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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet during pregnancy


OctoOdette

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OctoOdette

Hello everyone , how are you! 

I am about 2 months pregnant and still making an effort (despite the on and off morning sickness) to attend ballet classes three times a week. It makes me happy that I am still able to go to the studio and dance, and also interact with my classmates. I do not do any jumps, and rest at the corner of the classroom, after centre adagio, tendu and pirouette. 

Though I am still at a very early stage of the pregnancy, I am very careful at barre exercises and I am afraid to exert my full strength especially at grand battement and also arabesques and back bends (because apparently arabesques and back bends are not good for the belly?) . However, at the same time I feel that maybe I should be able to do barre full out just like before I was pregnant. What do you think? 

Any pregnant dancers out there ? Appreciate you sharing your experiences :)

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I am an RN and former dancer. Even though some dancers continue to dance completely full out their entire 9 months, those are the lucky ones. It is not worth chancing problems with your pregnancy. Please believe me when I say that even if you take off the 9 months or even up to 2 years, your body will remember and you will be back at your same level in no time. In fact, I have also known dancers who come back after pregnancy with a more refined technique mainly regarding turnout because their hips are now more naturally rotated due to the accommodation for the delivery.

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pirouetteprincess100

I continued taking barre 3 days a week with my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies at ages 31 and 38. I did not dance in my twenties at all, and only resumed taking classes at the age of 30 after a 12 year hiatus from ballet. I actually had worked back up to dancing en pointe by the time of my second pregnancy so I had no reason to stop. I will say that for the first 3 1/2 months I did not dance until the morning sickness subsided. I also was walking on a treadmill and doing pilates at the same time. Due to varicose veins I stopped dancing with the 3rd around the 34th week. She was born 10 days later.  Not sure if it is due to the ballet and pilates but I had very easy deliveries.  

Center work was tricky due to the weight imbalance. Turning and jumping was out of the questions. Adagio was fine for a while.

Ballet really helped me cope with the anxiety of pregnancy, so I am a fan.

I am not a professional dancer so I wasn't worried about quickly returning to class and the stage. Ballet just was the perfect exercise for me at that time. My ballet and pilates instructors did insist that my OB/GYN approved of the training before they allowed me in class.

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StarSapphire

I also continued taking ballet classes during my two pregnancies. I was not a professional. Ballet class is recreation and joy and community for me. I didn't jump and went down to single pirouettes as I got bigger. With my first, I think I made it until about five months. With my second, at age 36, I think I had built up a more regular schedule of weekly ballet so I took class until I was at least 8 months pregnant. I really think it helped me with my overall physical and mental health during pregnancy. After all, it's helpful to be strong for labor. I also wonder if the reason my daughter is dancing and has been drawn to ballet since she was a toddler (those Prima Princessa videos!) is because she attended class so regularly as a fetus...

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Miss Persistent

I have had pregnant students in class at various stages. I would just make sure a) your Doctors are ok with you doing ballet, and b) your teacher is ok with you doing ballet.  Some teachers may not feel confident with what you should/shouldn’t do, or don’t want to be liable for anything. But if you are ok, Dr is ok, and teacher is ok with it then dance as much as you are safely able I say 😊

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OctoOdette
15 hours ago, Oreo said:

I am an RN and former dancer. Even though some dancers continue to dance completely full out their entire 9 months, those are the lucky ones. It is not worth chancing problems with your pregnancy. Please believe me when I say that even if you take off the 9 months or even up to 2 years, your body will remember and you will be back at your same level in no time. In fact, I have also known dancers who come back after pregnancy with a more refined technique mainly regarding turnout because their hips are now more naturally rotated due to the accommodation for the delivery.

Thank you. Very good point that it is really not worth risking any problem with pregnancy. I understand that this is not the time to be pushing myself and I guess the reason why I want to still do barre full out is, as you implied, I am a little worried about not being able to get back to my level after pregnancy. What you said is very reassuring. I really should take it easy and focus on staying healthy in preparation for labour, instead of aiming for a breakthrough in my ballet techniques. 

I have heard about the possible improvement in turnout after labour. My teacher has been telling me that I have limitation in the rotation in my hips as my hips is too narrow. Hopefully I could look forward to better rotation after labour ! Thanks again for your advice, very much appreciated :)

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Redbookish
5 hours ago, OctoOdette said:

I am a little worried about not being able to get back to my level after pregnancy.

If you're not a professional working dancer, I would try to relax about that. Life is long, and if you want to keep dancing and moving for the next 60 years, don't rush it now! Slow and steady is wise.

The 'improvement' in turn out is a bit illusory - as I understand it, it is about the increase in a particular female hormone which prepares your body for the physical stresses of labour, and the effect is to loosen connective tissues & muscles particularly around the pelvis. You may want to discuss with your doctor about the advantages & disadvantages of this.

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Excellent advice so far. 

I was a professional dancer, and could not do much at all during pregnancy due to unforeseen complications. Some colleagues danced onstage until second trimester; some continued class (except jumps) until nearly due-date.

Every person is different. Every pregnancy is different. 

Follow your body and the little (or big) clues it gives. No use pushing things right now. :) 

-d-

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  • 2 weeks later...
Lofi_Ballerina

I was pregnant a year ago with my first and I was 27 at the time. 

I took as much ballet as possible, but I noticed that while my turn out and extensions were great, after barre my pelvic region would be in a lot of pain (probably because the cardilidge down there was becoming more malleable and I was over working myself? I could be wrong). Anyway, as it got too difficult to lift my leg, I continued barre with modified choreography as the teacher let me. So, for example, instead of doing ron de jambe en l'air, I did it as a terre. Instead of passe develope to 90 degree extension, I did coupe develope to 45 degree extension and so on. It kept my blood moving and my body from getting tight and made a significant difference. It kept fluidity and musicality in my brain as well. Of course leaps and jumps were out 😂

I was able to perform until my second trimester. Then, I just took class and wound up at nine months pregnant stage managing a local Nutcracker (used to be Actors' Equity, so I get asked from time to time and it helps pay the bills). I made sure I was still immersed in the world of dance, even though I couldn't do everything, as it kept me happy and focused and in some sort of shape. 

I gave birth in January and by July I was able to do my splits, standing back bends, and at least 50 sit ups. It was difficult, but I took a lot of class and listened to my body and didn't push myself in negative or bad ways. Only in positive ways. Also, following Steven McCrae's wife on instagram and seeing her pictures of doing barre work while super pregnant (and seeing his posts bragging about her ❤️ ) was an inspiration.

Best of luck to you and the wee one!

Edited by Lofi_Ballerina
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