This 11-Year-Old Ballet Boy Has a Message for People Who Think Ballet Is a "Girl Thing"

Say it with us: BOYS DO BALLET. Lots of boys. And some of them grow up to be the danseurs who inspire thousands on the world's biggest stages.

But when you're the only male ballet student at your studio, fighting dumb stereotypes about ballet being for girls, it's easy to feel alone. That's what makes this video featuring Gabriel Romero, an 11-year-old ballet student at Philadelphia Dance Center, especially meaningful.


In the vid—part of the "60 Second Docs" series, which profiles people with interesting stories—Gabe describes his love of ballet, a "way to put your emotions into movement." He's frustrated with the fact that most boys dismiss ballet because they "just think in one direction: dancing is 'girly.' " But he ultimately doesn't care what other people think. Because all that matters is "what your inner passion is." And he encourages other boys interested in dance to join him in ignoring the haters.

For the record, ballet boys: There are many different ways to be a beautiful male dancer, and some of them do involve looking "girly" or "feminine." But the central message here is not to let anything get in your way as you pursue the art you love.

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(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers by clicking on their names here:

Read Darriel's profile here

Read Diego's profile here

Read Emma's profile here

And then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
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All that said, Nigel and co. kept things spicy this week, so our attention remained firmly glued to the screen. (It's been 16 seasons—who are we to doubt Nigel Lythgoe, sir?) Here's how it all went down.

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Photo by Erin Baiano

When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.

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