Dance: A Sport for All, Not Just One [Gender]

Liana Giacobbe '20

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A new movement has swept the nation in recent months concerning dancing and those who are seemingly “accepted” to participate. The #BoysDanceToo movement, as it has come to be called, is a hashtag that has been circling social media after Lara Spencer, a Good Morning America host, made various remarks regarding Prince George enjoying the ballet classes that he had recently begun taking. She mocked George’s love of the art, saying that they would all “see how long [his love of ballet] lasts” [1]. After hearing about her commentary, many dancers came forward, including the esteemed dancer and choreographer Travis Wall. Wall posted a video on his Instagram page, explaining that not only did Spencer aid in cultivating a hostile environment for male dancers everywhere, but also added to another large-scale problem that has come to face the world: bullying. Wall explained in his video that not only did Spencer encourage those around her to partake in the laughter she instigated, but through her actions, she urged those around her to join her in bullying a young boy for simply loving one of his many extra curriculars. Despite the bullying that Wall faced at a young age for dancing, he was able to take this negativity and use it to aid him in becoming a successful and happy dancer later in life. However, as Wall explained, not all male dancers have been so lucky. At the end of his video, he encouraged young boys everywhere to pick up a dance class if they wish to try it. He explains that they must “shut up the laughter” in order to put an end to the negative stigma that surrounds the male dance community.

 

This video sparked dancers to come forward with their own dance experiences, supporting Wall in his fight against bullying, especially in the world of dance. In response to the movement that occurred online, a ballet class in Times Square entitled “Good Morning Ballet” was organized by dancers Alex D. Wong, Charlie Williams, Sam Quinn, and Robbie Fairchild. Upwards of 300 dancers attended the event, with thousands other showing their support through social media. Jared Alequin, one of the young male dancers who attended the class, explained that the event was “amazing” and “was a really good way to show that boys dance, too.” The movement grew greatly in strength sheerly because of the fantastic turnout to the class. It opened the door to a topic that has been overlooked outside of the dance community for years, allowing male dancers to share their stories and show off their talents.

 

As highlighted in both Travis Wall’s video and the countless other dance experiences shared by other male dancers, ballet itself is not simply a dance class to be taken by those wishing to participate in such a graceful and elegant art form; it serves as a route for self-expression and helps those who partake in it to learn the valuable skills of discipline, respect, and bravery. Through her rash comments, Wall argued that Spencer completely overlooked the positive aspects of ballet that benefit girls and boys, men and women alike. He explained that these lessons are ones that all should have access to, not simply those for whom it is seemingly acceptable to participate in ballet. By shedding light upon this information concerning dance, Wall has inspired other young male dancers to show off their love of dance to those around them, hopefully creating an era in which boys can feel comfortable and confident dancing.

 

Apart from ballet, there are many styles of dance in which males take part in. An anonymous source explained that for him, dancing has become “a way to stay fit and build strength for sports.” Aside from the lessons in control taught by the art of ballet, other styles of dance offer all who participate in it with a fun way to stay fit and focused. There are a plethora of positive aspects to dancing, both for the mind and body, that cultivate a safe and free learning environment for all who participate.

 

Lara Spencer has recently come forward and apologized for her words against the male dance community. She explained that she “screwed up” by laughing at the young prince for his love of ballet, and understands how deeply she wounded the dance community and fueled the fire for the issue of bullying in the world today [2]. Despite the anger that her words may have caused, her actions on Good Morning America allowed for an important conversation concerning the male dance community and bullying at large in the world today.

 

[1] https://10daily.com.au/shows/theproject/news/a190828ljhze/prince-george-sparks-the-boysdancetoo-movement-20190828 

[2] http://www.playbill.com/article/good-morning-ballet-takes-over-times-square-and-social-media 

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