If We Can Dance Ballet, Why Shouldn’t Prince George?

Last August, Good Morning America host Lara Spencer reported a feature story about the school curriculum of Britain’s Prince George of Cambridge.

“In addition to the basic first and second grade things,” said Spencer, “the future king of England will be putting down the Play-Doh to take on religious studies, computer programming, poetry…” Spencer paused before adding, “And, ballet,” which prompted the audience and her colleagues to roar in laughter. 

Photos of Prince George were projected on the studio screens as Spencer continued, “Prince William said Prince George ‘absolutely loves ballet.’  I have news for you, Prince William, we’ll see how long that lasts.”  

Subsequent backlash from the dance industry, educators, and notable celebrities, such as Rosie O’Donnell, Jerry Mitchell, and Travis Wall, criticized Spencer for her comments, claiming that it was bullying, and male dancers win Tony awards because of their achievements in ballet. 

By the next day, Spencer apologized on Instagram and on air saying, “I screwed up. I did. The comment I made about dance was insensitive, it was stupid, and I am deeply sorry.”

The GMA host said she has learned a lot from the dancers and hopes everyone takes away that “Words hurt, and it was not my intention, but it was insensitive, and I thank you all for giving me the opportunity to apologize.”

Despite the apologies, Spencer’s comments and her colleague and audience members mocking of ballet has set off a flurry of responses that may have lasting effects. 

At Mayfield, we welcome girls to explore their dreams and passions, no matter the subject. We let girls climb their mountains by offering many programs to explore, such as the Conservatory for the Arts, student-led clubs, Student Council, and sports.  

Unfortunately this spirit of celebrating diverse interests remains elusive for many, particularly for boys who dance and know too well the sting of bullying. 

“Dance is challenging, but even more so when people don’t understand and criticize what you have worked so hard for,” said Hannah Sherman ‘22 who has been a ballerina since a young age. She continued saying, “We need male dancers, it’s a shame comments such as those discourage young dancers”

Dance is a beautiful art form that can tell a story, set a mood, or express an emotion.  When we see dance as an art, there are two concepts that are important to understand: it is a powerful notion and it is an adeptly choreographed art practiced by someone who cares about it.  These conjoined ideas are crucial in running through any thought of the subject, and neither can exist without the other.  Boys and girls should feel proud to represent the dance community, and are entitled to experience their full potential without being bullied.