Boys' Right To Dance
A reaction to the Good Morning America and Laura Spencer Episode
Hello Transcenders! I had another blog post scheduled for this week, but I feel it is important to chime in on the conversation about the Laura Spencer shaming of boy dancers. Because this says something about us as a society.
In case you are not up to speed, earlier this week, the TV personality Laura Spencer from good Morning America, made fun of one of the little British princes, George, who is 6 years old, because he loves ballet and intends to pursue it as part of his school activities. She was appallingly snarky in her comments, and made it seem like this little boy enjoying ballet was something awfully shameful. Her mannerisms sent a shock wave that rattled the entire dance world to respond, showing support for male dancers of all ages and asking that she make an apology for being so absolutely backwards-thinking and insensitive. I haven’t seen her apology, but I hear that it was as fake and non-genuine as she is.
Here is the thing; people, regardless of gender, that are called to dance, must. If we don’t, for any reason, have the opportunity to dance, we die a little inside every day that we don’t. This is the reason I am so passionate about creating opportunities for adult dancers. For boys, this is a bigger problem, since lay society at large seems to stigmatize them for loving dance. I have a young male student in one of my classes, who is extremely bright and talented. During a class water break, he confided to me that his dad did not support his dancing, and that he would prefer to see him in sports. The sadness in his voice when he said this broke my heart something fierce! I told him to get his dad to come talk to me, and I would try and talk sense into him, and to keep dancing no matter what. So, what happened this week hit too close to home for me.
Also, my own stepson (who is a son to me, no steps needed, only mentioning that for context), loves dance, and was in class before, and got bullied so much not only by classmates but by his bio family, he quit for a while. But now he is easing his way back into it, with my support, and all the other amazing teachers at Company C Academy of Dance. I had to tell him, in order to protect his relationship with the other side of his family, that he does not need to disclose everything to them, because some people, they just don’t understand.
The problem with what happened in the Good Morning America segment, is that this show is watched by a lot of what you would call “average” people. People that are not in the dance world, that do not feel the calling for this art form. But they might have children that do. And they see the hosts on this type of show as role models. And if these hosts think is ok to shame a 6-year-old boy for liking ballet, they will think it is ok too. And that is not ok at all.
I am sure the little British prince, and his family, do not give a rat’s ass about how Laura Spencer feels about boys doing ballet. They have the Royal Academy of Dance, and they are the Royal part! so the prince will go on and have superior ballet training and follow his passion if he so choses. The ones that could suffer as a result of this, are the regular children of the people that watch this show and internalize the ideas it promotes. Yeah, take all the time you need to take that in, because it is a brutal truth. Parents shape their children’s lives. And parents are the ones watching Good Morning America.
One good thing that came out of this is that it brought attention to the issue of stigma on male dancers, and it gave the opportunity to the worldwide dance community to show their support. So hopefully, boys are that on the fence about dancing because of stigma, will now feel confident that if they do choose to pursue dance, they will become part of a supportive, loving community, that highly values them, and is willing to protect them, and their dreams.
Just in case, let me remind you of all the benefits ballet training can have for young boys:
· Great physical strength
· Cardiovascular fitness
· Killer body
· Lots of smart, attractive classmates and peers
· Endless possibilities for artistic self-expression
· The chance to attend some of the most prestigious schools on scholarship or reduced tuition.
· The chance to transcend a mundane, small-town existence and become their truly best selves
· The chance to dance and teach future generations!
So, let’s thank Laura Spencer for bringing to the forefront one of the things that is wrong wit our society! She served us in a way she could have not imagined! I also extend an invitation to her to come to ballet class with me for a week and see if she still feels it’s something to snark at.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your community. And please let me know your thoughts! Is there anything we can do to make mainstream media more accepting of the fact that many boys, and men want to dance and not be stigmatized about it? I would love to have your feedback!
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And don’t forget to check out my You Tube Channel, Loft Ballerina https://youtu.be/sstnqMJ88SY