Dancing and Motherhood

Few topics in the dance world are more fraught than motherhood. No, we’re not talking about the dragon mothers on “Dance Moms,” but the challenges of balancing pregnancy and parenting with the physical demands of dance. Not only do artists struggle when pregnancy changes their dancer bodies, but the stress and schedule of performing and touring aren’t always compatible with parenthood.

 

In her recent autobiography, Agony and Ecstasy: My Life in Dance, English National Ballet principal Daria Klimentova describes the pressures she faced as a pregnant member of the company, when artistic director Derek Deane asked her if she was going to keep the baby. Although she had to give up the part of Aurora in a production of Sleeping Beauty, Klimentova has no regrets over her decision to become a mother.

 

While motherhood may make it more difficult for dancers to dedicate themselves to their art, many find great fulfillment in a well-rounded life. In a way, parenthood can also extend a dancer's longevity in the ballet world: Mother/daughter dance careers, such as those highlighted by Kate Lydon in “Like Mother, Like Daughter,” beget a form of dance inheritance. Daughters benefit from their mothers’ guidance, and mothers in turn get to experience the pleasure of seeing their daughters onstage. As former American Ballet Theatre ballerina Cheryl Yeager told Lydon of seeing her daughter Hannah Marshall perform, “When you’re a dancer, it affects your life forever. It has been my life since I can remember, and now it’s her life, too.”

Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Alexandra McMaster

Start Your Dance Day With This Delicious Berry Breakfast Crisp Recipe

When it comes to breakfast, I want it to be easy and convenient but still taste delicious. My Berry Breakfast Crisp is just that. You can bake the crisp on the weekend as meal prep, then enjoy it throughout the week cold or warmed in the microwave. It freezes well, too!

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Liam Scarlett with Marianela Nuñez and Ryoichi Hirano during a rehearsal of his Swan Lake at The Royal Ballet. Andrej Uspenski, Courtesy ROH

Choreographer Liam Scarlett Has Died

Over the weekend, news broke that 35-year-old choreographer Liam Scarlett, a former artist in residence at The Royal Ballet, died suddenly at his home in England. "It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic, untimely death of our beloved Liam," Scarlett's family said in a brief statement. "At this difficult time for all of our family, we would ask that you respect our privacy to enable us to grieve our loss."

The cause of death was not disclosed.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks