Ballet is for boys: How last week's controversy became a celebration this week

A GMA host's insensitive remarks prompted an important discussion.

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Last week, Good Morning America's Lara Spencer laughed off the news that Prince George takes ballet. During a segment about Prince George's school and how its curriculum includes ballet Spencer laughed and said,"Prince William said Prince George absolutely loves ballet... I have news for you Prince William, we'll see how long that lasts."

Spencer has since apologized for making light of the fact that Prince William's oldest son loves ballet but to say her reaction rubbed people the wrong way would be an understatement.

This week, we've seen a tremendous pushback against the idea that ballet isn't for or loved by boys with the hashtag #BoysDanceToo appearing all over social media. Members of the professional dance world have stepped forward to condemn Spencer's insensitive comments. The #BoysDanceToo movement eventually leaped off the internet and into the streets—more specifically, the street outside Good Morning America's studio, which recently became home to a 300-person dance class made up of many male dancers.

For her part, Spencer set this class in motion. After issuing an on-air apology for her comments, the GMA host sat down with male professional dancers Robbie Fairchild, Travis Wall and Fabrice Calmels—and after the dancers shared their emotional stories of being bullied for dancing, the GMA team even gave the outdoor dance class a shoutout.


The male dancers certainly rallied the troops: Videos of the 300-person class show the massive crowd take to the street, with several influential dancers in attendance. Scenes from the class are inspirational and beautiful—they showcase dancers of all ages coming together to make an important point. Dance (and all art forms, really) know no gender, race, age or affiliation.

The footage of the whole crowd moving in unison is really quite breathtaking, and it becomes even more emotional when you take the stories the three dancers shared with Spencer into consideration. "I'll never forget being in middle school and some of the guys…[came] to the studio one day after school [and saw] me in a ballet class," Fairchild shared during the dancers' sit-down with the host. "It wasn't about the girls, it was them pointing and laughing through the window. I can't tell you how much that hurts."

It's 2019 and we're finally championing the idea that girls can do anything—play sports, become CEOs, run for president—but sadly, recent comments indicate we haven't quite embraced the same line of thinking when it comes to what boys can do.

There's a silver lining, from all this, though. As hurtful as Spencer's comments may have initially been, they've helped us illuminate the idea that boys, too, can do whatever they love. If that's ballet? Well, that's beautiful. So let us applaud these talented, passionate dancers for letting these insensitive comments be a jumping-off point for this important conversation and commend Spencer for handling her mistake (because let's face it, we all make them) with grace and turning into a teachable moment.

So mamas, let's take this opportunity to remind ourselves that our sons and daughters deserve the space and support to do the things they love and challenge societal norms while doing so.

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