Gleb Savchenko on Being Bullied for Dancing as a Boy
Gleb Savchenko is opening up about what it was like having a passion for dance as a young boy.
The Dancing With the Stars pro joined Cassie Scerbo for a candid chat on on Wednesday, where he shared his personal experiences with bullying.
Throughout the discussion, the 37-year-old dancer — who was born and raised in Russia — spoke about what it was like being bullied at the age of 8 when he first started dancing, to receiving criticism now, amid his highly-publicized divorce from Elena Samodanova.
“When I started dancing it was something that not a lot of boys did,” Savchenko recalled. “It was a very new thing, where my teacher at that time came to my school and he was trying to put a group together of kids who wanted to learn how to dance.”
“The reason why I went there, it was because I liked a girl… so I asked my grandma to take me to dance,” he shared. “When I started dancing, there was a lot of people who made fun of me. All my friends were like, ‘What are you doing?'”
The professional dancer explained that as kid he “didn’t realize that it’s bullying. We didn’t have a word for ‘bullying.’… It was a little bit of a different culture.”
“But you always just follow your gut or follow that passion of yours,” he shared. “Ballroom dancing was sort of a way out. I grew up quite poor, like, we didn’t have a lot of things, and my passion was to go out and dance… I felt happiest when I could dance.”
As for the advice he might have for other young people pursuing a passion they aren’t necessarily supported in, Savchenko shared, “I feel like you just have to squeeze your teeth and push. Follow your gut. This is who you are and if you do something else, you’ll probably regret it later on.”
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Towards the end of the chat, Savchenko also shared the cyber bullying advice he gives his 10-year-old daughter, Olivia, who’s currently active on social media. Savchenko also shares 3-year-old daughter Zlata with Samodanova.
“Parents have to explain to [their kids] how, if someone’s commenting some stupid stuff about, like, you or your parents or something, just don’t read that,” he said. “It’s very simple.”
Back in December, ET exclusively chatted with Scerbo about how she handles internet trolls. The 30-year-old actress serves as vice president for Boo2Bullying, which aims to end bullying, intolerance and discrimination through free education.
“I must say, I don’t know that I get that much hate, considering I’ve seen other people getting way worse. So I don’t want to play this victim, but of course, bullying doesn’t discriminate. We all have some form of it,” Scerbo replied, when asked how she deals with negativity on social media. “For me, at the end of the day, I know who I am and I pride myself on my integrity. No one knows who you are besides yourself, so I think that’s just how you have to look at it.”
“I think social media is what you make of it, so I choose to make it positive,” she continued. “I follow accounts that are uplifting and, honestly, I delete anything negative. I don’t care, I don’t even leave it up. I don’t even pay mind to it. It goes in one ear and out the other. I know who I am, I know how I was raised, and I know the person that I am, so no one else can really affect me in that way.”
Scerbo told ET that something she’s had to learn over the years is that “what other people think of you is none of your business.”
“People are always going to have opinions about you, whether you’re famous or not,” she said. “People are going to have opinions, and it’s probably never gonna stop. It’s human nature to judge and it sucks. It’s horrible, but you have the power to either let that affect you positively or negatively.”
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