It might sound like someone lost a bet, but a Guardian sports writer was sent to the Royal Opera House to review a production of “Tosca” a number of years ago. (The culture critics had to swap jobs with the rugby writer as well, as is sporting.) Despite the apparent hilarity of the situation, some interesting observations about the similarities of sports and dance came forth. For a video, follow the link here.

The New York Times decided in July that this was an idea worth considering. Perhaps because we don’t have rugby over here, book critic Dwight Garner was sent to a performance of Alexei Ratmansky’s “Anna Karenina” by Mariinsky Ballet, formerly the Kirov company.

As with Thomas Castaignède of The Guardian, Garner proffered an innovative perspective and some valuable insight into the story that, after all, began as a literary tale. The result is a modest article that makes ballet both more accessible and more enlightening, which tends to be a fine balance to strike. More than anything, both stories demonstrate the universality of arts and human feeling.

For the story about the ballet that “unfurled like a black rose” for a New York Times book critic, follow the link here.