The Good Morning America co-anchor apologized on-air Monday and interviewed three acclaimed male dancers, including Robbie Fairchild and So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) star Travis Wall, and “learned about the bravery that it takes for a young boy to pursue a career in dance.”
However during the broadcast, 300 people gathered outside the Good Morning America’s Times Square studio in solidarity with male dancers and to protest the idea that ballet is only for girls.
Fairchild and Wall were just two of the well-known participants in the event held outside of the ABC morning show’s studio, where 300 people gathered to learn a ballet routine choreographed by Alex Wong, Sam Quinn and Charlie Williams. While taking up the New York City block, the dancers also shared stories about the moment they learned to embrace that boys can dance, too — something that Wong tells Yahoo Lifestyle is a difficult concept for kids to grasp.
“I started dance when I was 7. It took my parents several years of convincing though,” the SYTYCD finalist shares. “They saw the talent and love for dance I had, but my answer was always ‘no, dancing is only for girls.’ It wasn’t until they struck a deal with me to go see a dance show – and I saw other male dancers there – which convinced me to start immediately.”
In Wong’s Instagram post shared on Thursday, he wrote that “it’s already hard enough for so many male dancers being made fun of growing up.” Wall additionally addressed this in his own Instagram video where he talked about Spencer’s contribution to the country’s “massive problem” of bullying.
“As a dancer myself, I was bullied all the time growing up. And I’m thankful that I used that as motivation to be successful,” Wall said. “Ballet teaches you integrity, teaches you discipline, teaches you respect and it teaches you bravery. And if there are any boys out there that want to dance and want to pick up a dance class, do it.”
This sentiment is exactly what inspired the group dance class, according to Wong.
“We wanted to show the world examples of strong male dancers and the incredible effect that dance has had on our lives,” he says. “We wanted to stand up against bullying of any kind and encourage children to explore their own interests free of shame and toxic masculinity.”
After gaining the support of 300 dancers and thousands more online, Wong feels optimistic about the future of dance and conversations to take place in support of male dancers.
“Even though what happened is just a scratch on the surface of the root of the problem, it really brought the dance world together on this issue. Dancing isn’t only for girls,” Wong says. “It’s sad that boys that dance get mocked so much and especially when it’s said on national tv, it sets up such a toxic environment and sets the standard for people to think that’s still ok. I hope that starts to change people’s mentality of male dancers and to normalize it so it no longer becomes a ‘thing’ to be mocked for doing.”
Representatives for Good Morning America didn’t immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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