how to raise a boy

The Joyful Dancing Boys of Instagram

How to Raise a Boy is a weeklong series centered around this urgent question in the era of Parkland, President Trump, and #MeToo.

Jedd Berina’s first dance teacher was a Nintendo Wii. “I started freestyling around the house when I was three. My dad would play music on the TV and I’d start dancing,” Berina said. “There’s this game called the Michael Jackson Experience for Wii and I started watching it, and I saw my cousins dancing to it, so I started doing it too.” He only recently started taking formal classes. “I’ve met a lot of friends [taking classes] and I really like it,” the 10-year-old explained. “There’s a lot of girls, but there are some boys my age I’ve met. Mostly it’s a lot of girls though.”

Berina’s mother, Marie, said there was never any question that her son was meant to dance. Marie and her husband manage their son’s Instagram account, where he has over 7,000 followers. “We would go to the Santa Monica pier to watch people dance and he’d just jump in with other performers,” she said. “One day Jedd told me ‘Mom, you need to get me my own permit. No, Mom, I want to perform by myself.’” She obliged, also getting a permit for Jedd’s 6-year-old brother, Jace. “Jace started copying his big brother, but he’s got his own style,” their mother explained. Jace has several thousand Instagram followers, too. “My friends will ask me [on Instagram] ‘can you teach me how to dance?’”Jace said. “Every time we go play at recess I teach my friends moves.”

“My mom told me that when I was 1 I loved break dancing, so when I turned 4 my parents enrolled me into a hip-hop class,” Aidan Prince, a dancer with over 140,000 Instagram followers said. “I’ve take jazz, lyrical, contemporary, ballet and tap [classes], but now I mainly focus on hip-hop.” His hip-hop routines have landed him performances with Justin Bieber, Missy Elliot, and Flo Rida. Plus, a segment on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the holy grail of viral fame. “As he was growing up, we had him in gymnastics, soccer, basketball, and dance. We encouraged him to play and had him involved in as much things as possible,” Prince’s parents said. “When he was 6 we asked him to choose one sport to focus on since schedules were starting to conflict. Aidan chose dance.”

The Joyful Dancing Boys of Instagram