KANGAROO JACK star Jerry O'connell has a secret past as a ballet dancer.

The 30-year-old Hollywood hunk, ex-boyfriend of former SPICE GIRL GERI Halliwell, admits that while he didn't last very long in the skilled art, it wasn't his choice to indulge in it.

He says, "I did take a little ballet. It was not my choice. It was my mom saying, 'You're gonna be graceful and you're gonna go to ballet! You're too overweight and it'll get you skinny!'

"My brother did it with me as well, and he actually made it to the NUTCRACKER.

"I got booted (from) there in my second class! We had this very strict Russian dancer who was like, 'He is too fat and he is too obnoxious and he is out of my class!'"

But O'Connell insists his fancy footwork has probably saved him from being beaten up many times.

He explains, "Dancing is very important. On the dancefloor, they do call me white man can dance! Honestly, it's from growing up in New York City. You just have to know how to dance and play basketball or you get your butt kicked on an hourly basis!"

01/04/2004 09:01