Ronald Prescott Reagan, the 22-year-old son of the Republican presidential candidate, said yesterday that he is not a Republican and has no intention of registering as one.
"I just don't like to be tied down" to a political label, the young Reagan explained. He said that his political position is "independent."
Reagan, a ballet dancer with the Joffrey II company, was officially introduced to the press yesterday at a news conference in New York City. The meeting was called by the Joffrey Ballet as a joint introduction of the company and the dancer, but it soon turned into a political question-and-answer session.
Asked about his position on the proposed Equal Rights Amendment -- which his father opposes -- dancer Reagan said "I don't see any reason why they shouldn't put it in the Constitution. It'd make a lot of people feel better."
Reagan said he would not be available to campaign for his father because of his full-time commitment to the Joffrey II, the junior ensemble of the Joffrey Ballet. Campaigning and rehearsing, he said, are "sort of mutually exclusive, and I'm doing this."
After almost half an hour of dancing with other members of his troupe -- during which photographers took a number of pictures -- Reagan said he did not think the media attention was putting any pressure on him. "It's just sort of a distraction," he said. The rehearsal was presented in a bare room with piano accompaniment. When Reagan was not performing, he occasionally joked, grinned and smiled at the other dancers and appeared to be enjoying himself.
According to the Joffrey press agent, the news conference was called in response to an onslaught of media requests for pictures and interviews. Last June, a planned press conference was suddenly canceled the day before its scheduled time. At that time, candidate Ronald Reagan's advisers asked Joffrey to hold back because they felt that the candidate's son was too inexperienced to deal with the media.
Sally Brayley Bliss, director of the Joffrey II, said she believes young Reagan -- who began studying dance late in life by ballet standards -- will develop into a performer of superior quality. "Ron is going to have to catch up on his basic technique," she said.
During the rehearsal, Reagan displayed exceptional ballon (the ability to hang in the air during a jump) and two other major requisites for a ballet dancer: the ability to point his feet and elegance of movement. He attempted no bravura tricks.