Young Hugh Jackman quit dancing over bullying fears

Hugh Jackman almost missed his calling as a song-and-dance man after a childhood bully branded him a “sissy” for wanting to take classes to improve his fancy footwork.
The Les Miserables star has become known for his musical talents, but he once turned his back on dancing when a classmate made fun of his skills.
“I was about 11, a teacher pulled me aside and said, ‘You have talent, you should do dancing lessons,’ and they don’t offer them at school, so I went home and told my dad, and he was like, ‘Great!’,” Hugh recalled on U.S. breakfast show Today.
“Then someone said, ‘Ah, you’re a sissy! You’re a sissy dancing!’ I was like, ‘What? What do you mean?’ and he said, ‘Dancing’s for sissies!’ I was like, ‘Well, I’m not a sissy’, and so I didn’t do it (take lessons).”
The actor crossed paths with the bully years later, and was inspired to pick up his passion once more after receiving an apology and a nice compliment.
“I was at the theatre when I was 18, seeing 42nd Street (musical) with my dad, and at the interval, (that same person) came up to me and he said, ‘You know, I said something really stupid to you about eight years ago. You belong on the stage, and I’m really sorry,'” Hugh continued.
“So the next day I signed up for dancing lessons, but it was about seven or eight years (that I didn’t dance).”
Jackman admits he may have shunned dancing forever had it not been for that chance encounter.
He added, “At the time, I was really grateful he said it because I’d forgotten about it (how much he loved dancing)… I just forgot, and it was one of those turning points…”
The father-of-two has since used that experience to encourage youngsters to ignore their critics and follow their dreams – one of the themes of his new movie musical, The Greatest Showman.
“For my kids, and for any kids out there, I don’t care if you wanna be a mechanic, make pizza, dance: if you love it, you do it,” he shared. “Don’t care what anybody else says, and that’s part of the message of this movie.”
Hugh stars as famous conman-turned-showman P.T. Barnum in the biographical film, which also co-stars Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, and Zendaya.