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Mother's Day Q&A
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Mother's Day Q&A
With Mother’s Day coming up on May 12, we’re paying homage to one of ABT’s marvelous mothers and two moms-to-be! ABT spoke with Soloist Luciana Paris and corps de ballet dancers Alexandra Basmagy and Lauren Post about growing their families while dancing for America’s National Ballet Company®. Read on to learn how they balance their routines as working moms and stay fit during pregnancy.
Luciana Paris, Soloist
How was the process transitioning from maternity leave back to dancing for you?
My transition back to dancing after becoming a mother was quite smooth. I had a long rehearsal period before the performances, which allowed my body the opportunity to take it slowly, day by day. It was, for me, like learning another language with my body. I think having that mentality helped me not to feel pressure to get back to where my body was before but, instead, to learn from the changes it had made. Even though some days were harder than others, I enjoyed the process very much.
You picked up right where you left off, performing in ABT’s Fall season, going on tour and learning soloist and principal roles for the upcoming Met season. How has being a working mother changed your routine and the way you dance?
Coming back to the routine after becoming a mother is a very different story! Starting with organizing your schedule, booking the baby sitter, sewing pointe shoes, attending events… I’m fortunate my husband is by my side all the time. Somehow, even though it’s hard for me to leave the baby to go to work, it gives me more perspective. It almost shows me more how much I love what I do and how passionate I am about my dancing.
How old is your son now?
My baby, Benicio, turns one this week!
Alexandra Basmagy, Corps de Ballet
How has your daily routine changed since you found out you were having a baby?
My daily routine is quite different now that I’m on maternity leave from the Company. It seems I wake up earlier than I used to get up for work (thanks to baby boy using my bladder as a pillow)! Breakfast comes in a few phases since I have an ever-growing appetite. A few days a week I head to ABT for ballet class to keep things moving. I’ve also joined a Prenatal Yoga class twice a week. Other than that, it’s a lot of browsing for baby things online and figuring out how to fit it all in our apartment, meeting up with friends to stay social, cooking yummy meals and comparing notes/experiences with my fellow ABT moms-to-be Gillian Murphy and Lauren Post. I’ve also been guest teaching at some local schools, and I even taught at the ABT JKO School. Teaching is something kind of new to me, and it’s been enjoyable to see dancers from this new point of view. Since going on leave, I became a Certified Teacher in the ABT National Training Curriculum to gain more knowledge, and I feel like it’s even helping me understand my own dancing better.
What advice would you offer to expectant mothers on keeping in shape and continuing a fitness routine?
My advice for expectant mothers is to really listen to the wants and needs of your body and baby. As dancers, it can be especially difficult to accept that you are no longer capable of the level of physical activity you were at just a few weeks ago and won’t be for some time, but that’s okay and completely natural. It is important to stay active during your pregnancy at a level that is right for you and safe for baby. I have never been a big fan of going to the gym, so it’s not something I’m going to start now. Instead, I’m doing the kind of physical activity that my body and baby are already very accustomed to. Even something as simple as going for a walk around your neighborhood is a good way to stay active. Just keep the blood moving! If you are a gym-goer, a light routine works great, too. And on the flip side of all of that, setting aside days to rest is equally important. Even though you are resting, your body is working A LOT to grow that little baby. So curl up on the couch with a book or Netflix, and enjoy these last moments for yourself!
Lauren Post, Corps de Ballet
You performed with the Company in Whipped Cream this month. How did you decide to continue performing during your pregnancy?
I knew I wanted to perform as long as I could, as long as it was safe for me and the baby. After I got cleared from my doctor, I discussed my options with ABT, and they were wonderfully supportive. We agreed to plan on me performing in ABT’s April tours of Whipped Cream in a limited capacity, only dancing one of my roles. I was lucky to have that option – and that the costume was loose and forgiving! I don’t think anyone could tell that I was five months pregnant, and it was such a treat to be able to share the stage with my baby.
Do you have any aspirations for your daughter to dance as well?
Not particularly! Of course, I would be fully supportive if she does decide she wants to become a ballerina, but I’d love to expose her to other things as well. My hope is that she will find something she is passionate about and loves as much as I love ballet.