Update: Lara has officially apologized, saying, "My sincere apologies for an insensitive comment I made in pop news yesterday. From ballet to anything one wants to explore in life, I say GO FOR IT. I fully believe we should all be free to pursue our passions. Go climb your mountain-and love every minute of it."
With back-to-school season taking over just about every conversation these days, it's particularly interesting to think about how the royals handle this annual academic tradition. To speak about what tiny royal Prince George has in store this year at prep school, Good Morning America anchor Lara Spencer listed off some of the activities he'll be filling his calendar with. "In addition to the usual first or second grade things, like math, science, and history, the future king of England will be putting down the Play-Doh to take on religious studies, computer programming poetry, and ballet, among other things," host Lara said. But when she got to ballet, the audience surprisingly belted out with an awkward laugh, which then prompted Lara to respond with a weird smirk, and the whole thing made people feel really uncomfortable. Lara continued, "Prince William said Prince George absolutely loves ballet . . . I have news for you Prince William, we'll see how long that lasts."
Like all sports, ballet is nongendered, just like basketball and gymnastics. People were understandably annoyed and upset at the whole matter, because laughing at a boy doing ballet has strong implications about gender and normalcy. People took to Instagram to share their strong feelings, including director and choreographer Brian Friedman who wrote the following powerful message about his own experience facing rigorous gender expectations.
"Growing up as a dancer I was bullied horribly which is exactly what this is. She is teaching the word that it is ok to laugh at boys for dancing and that is so sad," he wrote.
Actress and singer Christina Milian commented on Brian's post, writing the following bits of encouragement. "Nothing wrong with men or boys doing ballet. Matter of fact ballet to me is one of the highest and most classy of all forms of ballet. It's beautiful. It's like the opera of music. That's not nice. I'm glad you made notice of this. Shaming anyone else's child in the first place isn't cool. I'm sure she wasn't thinking any of this and hopefully someone can speak some sense into that situation."
We're happy to see so many people sharing their personal stories of gender and sport. It's definitely not weird to do ballet, and frankly, we think it's pretty darn cool!