Rahm Emanuel, who used to dance ballet, chimes in on host’s remarks about prince

Former mayor says the art teaches discipline and focus. He also says taboos are fading away.

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It went from mock to shock, and then it went viral.

Now former Mayor Rahm Emanuel has placed his foot on the ballet barre.

  • Backshot: Last week, when ABC’s “Good Morning America” TV co-anchor Lara Spencer snidely snickered about ballet (“BAH-lay”) being on the school curriculum of England’s 6-year-old Prince George, the internet did more than pirouette.

It went ballistic.

Joffrey Ballet dancers Alberto Velazquez (as Vronsky) and Victoria Jaiani (as Anna) rehearse the upcoming production of “Anna Karenina.”

Joffrey Ballet dancers rehearse in January.

Victor Hilitski / Sun-Times

  • Buckshot: It caused #Ballet4Boys to become a call to arms after Spencer, who has since apologized, joked: “Prince William says George absolutely loves ballet,” she said. “I have news for you, Prince William. We’ll see how long that lasts.”

Enter Emanuel, a contributing commentator for ABC-TV, who started taking ballet when he was in grade school.

“My mother took me and my two brothers, Ari (an uber talent agent) and Zeke (an oncologist and bioethicist) to ballet class. I was in sixth grade.” 

Was Emanuel teased by other kids?

“Are you kidding? God help anyone who had to deal with the formidable Marsha Emanuel, because you might wind up one or two ligaments short if anyone made fun of her kids,” he chuckled.

“I must have liked it well enough, because I later did it to improve my soccer game in high school and; incidentally, you got to be with a lot of girls in ballet class.

“And when football great Rosey Grier took ballet in the off- season to improve his game, I figured if he could do it, I could also.”

Emanuel also took ballet classes while working for Bill Clinton on his presidential campaigns. “It’s not only exercise, but self-discipline and focus,” he said.

“Taboos are coming down. Erased. Whether it’s boys dancing ballet or girls becoming little league championship pitchers, stereotypes are now disappearing.

“It all comes down to good parenting — people who nurture their children by exposing them to growth in new directions.

“My hope out of this whole kerfuffle is people should learn that responsible parenting means exposing kids to the arts as well as athletics,” he said. 

Sneedlings . . . 

Wow! The U.S. premiere of the Brit play “Out of Love,” now showcased at the Rivendell Theatre until Sept. 14, is terrific. Touching. A story about inseparable girlfriends since childhood, rings like a bell of truth in an English churchyard. ... Ka-ching! Congrats to financial guru Tom Lanctot on being appointed president and CEO of Catholic Investment Services (CIS), an investment management firm that manages endowments and pension funds for a variety of Catholic institutions. ... Saturday’s birthdays: Chris Tucker, 48; Larry Fitzgerald, 36; and Richard Gere, 70. ... Sunday’s birthdays: Zendaya, 23; Gloria Estefan, 62; and Dr. Phil, 69.

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