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Ballet helps father and daughter bonding for Maryland family

Author Alex Bellamy
Submitted 26-06-2008

It takes strong man to get dressed up in tights and ballet shoes and join his daughters for a spot of ballet, but that is exactly what one Maryland dad does.

Eric Bayler spoke to the state’s Gazette.net to explain why father and daughter bonding, as well as thriftiness, led him to take up the tutu.

The 50-year-old joins his daughters Eileen, 15, and Claire, 13, three times a week at the Rockville Civic Ballet and has done for several years now.

It originally started because it seemed like a waste of time and gas driving back home from Rockville while the class was on, only to return a few hours later. Like many ballet classes it was short on men, so Eric was enlisted to help out in performances and soon developed a taste for it.

Not only has he learnt a new skill, but both he and his daughters told the newspaper that it has bought them closer.

"I used to be much closer with my mom than my dad, but now I’m like equal with them," Eileen said, while Eric added: "I just said, ‘well, I enjoy doing it with my daughters and it gives them an opportunity to have someone who they can partner with.’"

For those dads who still balk at the thought of tights, AskMen.com suggests a number of other father and daughter activities, including baking, hiking, or taking a trip to see a kid-friendly movie.