Dancing After Having a Baby
KJ gives her advice and experience of going back to work as a dancer after having a baby.
When you're working as a dancer, making the decision to have a baby can feel like quite a big deal. We use our bodies every day for our job, so knowing that your body will change dramatically can be VERY scary... but don’t worry!!!
The good news is that the body is amazing, and ALL the dancers I know who've had children have gone back to dancing proffessionally.
But it's easy to forget that, and it feels different when it’s you!
I’ve been super lucky to work with the wonderful team at Stopgap. I started with them a year after my baby girl was born, and I actualy started performing with other companies only 6 months after she came. Looking back, I think the most important thing about dancing after having a baby is listening to your body, as it may well feel different in many ways but also much better than before!
Things (that I found) to look out for...
My pelvis and my ribcage felt disconnected for a while like empty space in between (I feel a normal sensation as there was a baby there!). Plus, my pelvis took a while to come back into normal alignment it felt a little “funny” until I stopped breast feeding and after the hormones settled down...
...also with all the hormones- I felt really hyper-mobile but with a lack of strength... I popped my toe out of place with little effort (annoying injury) and the doctor told me this was due to the relaxing in your body after birth. My toe popped out and broke at 7 months after and at 13 months after... a little inconvenience as a dancer so do listen to your body it will be back it just needs a little bit of time.
I have found that my love for dance is stronger because you have a little break when you get to the end part of pregnancy and touching your toes is something of a memory!... then you spend so much time cuddling not moving when the baby has arrived so when you come back to dance after a few months it feels a lovely privilege!
Things to know about dancing after baby’s born...
You’ll miss them like crazy, so go back when it's right for you, there is no rush and equally if you want to go back soon also no judgement at all!
The jobs you are worried about losing will be there when you return or maybe new ones so try not to worry about that when leaving for maternity.
Problems that seemed massive before will be put into better perspective when you have children... we love dance but it’s just dance!
In my experience, choreographers and employers are understanding if you just explain that you have children. I’m very lucky to have such lovely team at Stopgap they are super helpful and understanding.
It’s so nice to work with other parents in the arts industry... it’s a new brand bond where you are all surprised how much you can get done on very little sleep. #parentgoals
Ask people for help! Your parents and friends can be super helpful as we all know dance work isn’t 9-5 so you may need to extra help when touring time comes along!
You start to understand the beauty of snacks when you have children so search for a nearby Aldi to keep expenses low!
Cherish the time with your children and your time in the arts - it ALL goes too quickly.
Overall it’s all doable with children you just need : a. A supportive relationship b. Good organisational skills for your schedule, your partners schedule and now your baby’s schedule! c. A lot of love for both your family and dance
If you’re thinking of having children but concerned because you’re dancer - Do it! They only make life better and your body and your career will be there soon waiting for you on your return.
Photos by Chris Parkes