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.