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Dancing Mommy

By Courtney Smith

There are so many things to discuss as a new mom. Even more as a working mom. And an infinite amount as a dancing, working mom. The possibility of ideas have swirled through my head constantly since being asked to write about what it's like... Being a mom and being a professional dancer. I have written and rewritten this over and over again. I have remembered my pregnancy, labor, delivery and the last four months in detail to pick out the points that mean the most. But, as moms know, every moment can tell the truth in its most beautiful and at the same time it's ugliest form. So I have settled on Saturday.

Saturdays are when my company, Moving Ethos, rehearses. We take class together and work  all afternoon on a new piece that is pushing our boundaries in physical, emotional and mental capacities. I am lucky to be in the presence of several dancing moms within my company not to mention the entire company is truly like family. They watched me grow in my pregnancy, dance with my huge belly and told me their birth stories as I approached the big day. So in their presence, I feel comfortable to be real. To share my greatest joys and my deepest frustrations of mommy hood knowing that they are there to listen without judgement.

The Saturday I want to write about was a special one. My co-director was out of town and there I was for the first time in months, directing by myself with a four month old strapped to me. From class through rehearsal, the care of my child was, well, a choreographed dance. Between holding and passing and entertaining, my little one moved from person to person finding comfort in each dancer as they forged their own relationships with this tiny human. And though I have always admired children in their lack of inhibition when it comes to both movement and imagination, on this particular Saturday, I saw that I was not alone. I came to the realization that as dancers, we all find fascination in children, especially those that can not talk yet. They use movement as their true language, communicating everything through those compact bodies. This unwavering dedication to movement connects to our deepest definition of ourselves as dancers. If only we could access that kind of movement purity as adults, our work and our art would be honesty in its most beautiful form. My child offered a look into this world that we have been training to get back into for years. This beautiful life I created was connecting my dancers in a way I could never direct them into. As dancers we have an eye for the intimate details of life as fuel for our creative process and performance investment. We truly see life in a different way and this spills over into our role as mothers - allowing us to appreciate our children in a sense that "normal" moms just can't understand. As joyously difficult as each moment is as a mom, being a dancer brings a sense of challenge and long-term hard work to this new role that is not only realistic but also invigorating. 

My life is different now. My body is different now. Inevitably my career is different now. And though I still have some moments of 'what the hell was I thinking?', I am seeing that the differences are clearly turning my life and my dancing into something I could have never imagined or attained without both this process and this child.


Click here for more about Moving Ethos Dance Company