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Lara Spencer's Prince George ballet controversy: These ballerinos make big bucks

Rachel Tesler

After mocking Prince George on "Good Morning America" for taking ballet classes at school, co-anchor Lara Spencer apologized again Monday saying she “screwed up.”

The ABC panel playfully laughed along at photos of the 6-year-old dancing.

"Oh, he looks so happy about the ballet class," she said as images of Prince George showed on the screen. "Prince William says George absolutely loves ballet. I have news for you Prince William — We'll see how long that lasts."

After being lambasted online, Spencer issued an apology on Instagram.

Critics clapped back at her comments, including a popular Prince George Instagram comedy account run by Gary Jannetti, which leaned into the drama.

Spencer told audiences during a live broadcast that she met with male members of the dance community to increase her awareness.

"I've spoken with several members of the dance community over the past few days, I have listened, I have learned about the bravery it takes for a young boy to pursue a career in dance and last night I sat down with three influential dancers who have lived it firsthand," Spencer said, introducing a profile story about famous dancers Robbie Fairchild, Travis Wall and Fabrice Calmels.

"There’s so much toxic masculinity in society and negative images associated with that," Leonides Arpon, assistant director of Earl Mosely's Hearts of Men, told FOX Business. "We want to nurture male dancers and provide a place to become confident men regardless of if they will become professional dancers." Mosley's organization is aimed at nurturing young men and providing different perspectives through the medium of dance.

"[With Lara's] tone and facial expression, we recognize it immediately because we received it," Arpon said "She did it on a national platform against a 6-year-old. It’s about educating her and she has such a platform to transform the stigmas, but instead, it was a put-down, unfortunately."

Despite the controversy, ballet has led to a lucrative career for several world-renowned male dancers.

Here are three of the highest-paid male ballet dancers of all time.

3. Benjamin Millepied

The son of a former ballerina, Benjamin Millepied is the third highest-paid male dancer on the list with a net worth of $900,000. He began studies at age 8 under the revered Michel Rahn at the Conservatoire National as a teen. He joined the New York City Ballet in 1995 and began choreographing for ballets and operas around New York and France, eventually starting his own companies. His L.A. Dance Project continues today and caters to avant-garde artists and composers.

Bordeaux-born Millepied took center stage for his choreography on iconic ballet film “Black Swan” in 2009 and subsequently married lead actress, Natalie Portman.

2. Rudolf Nureyev

Rudolf Nureyev eclipsed the fame of all dancers with his fastidious classical technique – and his estate is valued at $7.9 million. A contemporary of Mikhail Baryshnikov, the two venerable ballet dancers began their reign with Russian Mariinsky Ballet in the 1950s. Siberian-born Nureyev was a principal dancer in The Royal Ballet in Paris and performed in a never-ending repertoire of esteemed ballet productions including “Swan Lake,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Don Quixote.”

His expertise allowed him entry into iconic social circles with Freddie Mercury, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Andy Warhol. He was also the subject of Ralph Fiennes’ film “The White Crow” and starred in several documentaries about his life. The premier dancer died at age 54 due to complications from AIDS.

1. Mikhail Baryshnikov

Arguably the most well-known male ballet dancer of all time, Mikhail Baryshnikov is the highest paid as well, having a net worth of $45 million.

Baryshnikov toured with the Russian Mariinsky Ballet in the early 1960s. He later danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and became a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater (ABT) from 1974 to 1978, and then a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet the following year. After dancing, he returned to the ABT in 1980 for a 22-year run as the artistic director.

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The Soviet-born dancer transcended the stage to the silver screen in films like “The Turning Point” and “White Nights,” even winning an Academy Award. He charmed a new generation in perhaps his most well-known role as “the Russian” opposite Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw, in “Sex in the City.”

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