US & Canada

Father and daughter ballet video breaks stereotypes, says teacher

Ballet dancers in a studio Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In the video, the girls were pictured performing a routine with their fathers (file photo)

The dance teacher behind a viral video of dads doing ballet with their daughters says she loves being able to challenge people's stereotypes of fathers.

Erin Lee, founder of Echappe Dance and Arts school in Philadelphia, posted the video to social media on Sunday.

It has been shared around the world, viewed hundreds of thousands of times and has been praised by celebrities.

"It's beautiful that they're so committed," Ms Lee told the BBC.

"Primarily we are an African-American dance school which we love so much just because a lot of our fathers are stigmatised. You look at them and you don't think they are going to be great fathers or they have tattoos or their hats are to the back, and it's totally not the case.

"So it's really good that we get to use our platform to change people's minds a bit."

Ms Lee said the idea came up because the fathers were participating in drop-off and pick-up and were very active in the girls' dance lives.

"We kind of thought two years ago, 'how about you guys get on the dance floor?' and they said no. It was hard to get them on the floor.

"Two years later, they're super-committed, dedicated and you'd never think these type of dads would be a part of something like this."

Ms Lee described the girls in the class as being "in full leadership mode".

"They're excited when dad's there. Obviously they know more than dad knows so they are super-excited they get to be the instructor for that moment. They get to fix dad's feet, his pliƩ, so they're overjoyed and delighted with the whole moment. It's really good," she says.

The father-daughter ballet is part of a month of community-led activity classes at her school in November.

"The month of November is when we always have something called 'dancegiving'. During this time we do family-orientated things such as daddy and daughter ballet, mum and daughter hip-hop to give back to ourselves and come back to that family community."

One of the fathers in the class told Good Morning America: "What I instil in my daughter is that you have to live and you have to try new things. There was no hesitation for me. Being there for my daughter and to support her, it was a go."

The video has been shared by celebrities including Jennifer Garner who praised the fathers for their dedication to their children.


You may also be interested in

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMeet the black dads who podcast about their experiences of fatherhood.

More on this story