Professional ballet dancers have babies but it is a rare occurrence at Ballet West as of late. Well, that has changed and I asked Ballet West Artist Megan Furse to write about her pregnancy.
It’s a Baby! World Premiere May 1st, 2010
In my time as an artist with Ballet West, you might have seen some of my work onstage as a snowflake, a nymph, a swan, or a fairy. Now I am rehearsing for a role that I’ve never had before: that of a Mommy! My husband Devin and I are expecting a baby boy May 1st, 2010 and we are happy to share some of our experience on Ballet West’s blog.
Count back the months and you will realize that I have been performing most of the 2009-2010 season so far with a baby on board: our tour of Les Biches to New York, The Dream, and The Nutcracker. Fortunately, I have been in good health and my doctors have said that since I have been dancing at this level for a long time I can continue- and it’s good for baby and me both to have the exercise! Now I am taking a break from performing for the rest of the season but I continue to dance in ballet class and cross train with our physical therapist, Kevin Semens. As an artist, it has been interesting to take care of my body, or my “instrument”, with extra care and perception. While I have to modify some of my movements now in class, I am becoming more in tune with my technique as I make adjustments and pay attention to my changing instrument.
If you saw me dance in The Nutcracker, you might be wondering where the baby was hiding… well, those tutus have a lot of fluff! Also, the changes of pregnancy are gradual, allowing me to perform even longer than I originally thought possible. I think my changing center of balance might have even improved my pirouettes initially! I couldn’t have kept performing if it hadn’t been for the help and understanding of Ballet West artistic staff, Kevin, and the other dancers. There were shows during Nutcracker (when I was five months along and counting) when other dancers would bring me cups of water side stage between my entrances or offer to dance one of my roles in the next performance if I was too tired. I am fortunate to be in a supportive environment- this baby already has a lot of caring aunts and uncles in the company! My husband Devin has also been caring and encouraging, taking on a lot of responsibility so that I could focus primarily on performing my best and on our baby. Devin makes sure to keep me laughing: we joke that playing Tchaikovsky’s music for our son when he arrives will either make him bawl raucously or instantly lull him to sleep. After over 30 shows and six weeks of hearing The Nutcracker suite in the womb, he’s bound to have a strong reaction either way!
I am staying involved in the creative side of dance by choreographing a piece for Ballet West’s Innovations program, premiering a few weeks after the premier of Baby Furse. Stay tuned for updates on the progress of both my ballet and my baby!