1) Family: For the most part, Billy’s family was completely unsupportive of his life choice. Set in the fictional town of Everington during the UK miners’ strike (1984–1985), both Billy’s father and old brother are preoccupied with the strike and causing “justified” mayhem. His nanny lives with the family, however, she is more of a burden than help and without a mother, Billy is left to manage on his own.
His father attempts to provide some sort of male role model and advice for Billy however with his own loss of a job and trying to control his older brother, his misguided attempts to be a father to Billy often fails. Due to his narrow-minded views, he is absolutely appalled when he discovers Billy’s passion for dancing and openly criticizes him as a “puff” (Homosexual) for pursuing such as “feminine” interest.
For the most part, all Billy receives from his dysfunctional family is abuse and negligence which does play a role in motivating him to follow his dreams and prove them wrong. Only near the end of the movie does Billy’s father finally accept his son’s pursue and does help him actualize his dreams of becoming a professional dancer.
Community: Where Billy lives, almost the entire male population is currently involved in the miners’ strike and constant rioting is occurring. Many could care less about the existence of Billy during a time of such turmoil and everywhere Billy goes, he is reminded of the chaos that the miners’ strike has created. This allows him to solely focus his attention on his dream, dancing.
Peers: As can be logically assumed, Billy’s class is full of female students, the other boys are currently enlisted in the boxing class. He doesn’t find much trouble joining the class because many of the girls are thrilled to have a boy in the class and delighted at his attempts to dance like them. One of the female dancers does take a particular interest in Billy and his close male friend does help him practice his dancing.
2) There were many obstacles that Billy faced when he broke from traditional customs and expectations place on him and decided to start dancing, the first of which being actually learning how to dance.
Many of the girls in that class had been dancing longer than Billy and he had a lot of learning and practicing to do in order to match their abilities. Also, he had to deal with the open protest from his father and an older brother who feared that Billy would be seen as a “poof” and was outraged at the idea of him becoming a professional ballet dancer.
This led to him having to practice in secret and hide any progress from his family. Finally, he had to prove to himself and his ballet teacher that he was capable of making his passion into a lifetime career and applying to the Royal Ballet School. This combination of social pressures along with a severely damaged ego provided a long list of obstacles that Billy has to overcome throughout the movie to reach his dreams.
3) I believe it was a combination of both nature and nurture which allowed Billy to develop his passion for dance and pursue it with such determination. First, Billy was being nurtured by his father to box and potentially become a boxer and it could be argued that was in his nature to become a boxer because both his father and grandfather had a passion for boxing.
However, on his own free will, Billy made the conscious decision to partake and then join the Ballet class at his own expense with little prior knowledge of dancing. From this point, his ballet teacher helped nurture his dream of becoming a professional dancer, but the decision to continue dancing even when exposed by his father proved Billy’s undying will to dance; which could be argued was purely in his nature.
Though ridiculed and proclaimed homosexual, Billy’s nature determination and nurturing from his ballet teacher made his pursue successful. So strong was Billy’s conviction to dance that it actually changed his father’s perspective on the issue, so much so, that he would risk working during the strike to make enough money to travel to the Royal Ballet School.
This clearly indicates that Billy had a natural tendency to dance which was so unwavering that it had to be pursued with or without the support of his family. Thus proving it was in Billy’s nature to take up the passion of dancing but through nurturing of his supportive ballet teacher allowed it to manifest into a career.