A mom showed her solidarity with Prince George, who was mocked by an American TV host after his father revealed his love of ballet, supporting her own boys’ enthusiasm for the graceful dance form.
Former dancer herself, Natalie Marsh, 37, of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, was thrilled when her sons Alfie, 11, and Max, 10, announced they wanted to get into ballet like the young prince, who will have weekly classes as part of his new school program.
Beautician and law student Natalie, who also has a daughter, Amelie, six, said she was “furious” after TV host Lara Spencer teased negatively on ABC Good Morning America, in response to revelations that Prince William apparently said his son ‘absolutely loved ballet.’
“I was furious at the comments. Publicly shaming a little boy for doing something he loves is unnecessary and childish, ”said Natalie, who recently married her children’s stepfather, computer engineer Iain Marsh, 43.
“It feels like it’s just going back 10 steps. These days, it’s crazy that people think that some hobbies are just for girls or boys. It’s so outdated to think like that.
“Sadly my boys have been teased – and shockingly grown adults are the worst of all – but they’re always quick to stand up for themselves.”
She continued, “I hope they don’t lose that ferocity or give in to peer pressure because, like Prince George, they love ballet.
“Their sister does that too, so I live in a diva house, but it’s a lot of fun. “
A passionate ballerina herself when she was little, Natalie had “always wanted” a girl to pass the baton on. So she was thrilled when, at the age of two, Amélie joined the same dance school she had attended years before.
It came as a total surprise, however, when her sons also wanted to learn.
Speaking in trying to shatter gender stereotypes when it comes to hobbies like ballet, Natalie admitted, “I never thought boys might want to do it because when I was older. When I was young, my dance school was exclusively reserved for girls.
“But they saw Amelie and how much she enjoyed the lessons, and Max first asked if he could join him too, followed by Alfie about six months later.
“Of course, I was supportive. I never pushed them into anything or told them, “I did ballet, so you have to too. Ballet was completely their choice, and if they wanted to quit, I would support that too.
Rather than losing interest, in the three years since they started the hobby the boys have shown genuine dedication – both passing their exams brilliantly and even winning. trophies.
Both currently in second year, they train twice a week and have extra lessons if an exam or performance approaches.
“The sibling rivalry between them is actually very minimal,” Natalie said. “All the brothers will have this slight competitiveness, but they support each other more than anything else.”
She added, “They often dance a duet together, so they will practice outside in the garden, teaching each other the steps.
“I think that because neither of their school friends dance, they support each other because they both know exactly what it is.”
Sadly, however, her boys have received negative reactions – as has Prince George.
After bursting into laughter, along with the TV audience, when she announced the future king’s alleged comments on her ballet-loving son, Lara Spencer said: “I have news for you Prince William: we’ll see how long it will last. “
But the presenter, who has since apologized, quickly sparked a global backlash, with a group of 300 male dancers – including some of the actors from the Broadway musical The Cher Show – performing a ballet in Times Square in New York City in protest, and celebrities such as Judge Strictly Arlene Phillips and acclaimed choreographer Brian Friedman spreading their disgust on Instagram.
Sharing a snippet of Spencer’s comments, Friedman wrote, “Growing up as a dancer, I was horribly bullied, which is exactly what it is. She teaches the word that there is nothing wrong with laughing at boys because they dance and it is so sad. ‘
Natalie totally agrees with the choreographer saying: “From the moment my boys told me they wanted to do ballet, I knew some people would have negative opinions, which worried me. .
“Their dance school is fantastic and so encouraging, but it’s people outside of this world who have made some nasty comments.
“When it is children who do it, my sons defend themselves very quickly. They take great pride in what they do and tell people that footballers also do ballet to stay strong.
She continued, “When you realize the strength and skill it takes to be a dancer, you will realize that there is nothing ‘girly’ about it.
“But it’s when adults say things that it’s really shocking. Adult men asked us if they were gay or told them that “real boys” played football or rugby.
“I don’t see what dance has to do with gender, and they don’t hurt anyone – they’re kids, doing something they love.”
Fortunately, with the support of their mother, the boys refuse to be put off by ignorant comments and Max is even set to audition for a scholarship to a performing arts school, as he hopes to someday do. career in dance.
Natalie says learning ballet also improved her sons’ confidence and gave them access to a whole new circle of friends.
She continued, “The dancing has done wonders for my boys’ confidence, especially for Max, who is naturally calmer than his brother. The first time I saw him on stage I cried. just came to life – his head was held high and he was standing straight. I had never seen him come out of his shell like this before.
“Ballet taught them both the value of discipline and hard work. And it’s like a big family in their dance school. It’s great to see them admire the older boys and be encouraged to be who they are, ”she added.
“I would hate if they were affected by mean opinions. They are so talented and have so many exciting things on the horizon. They have been selected to participate in a national competition British Arts, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving performing arts education, later this year. Max will do a solo, and they will also do a duet.
“For now, though, I really hope they keep that pride and fierceness in them. Alfie is starting high school this week, so it’s a whole new group of people to meet and share his hobby with. ‘
Natalie concluded, “I just hope he understands the fact that he’s a loud and clear ballet dancer, to kill any need for teasing.
“In our time, it’s time to stop sexing up hobbies and let kids do what they love.”