Monday, April 23, 2012

National Dance Week - Day 2: Dance Is Fitness And A Tool For Healthy Communities - by Christie Roberts

Dancing my way back from pregnancy ...

When an athlete takes time away from their sport, it takes time to re-build their strength and get back into their game. This certainly applies to a dancer who has taken time off to have a baby.
I spent the greater part of 2011 carrying my first child. Fortunately, I was able to continue dancing for most of my pregnancy, with certain modifications of course.
I returned to dance for a workshop 2.5 months after my son was born. I enjoyed being back in class, but found it to be challenging. On the drive home from the workshop, I remember saying to myself that it would be very easy to walk away from dance at this point. I was feeling discouraged because I knew there was a long road ahead to getting back into shape, both physically and mentally. As I move forward, I am experiencing a number of challenges, triumphs, and goals.
The main challenge I have been facing is balance. My body has evolved and while dancing it feels like I don't trust myself. I have not been able to take chances, and really “fall”. Sarah Lochhead, artistic director of Simcoe Contemporary Dancers, recently told me that I am dancing as though the belly is still there. Perhaps subconsciously I am still trying to protect a part of myself that is now outside of myself? It’s time to fall, just fall.
On an encouraging note are the triumphs as I get to know my body again. It is a new body, which brings with it new understandings and a new connectedness with the movement. Corrections I am given in class feel different than they did before. I am feeling stronger and progressively more flexible. I feel like there is light ahead.
Correspondingly are my goals for myself. I think the most important is to be the best I can be today. I don’t think one can really prepare themselves for the physical toll pregnancy takes on you. So now I am taking it one day at a time with ongoing classes, strength training, and practice.
Dance has long been a tool for aerobic fitness, and is a great way to develop flexibility, muscle tone, as well as endurance. What better way to rebuild my physical strength at this time. I look forward to seeing how this new body will react and evolve through dance. 

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