Louisville, Ky. (WDRB) -- Professional athletes train for countless hours and fight through injuries to perform at an elite level, and ballet dancers could be included in that category.

Sterling Riggs swapped gigs with Louisville Ballet's Rat King to find out that this job is not all about toe shoes and tutus.

Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton earned the nickname "Sweetness" for his running style and jaw dropping footwork.

But did you know that in the off season "Sweetness" worked on his strength and moves in a ballet studio?

So Sterling stopped by to meet with Senior Ballet Director Uwe Kera to give it a try. Louisville's Ballet is preparing for the production of the Nutcracker, so he learned the entrance and death of the Rat King.He quickly found out that ballet training is no walk in the park.

Just like anything else, this takes practice-practice-practice. It took Sterling more than an hour to learn a 30 second dance routine. Once he put on part of the costume, the routine got a little more complicated.

But before his "official" performance, Sterling had to ask about the tights the men normally wear. Uwe said, "The reason we are wearing tights is that we want you to see the muscle in the legs. We want people to see the shape of the legs and the beauty of the legs. It's like a sculpture. That's basically what we are trying to create."

In the end, Sterling thought he did pretty well. Here's what Uwe thought, "That's actually pretty good. You got the music down-you got the intensity of it down so it was really good."

For more information on Louisville Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker, just click here.