In the year 2019, you'd think we'd be beyond shaming or making fun of kids for the activities or things that bring them joy. They're kids! The only thing we should be doing is ENCOURAGING them to follow their bliss and do whatever makes their heart smile. Alas, as Lara Spencer from Good Morning, America demonstrated on-air last week, we still have so much work to do. Now, she's on the receiving end of quite a bit of blow back for her insensitive and shaming comments. Boys can dance, too, Lara! Quite well, actually!
Spencer was reporting on Prince George's hectic school curriculum. When she got to ballet, which the little royal is taking for the second year, Spencer paused and a smirk on her face, and her co-hosts and the audience could be heard laughing in the background. As photos of George in ballet class flashed across the screen, Spencer said, "Prince William says George absolutely loves ballet. I have news for you Prince William: We’ll see how long that lasts". Thankfully, the arts community (and really anyone who understands that boys and girls can do whatever they want) was quick to call her out on her dancer-shaming.
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DEAR @lara.spencer of GOOD MORNING AMERICA. I have a message for you. Wake up. It’s 2019. Get with the program. Please share and repost this so a boy who needs to see this feels supported if he dances or wants to! #boysdancetoo #ballet #goodmorningamerica #traviswall #laraspencer #bully
Travis Wall, one of the best choreographers and dancers in the business, responded with a video and hashtag, #boysdancetoo.
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I saw a clip from @goodmorningamerica this morning and I was pretty surprised by the tone of some comments towards dance. My initial response was disappointment. For a brief moment it brought up old unpleasant memories of being mocked and laughed at for being a boy who danced. Fortunately that feeling dissipated quickly in knowing that the climate of dance, especially for young men in this generation is thriving more than ever, celebrated and appreciated . A young boy training in an athletic art form that requires an insane amount of discipline, strength, agility, flexibility, speed, dedication, awareness of mind, body, soul and creativity doesn’t seem like something to laugh about . I understand that comments like the one made here on television were probably light hearted and just a little banter. I get it. I know everyone at gma including @lara.spencer and I’m sure the intention wasn’t to be hurtful. But I also just think we are in a new era and time, especially for dance and it’s perception. The tone and mockery towards dance is just dated, old and not relevant anymore. Those who mock don’t understand. I’m proud to be a dancer and I strongly encourage any, who would like to try. So if there are any young kids out there who have a passion to pursue dance, don’t be discouraged by those who might laugh or make fun, tease or taunt. Follow your passion, take a chance on yourself and remember, that when you are courageous enough to listen to your inner voice rather than the voices (that only you can allow) to tear you down, you will always win. Follow your bliss and you will always have the last laugh:) Nothing but love and encouragement 🙏🏼#dance #encourage #create #dontHate #community
Derek Hough, professional dance and actor and former star of Dancing with the Stars, also took to Instagram to express his disappointment over Spencer's comments. It can be so hard for young boys to feel comfortable enough to pursue dance, and her comments are exactly the reason why. Lara Spencer eventually posted an apology on her Instagram account.
But for a lot of people, her apology was insensitive and didn't do enough to make up for her comments on the show. There is already such a stigma surrounding young boys choosing activities that are typically "feminine", like dance. But the dance community is full of amazing male athletes and incredibly talented male dancers who never would have pursued their dreams had they listened to people like Lara Spencer.
Dear @GMA ... I find @LaraSpencer response to be insensitive and her apology a cop out. Not good enough for me... is it good enough for you?? This statement needs to be made on air in the same forum she so freely judged and criticized.— Shoshana Bean (@ShoshanaBean) August 23, 2019
Hey @LaraSpencer, I’m a boy and I love ballet. Dancing as a child with @NationalDance Institute changed my life for the better in so many ways. My father and I also love going to @nycballet together for the music, costumes, and incredible athleticism.— Nev Schulman (@NevSchulman) August 23, 2019
Hopefully, Lara Spencer learned a valuable lesson here - it's not your place to shame or bully a young child because they love something you don't feel like they should. And we really, really hope Prince George continues his studies in ballet and other forms of dance! There's nothing more fitting than a child doing something they love.