Gordon is expected to become the cornerstone of the defence.
The Bears had one of the worst high school scores in the NFL in 2021. According to Next Gen Stats, the knockout was the closest defender in 27 of the 31 touchdowns allowed in Chicago, the highest in the league.
Gordon was drafted to help fix that. What was initially expected to be a gradual process to work on in the outer corner was soon scrapped when Gordon took the role of the notoriously hard nickel.
“Some of the plays he does, it’s not even his leg,” Salama said. Eddie Jackson, a former All-Pro first team. “He gets off his leg, plays on the ball. So just seeing how instinctive he is, he’s smart.”
Watching some of Gordon’s moves on the football field makes it impossible to ignore the association with his dancing background.
“Yes, the hips, change of direction, balance and body control,” Poles said. “If you’ve ever seen someone with poor balance and body control, you get stuck in things, you don’t stay in the middle, and you can’t stop and start on a dime.
“There’s a clip they showed on TV, it’s in the coverage, it’s a shoulder back [fade pass]. It actually opens, turns, sticks feet, doesn’t move, two toes down, grabs it and gets intercepted. So some of those things aren’t normal, and he probably developed it from that background.”
Gordon’s competitive dancing days are long gone, but his spontaneous movements are noticeable. His foot naturally finds its way into different ballet positions when he’s standing, and he’ll combat boredom by randomly making a turn or changing a step ball.
“He’s a dynamic athlete, and some of the moves he makes are not just natural moves we see on the football field, but they help him do his job better,” said linebacker coach James Rowe.
Kindle FeldorGordon, whose locker is two miles away from Gordon, wasn’t sure what had just happened one day, when he saw Gordon, out of nowhere, making a backflip from a standing position.
“It was crazy,” Feldur said. “I was like – Wow. Real flexibility. Explosive.”
It’s the result of years of hard work, from stretching during animation as a child to mimicking Jackson in dance competitions to break performances at Storm games. The Gordon Path has always included body control, balance, explosiveness and confidence.
“I just feel like I have complete control, and I know that even if I miss a step, I know how to get my body back on track to balance myself or shift my weight a certain way,” Gordon said. “I feel like I can calculate the way I need to move myself to get to what I want to do.”