There’s no question that Daniela Ruah, who plays NCIS Special Agent Kensi Blye on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” is athletic. After all, to convincingly play a field agent in any capacity, you better look like you can handle yourself. But what fans of the show may not realize is that the Blye actress was a nationally-ranked gymnast in her youth.
“NCIS: Los Angeles” fans might remember the episode titled “From Havana with Love” from Season 8 of the show. In it, Daniela Ruah got to show off her accomplished salsa dancing skills. And the theme of the episode was no coincidence. The actress is a serious talent. In fact, she won the Portuguese equivalent to “Dancing with the Stars” earlier on in her career.
Even before then, however, the Kensi Blye actress was dancing. As many entertainers do, Ruah began dancing lessons from a young age. But apparently, her personality wasn’t a great match for the subdued nature of ballet, so after she got kicked out of that, she pursued something a little more upbeat.
“Then I was expelled [from ballet classes] for being too restless — I am too high energy — and was told I could go do rhythm gymnastics. I did that from eight to 12 and I competed nationally in Portugal, which is a small country, but nonetheless, I competed nationally,” Ruah told Parade in a 2017 interview. “Then I ended up leaving that and went back to dance. At that point, I had a different discipline because I was 12 and I had gained a lot of flexibility from gymnastics training.”
Daniela Ruah’s background honestly sounds like something that could be in her character’s backstory. Though she admits, salsa dancing is not the first thing fans of “NCIS: Los Angeles” would expect to see the Kensi Blye actress doing.
The ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star Has an Advantage When it Comes to Martial Arts
As a NCIS field agent, Kensi Blye comes face to face with people that would like nothing more than to hurt her. Fortunately, her father was a United States Marine and taught her how to handle herself.
And for Daniela Ruah, the martial arts demanded of her character on “NCIS: Los Angeles” come naturally. Why? Because through her background in dance and gymnastics, she has acquired an understanding of how her body works. And she can easily grasp the concepts that are central to disciplines like karate or jiu-jitsu.
“There’s a very fine line between martial arts and dance,” Ruah continued in the interview. “Kicking with your foot stretched out, or kicking with your foot flat in someone’s face, in terms of flexibility, it’s all kind of the same thing. Of course, the technique is different. I actually think if you have dance, there’s a certain body language in your body.”