public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:01 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Baby Ballerinas
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2001 11:28 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 4753
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
As Shirley told us in the Ballet forum, Darcey Bussell is expecting a baby and plans to continue her dancing after the baby is born.

More dancers have babies now than ever before. I don't have any children myself, but many women I went to school with are starting to have babies. Does anyone have any insider knowledge on what it's like to have a baby and keep dancing? Or opinions on when is the right time in a dancer's career to consider having a baby? What are the physical implications for dancers? I have heard that it's sometimes difficult for dancers to deliver babies because of the strong wall of stomach muscles. Is this truth or fiction?

P.S. I know this came up in the Pregnancy? thread in Dec/99 but it didn't go very far, only 3 posts!! Someone must have some info!

[This message has been edited by Marie (edited January 06, 2001).]

<font size = -2><center>(Edited by salzberg to fix link)</center></font>

<small>[ 08-11-2002, 11:18: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Baby Ballerinas
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2001 1:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Very interesting questions Marie. I do have a child - but I had that child before I started dancing.<P>However, as a teacher I had quite a number of dancers who became mothers. Most of them took class right up to the end. Usually I had them stand together at a separate place on the barre - that made everyone feel better about doing grand battements and such at the barre. I also had them be a separate group in the center too, for safety purposes - with everyone in agreement on that too.<P>I let them chose what they wanted to wear in class as some were very shy about being in a leotard. Whatever made them comfortable was fine with me.<P>Most of the them had quite the opposite experience - they had an easier time - stronger muscles to push with. And, they were in good health and had maintained their flexibility. They also came back to dancing very rapidly afterwards. In 25 yrs. I can't report one negative experience from my students.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Baby Ballerinas
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2001 9:42 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 4753
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Thanks for all of that helpful info, Basheva!


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Baby Ballerinas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2001 7:38 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
Oddly enough, lots of us have been talking about this in the studio lately. There's been something of a baby boom around me with fellow dancers. One friend of mine is a freak, and I mean that in the very best sense. She is one of those incredibly lean, mean machines, currently 13 weeks along and unless she lifts her t-shirt and shows your her "pooch," you would not know. She already has one other baby, who is not quite 2. She danced until the day of delivery, popped him out, and -- here's the freakish part -- after six weeks, brought him to the studio, and HELD HIM in her arms, sometimes throughout the entire barre. Talk about working with weights. The baby did not make a peep -- she simply did her barre work until he was ready to lie down. At that time there were 2 or 3 mommas who brought their babies to the studio, and all you heard was a contented little gurgle now and then. The music must have had a soothing effect.<P>A physician who takes class with me just had twins at 42 years of age- they're now about 6 months. Even at that age, she looks just as fit as before. <P>These are the good stories.<P>I also have a very close friend, who had a very mesomorphic body from the waist down, but looked rather soft and Victorian above. She took class but did not do balances because her teacher did not think it was worth it for her to learn how to shift weight and adapt her balance for a temporary condition. In the final stages, she was eclampsic and bedridden, and was actually in a life or death situation. She had to deliver early -- the baby was about 6-1/2 pounds. She was told it was fortunate that she delivered the baby early, because she could never deliver a baby any bigger than that. She was very tired and weak after that (had a lot of post-partum bleeding). Yet, even with all of those problems, she was back performing in her modern company 4 months later. And -- she became pregnant again very quickly after that. This time, it was an apparent breeze. No complications, and the baby was about 8 pounds. (She was in her late 20s with both of these pregnancies). <P>I think we're simply living in an age when women no longer want to be told they have to choose and "either or" (career or family) life.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Baby Ballerinas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2001 12:25 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 774
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
"I think we're simply living in an age when women no longer want to be told they have to choose and "either or" (career or family) life."<P>Hear hear!<P>Now I just need to hear more "this is how I did it" stories. Not that I'm interested in having children right now, but I do like to see how other dancers deal.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Baby Ballerinas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2001 12:58 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 40
Location: New York, NY, USA
Well, Merle Park took class when she was pregnant 'till the very end. She said it felt weird not to be able to see her feet. She said her other problem was that the RB makes its dancers take class in pointe shoes, and she couldn't tie the ribbons after her tummy got too big and had to wear soft shoes with elastics! She danced Juliette 6 weeks after giving birth. Rosalind Eyre, ballet mistress of the RB had 2 pregnancies mid-career - a singlet and twins. The first time round she was HUGE - looked 10 months pregnant at 5. No problems that I heard of either time. Then there was Melissa Hayden, who asked her MD if it would be ok for her to continue dancing, and he said "fine - as long as you can get into the costumes." Well, this was in the pre-spandex era, and one evening her costume (I think it was for Eurydice) split on stage! <BR>Lastly, there was Makarova. I happened to be ASM for something she did with Nureyev. Now Makarova always had problems with turns. (I happened to see the last class she did with the Kirov before defecting, and she was practicing pirouettes under the tutelage of a much younger dancer.) On the occasion to which I refer, I noticed Nureyev coaching her - and he kept patting her stomach because she kept leaning back. I subsequently learned that she was pregnant at the time and was having balance problems! <P>I think many of the reasons dancers fear having babies is the time it takes from their careers. If they are doing well, but not at "the top" - as is Bussell - then there is the fear that some new kid will take all her roles - as well as the fear that, if she has any problems with the delivery, her time off may be prolonged.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Baby Ballerinas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2001 1:44 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
And then there is Allegra Kent who, I believe, had three children and did just fine. <P>Here's another issue/question -<P>Since most dancers in major companies are members of a union, do you think it should be part of the union contract that the returning dancer/mother should be able to reclaim her roles? <P>That would eliminate the fear of losing roles to younger dancers.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Baby Ballerinas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2001 3:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 68
Location: IL, USA
Dance Magazine did a major article several years back on this, spotlighting several from NYCB, ABT, etc. Even though Mr. Balanchine was never in favor of his dancers making this choice, he never penalized them, always welcoming them back and arranging schedules whenever possible. Melissa Hayden was one of the first.<P>Deciding to have a child coincided with my decision to retire from the stage and embark on a fulltime teaching career. I took class my entire pregnancy, taught the night I went into labor and returned to teaching three weeks after. Personally, I did not feel the logistics of a performing/touring career would work for me and I retired feeling very satifified with that portion of my career and embraced the new phase.<P>None of my colleagues or students have ever had problems with their Artistic Directors over this. I don't think, however, that a union guarantee can cover all of the possiblities. For example, many dancers talk of 'losing their jump' for up to a year before the internal structure returns to it's previous form. Too many factors, including changes in artistic administrative staff, to realistically be 'locked' into casting/staffing positions many months in the future. While I feel it's realistic to be able to return to a company postion, if one so desires, I don't think unions, etc. have a place in mandating casting.

_________________
It is not knowing the answer that matters, but what question to ask...<BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Baby Ballerinas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2001 4:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
However contracts do have a place in casting - and contracts also have a place in the union contract with the company.<P>Similar things are done in industry where the employee is guaranteed full return to previous position or a lateral equivalent.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Baby Ballerinas
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2001 2:05 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 4725
Location: Australia
good stories, karen and christina. i can add one. i knew a dancer who was a principal with english national ballet (best remain nameless, since i can't ask her permission to tell her story, now)....she performed up to 5 months of her pregnancy - i saw that last performance, at sadlers wells, and you would never have known she was pregnant.....no bump!<P>anyway, she did say, after the birth, that she felt quite bitter that no-one had told her that she should back off the exercise a bit sooner - her complaint, which i have no way of medically verifying - was that her abdominal muscles WERE too hard (as someone mentions way up near the top of this thread), and that this caused her both difficulty and extra pain that could perhaps have been avoided, if she had had better advice. <P>however, i think the distinction i would make between her, and some of the examples given above (SOME of them), is that she really was SUPER fit - super strong, in very good professional dancer condition - which is not at all the same thing, as the average person continuing to do recreational, or even quite serious regular dance classes....<P><p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited January 09, 2001).]

_________________
<BR>


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Baby Ballerinas
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2001 6:30 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
That is a great distinction you made, Grace, and very well put. The students that I was referring to, while serious, were not professional dancers.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group