For many kids—girls and boys—dancing comes so naturally. They dance before they can run, dance because it’s fun and dance because they are human. As our babies grow, dancing has historically been nurtured in our girls and curtailed in boys, but there are so many boys who need to express themselves through movement. Five-year-old Prince George is one of those boys. He loves to dance, according to his father, Prince William. The Duke of Cambridge was speaking to 14-year-old Junior—a freestyle dance champion who campaigns against bullying—at an event honoring Teen Heroes when he remarked on his son’s interest in dance. “George is doing dancing as well, he loves it,” he told Junior in a video shared by Kensington Palace on Twitter.
Prince William goes on to explain that while he is not the best dancer, his mother, Princess Diana, loved it. It seems the gene for dance skips a generation. “My mother always used to dance, she loved dancing,” William says in the video.”And if it’s something you love, you do what you love. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Keep at it.” Luckily for Prince George, he has lots of opportunities to do what he loves. At his school ballet is part of the curriculum , and his class reportedly devotes about 35 minutes a week to the activity. The school doesn’t say ballet is for girls only, because it isn’t, but it’s true that boys are still in the minority in this activity.
Meet some of the Teen Heroes who will be recognised this afternoon at the @bbcr1 Teen Awards. The Duke and Duchess… https://t.co/z1LhIEJTME— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) 1540129020.0
As the Huffington Post reports, statistics suggest that while over 3.5 million children American children study dance, only 10% of them are boys. Statistically speaking, boys who love ballet are up against some tremendous odds. “Most boys who dance ballet face tremendous resistance ― from their families, from friends and from society at large,” Scott Gormley, a father of ballet loving boy writes for Huffington Post. Gormley is not just a ballet dad, but also the director of a documentary film on the subject, Danseur . The film explores why boys are discouraged from trying ballet, and why parents (fathers especially) will encourage their boys to try other physical pursuits over dance. Gormley writes that in loving ballet, his son is in the minority, and in supporting his son’s love of dance, he’s a minority, too. “According to Doug Risner, a professor of dance at Wayne State University in Detroit, only 32% of male dancers say their fathers support them dancing. Risner’s research shows that mothers play a critical role in their sons’ initial exposure to dance and then in supporting their dance training. But most boys who dance do so without the support of their fathers.” That’s why it is so heartwarming to see Prince William be so encouraging of Prince George’s ballet lessons. As a father, he’s on the world’s stage, and maybe by encouraging his son’s passion for dance, he’ll encourage other dads to do the same.