It was a fun moment at our Dance Teacher Summit when Stacey Tookey stopped teaching mid-sentence to greet her 6-month-old daughter who had just entered the room in the arms of Tookey’s husband. “Hi Harper!” she said brightly. Then without skipping a beat, she returned to teaching, while her family watched from the sidelines. It seemed the most natural thing in the world that they were traveling with her for this weekend convention. Her work life and home life were perfectly integrated.
Thank goodness having a baby no longer means giving up your career. It does mean giving up your perfect dancer body, at least temporarily. “Your ligaments get looser,” as Dr. Bridget Quinn of Boston Ballet told Dance Magazine. “Your center of gravity changes. You become short of breath more easily. It’s a lot for a dancer. But with diligent training, you can prepare for both a healthy labor and a quick recovery.” In our Special Health and Wellness Section (“Supporting the Pregnant Dancer”), we share some useful advice for doing just that.
Pregnancy isn’t the only thing that can shift your center of gravity. When Paula Frasz broke her leg (“How Injury Changed the Way I Teach”), she had to completely rethink her teaching strategy. The silver lining? She became a better teacher. And what if it’s your student who becomes injured? They may think they’re ready to return to class, but it’s up to you to keep them safe. In “Bouncing Back,” our experts outline the careful steps back to full class participation and point out some red flags that might interfere.
It seems more dancers than ever are becoming certified to teach Pilates and yoga. Such skills can complement a performance career, both financially and in physical practice. In “More Than a Backup Plan,” we tell you where to get this training right alongside your college dance degree. Might be just what a reluctant parent needs, to finally say yes to majoring in dance.