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 Post subject: Babies at the Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2003 2:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1780
Location: Dallas, TX USA
Here's an article about Houston Ballet's "baby boom" ... 6 of their dancers have had babies recently or are currently pregnant.

Family life gains a toehold at Houston Ballet

By MOLLY GLENTZER
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

On the day The Nutcracker opened last week, Lawrence Bell Fitzgerald Turner commanded the universe from his dressing room at the Wortham Theater Center.

Adoring ballerinas stepped in to tickle his tummy. He wasn't the least bit fussy as paparazzi hovered. The name on the door belonged to his mom, Lauren Anderson, but the undisputed star backstage was the angelic 7-month-old who also responds to the name "Mommy's Little Schnoogalooga." To be fair, handsome toddler Nathan Wade Bryant and brown-eyed 15-month-old Ethan Ryan Gadbois were napping at home. Their moms are ballerinas Susan Bryant and Barbara Bears, respectively.

By this time next year, six ballet babies should be in the wings, because three more dancers -- Naomi Glass, Sally Rojas and Melody Mennite -- are pregnant. In the company's break room, kvetching about turnouts, extensions and muscle aches has shifted to advice on stretch marks, ultrasounds and episiotomies.

This is the last place on earth you'd expect a baby boom. A ballerina's art demands dedication. Her career begins at about age 16 and ends near 35, or 40 if she's pushing it. Her prime childbearing years are focused on achieving stardom, and taking a year off for pregnancy means sacrificing opportunities.

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 Post subject: Re: Babies at the Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 8612
Location: El Granada, CA, USA
We had a baby boom here is San Francisco this year and a half. I think it may be over now with both LeBlancs giving birth not too long ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Babies at the Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2003 3:31 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
This is an interesting topic, but would it be better in "Dance Miscellany"?


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 Post subject: Re: Babies at the Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2003 8:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Seattle, WA,USA
Probably, unless we were to ask questions about whether or not a dancer should be reinstated at her same level in the company after the having a chid, what about time off for the fathers, whether a parent's dance performance declines or improves after becoming a parent ( I have heard it mentioned several times that a dancers "presence" on stage is improved after having a child), weight gain issues during pregnancy, day care issues and whether or not it is fair to a baby to have a mother in such an all cosuming occupation as dance during their first formative years.
I, however, hate to bring up controversial subjects , so I think Dance Misc. is the best place! ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Babies at the Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2003 8:27 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Seattle, WA,USA
Actually, the ssue of when tohave a baby is pretty interesting. The easy American response is" whenever the mother chooses to" but i think Mother nature also has a say.
Most people would agree that mentally, 17 is pretty younf to have a baby ( at least in the states ) - but i would point out that my experience with maternal care is that younger mothrs tend to sail through pregnancy physically, wheras the fertility rate starts to declince significantly after 35 years of age - so we can use 18-35 as a typical starting point.
Now, I understand that there are a huge number of variables, but my general sense, factoring in maturity, physical robustness, etc is that 20-30 is probably the optimum time for most pregnancies, with mother nature pullng towards the early twenties and society pullng to the 30s.
But aren't these the key years for a dancers development?
Also, I have heard more than one dancer say, well, I am going to devote myself to dance fully till I am thirty, then I am going to have a baby. Unfortunately, having a baby is not like ordering something fom Amazon.com, and even if one does have a baby, then giving that baby a little brother and a little sister becomes increasing difficult as one approaches 40.
I don't want to be to depressing here, because there are high end fertility treatments available, but these use big time drugs with some significant side effects and can be really expensive.
Anyway, what tough issues for the young dancer to consider. My general sense however, is it is easier to fight ballet companies administration and entrenched ideas rather than mother natue, so I would support having babies earlier rather tha later.


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 Post subject: Re: Babies at the Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 10:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 12434
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
An article on the same subject by Kris Axtman in the Christian Science Monitor:

http://search.csmonitor.com/search_content/1216/p01s01-ussc.html


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 Post subject: Re: Babies at the Ballet
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2005 1:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 3377
Location: Canada
Quote:
Belly Dancing

By ERIKA KINETZ
The NY Times
April 10, 2005

Irina Dvorovenko, four months pregnant but looking trim, dancing in American Ballet Theater's "Swan Lake" Oct. 26 at City Center with her husband, Maxim Beloserkovsky....

At 4:43 a.m. on Thursday, March 24, Ms. Dvorovenko gave birth to a 7-pound 8-ounce girl named Emma Galina Beloserkovsky, bringing the number of mothers in her company to three. After Margaret Tracey and Helene Alexopoulos retired from New York City Ballet in 2002, that company was left with two dancing moms: Darci Kistler and Kyra Nichols. Boston Ballet currently has two dancing mothers, and San Francisco Ballet and Houston Ballet each have four. Those numbers may not be the stuff of a widespread population shift, but for the slim, austere world of professional ballet, they amount to, in the words of Dance magazine, a "baby boom."
An interesting article, especially the comparisons of maternity benefits. Though, I think the comparison may be a bit misleading - it's really hard to tell how well the dancers are covered from the details provided.

For those with more knowledge about the ins and outs of ballet contracts...
Are 21 days and 4 weeks leave almost equivalent (which they would be in the normal 5-day work week world) in the ballet world? Or is a ballet week six days?

What happens during the lay off time if a dancer is preganant - presumabley sick leave or any other leave guaranteed by contract would not apply then, as the dancer is not under contract. Would then the pregnant dancer be dependant on unemployment benefits?

The situation with Boston Ballet and Richmond Ballet seem a bit ridiculous to me - dancers at other companies certainly have performed well into their preganancies (Margaret Tracey at NYCB, Dvorovenko and Juliet Kent at ABT etc.) with no harm and if the choreographer does not object...
Sounds like the Richmond Ballet dancers might consider getting unionized - it may not be the perfect solution, but it seems to give the dancers a bit more power and support in contract dealings.

Still, very different from the situation in Europe, especially in Scandinavia. Paid maternity leave can last up to a year, with fathers also entitled to paternity leave when the baby is born. And the leave is used, both by dancers and ballet company staff. Perhaps, especially in companies like the Royal Danish Ballet, where dancers usually dance until they get pensions at age 40, pregnancy is an accepted fact of company life.

Kate


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 Post subject: Re: Babies at the Ballet
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 12:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 3377
Location: Canada
Moved to combine similar topics:
Quote:
The Ballerina With the Belly

The New York Times
December 21, 2003

Julie Kent is a waif of a ballerina. So when she appeared onstage with the hint of a beer belly, she became the object of heated lobby talk during American Ballet Theater's recent fall season at City Center. The most observant of her diehard fans had little trouble deciphering the truth: she was three months pregnant. Her baby is due in April.
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Quote:
News in brief: Baby No 2 for dancer Bussell

The Daily Telegraph
February 13, 2004

Darcey Bussell, one of the Royal Ballet's biggest crowd-pullers, has given birth to her second child, another daughter, weighing 7lb 2oz.

The principal ballerina, who will be 35 in April, gave birth at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital by caesarean. She suffered complications during her first pregnancy but there were no problems this time.
Nikiyaballerina wrote:
I never knew Darcey, ha a child, but a second one is coming.

Stuart wrote:
Congratulations to Darcey Bussell and her family from all here at CriticalDance.

Darcey returned on great form from her first birth. I actually appreciated her dancing even more after her return and I recall her "Bayader" having an emotional richness that I hadn't noticed before.

Hope that she comes back after a suitable period and picks up where she left off.

Quote:
Motherhood keeps dancers on their toes

by CELIA R. BAKER
the Salt Lake Tribune

"As much as I love ballet, I love her more," says Jessica Harston of Highland, above, a former ballerina with Ballet West. She decided to end her promising career and stay at home with her baby daughter, Eva, now 7 months. Michiyo Hayashi, below, decided to return to her dance career not long after giving birth to daughter Maika Tanski. ...

Anytime a career woman becomes pregnant, the realities of human physiology force issues men don't usually worry about.
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 Post subject: Re: Babies at the Ballet
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
Oh my...

You know, this is not a new topic. Allegra Kent pioneered pregnancy for dancers, she had three children. And each time, Mr. Balanchine eventually hired her back, although it took some effort on her part to keep switching between ballet-shape and baby-shape. This is about what she said in her autobiography.

Hired back in general? If you have something they want, they'll hire you back when it's over. But there ARE consequences: "slacking off" of ballet in any way whatsoever has its consequences in the final product. The road of continued progress as a dancer is littered with the obstacles of life getting in the way. And that may not always be so bad; there is such a thing as burnout, especially if you're giving yourself away every day and you want something else badly and you're not able to get it if you remain the studio 24/7.

Dance is remarkable. In no other profession are the customers so intensely interested in the employee's personal lives.


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 Post subject: Re: Babies at the Ballet
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 207
Location: Lighting Heaven
Quote:
Dance is remarkable. In no other profession are the customers so intensely interested in the employee's personal lives.
Bill Clinton might argue the point.

_________________
"A man's speech must exceed his vocabulary, or what's a metaphor?"


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 Post subject: Re: Babies at the Ballet
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2005 2:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 3377
Location: Canada
Click here for a link to an old thread on ballerinas & babies that goes deeper into the Richmond Ballet situation with a response from the dancer in question.

Kate


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