Reactions to Good Morning America host Lara Spencer’s comment on boys in dance

Male dancers at MVHS share how they started dancing and their experiences

Alyssa Hui


n Aug. 22, Good Morning America (GMA) host Lara Spencer commented, “Prince William says George absolutely loves ballet. I have news for you Prince William, we’ll see how long that lasts,” laughing with her colleagues. Soon after, members of the dance community took to Instagram and Twitter to voice their thoughts.

“Lara, really? Some of us take ballet. Some of us win Tony awards because we took ballet. Miss thing, it’s 2019, get a life,” Tony award winning Broadway director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell said in an Instagram post.

Dancer and Emmy award winning choreographer Travis Wall also commented on Instagram, explaining that he found Spencer’s comment upsetting because he was bullied growing up for being a dancer.

“If there are any boys out there that want to dance and want to pick up a ballet class, do it,” Wall said in the Instagram post. “Boys dance too. Shut out that laughter and you can be successful if you work really hard. So Lara, I’m just giving you this, the next time you want to laugh at a child for taking a dance class or laugh at them at all, look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you want to be a bully today.”

Four days after the comment aired, approximately 300 dancers joined together for a ballet class, led by large names in the industry, such as Wall and dancer Robbie Fairchild, in Times Square in front of the GMA studio.

Junior Henry Zhai, a member of MVHS color guard, explains that it wasn’t Spencer’s place to sarcastically comment on Prince George’s dancing lessons. He believes that male dancers should not be dismissed or frowned upon, agreeing with the public response to Spencer’s comment.

“It’s cool to see a community back someone [up], even if they don’t know [them] personally,” Zhai said. “I think it’s really cool that even in such a big industry, everyone is still supportive of each other.”

Zhai began dancing when he joined color guard his freshman year. However, before that, he had always played more stereotypically masculine sports, such as volleyball. When he first started, Zhai’s close friends responded positively, noting that he was just trying something new.

“No one was really weirded out about it,” Zhai said. “Then the more I did it, they were just like, ‘Oh, this is just what he does now.’ A lot of them came out to support [me] at performances and stuff too and it’s pretty cool.”

Similarly, senior Elvis Lang expresses that he has always stuck to more “traditional” sports rather than dance because it was what he was taught to do.

“For all my life, it’s [been] ‘guys do baseball, guys do swimming, basketball, football,’ that kind of stuff,” Lang said. “I’ve just never heard, ‘Guys dance.’ I never felt like, ‘Oh, you can’t dance.’ It’s more, ‘You don’t fit in the norm if you dance,’ and I was very conscious about how people felt about me.”

Before joining the dance team, Lang played on the varsity volleyball team and although he enjoyed the sport, dance always called to him.

“I’ve never really shown it, but [dance has] been a big part of my life,” Lang said. “Ever since I was in elementary school, I’d watch So You Think You Can Dance and I would look at all the hip hop routines and be like, ‘Wow.’ I’d also always watch dance videos on YouTube because to me, [dance] just sounded like a really powerful way to express feelings and stuff, and I thought it looked really cool.”

Lang explains that he’s experienced comments like Spencer’s since joining the dance team, so he believes the comment deserves the backlash it received.

“[Spencer is] putting another label on guys and it’s not necessarily correct,” Lang said. “I think the impacts of it are very positive and it kind of resonates with me a bit more because I had to deal with a bunch of BS about the stereotype of guys who dance, so I think that it’s important that the world knew about it.”

Sophomore Nikunj Shanker agrees that Spencer’s comment was sexist, explaining that everything should be available for everyone.

Dance has been a part of Shanker’s life since sixth grade, after he watched a Cheerios commercial that had breakdancing in it. After attempting to imitate the moves from the video, he enrolled in more dance classes, which led to his love of dance. Although he expected people to question him more, Shanker had supportive reactions to his dance career.

“I feel like any part of dance even if you want to do just a small part or any of it, should be open to everyone, for anyone who wants to learn,” Shanker said. “You shouldn’t force other people to not do it or create [a] stigma. You shouldn’t block anyone from doing what they want.”

Spencer apologized for her comment four days after it was made, acknowledging, “I screwed up. I did. The comment I made about dance was insensitive, it was stupid and I am deeply sorry.”