Mother of two. Dance Artist and Teacher, Former-First Artist (Professional Ballet Dancer) at The Royal Ballet
What is the most challenging aspect of working in dance and being a parent for you?
Scheduling! Our rehearsal schedule varies week to week and when we have a performance it makes for a really long day. Organising childcare can be a challenge, and when my daughter gets ill it’s a real juggling act!
What support did you feel you had from work when you were pregnant?
So much…I was really ill in my first trimester and they were thankfully really understanding! I couldn’t continue performing for very long unfortunately- initially because I didn’t want to be sick on the Royal Opera Stage (I was once in a stage call though!) and later because I couldn’t fit into any costumes!
Was there anything that may not have been in place that you felt could have been useful?
No! I feel so lucky that I could really look after my body while I was pregnant. To be able to take ballet class or do some strength training in the gym or some Pilates/gyrotonics made me really appreciate my job more than ever!
Do you think being a dancer made you think differently about your pregnancy/recovery?
I felt really in tune with my body while I was pregnant. Initially very annoyed with it for making me so ill, but then in complete awe at how it just adapted to growing a little human in me! I found it rather fascinating!
From your experience, what advice would you give to an expectant parent regarding leave?
Do what feels right to you. It’s such a short period and such an incredible time, that I think it’s important to really listen to your body.
If you were expected to dance postnatal (either by yourself or your employer) how did you approach your recovery?
Slowly but surely. I had several illnesses in my first year with my daughter (including glandular fever and postpartum thyroiditis), so it was important that I take things slowly and not push myself prematurely.
What changed most for you on your return to work?
I was eventually able to somehow focus better than before when I was at work - which is strange considering I’ve had months of dealing with a hugely sleep deprived brain! It also made me value my time even more with my daughter.
Does parenting help you in your work?
On the surface, no! It’s really hard to do both! But I guess the more I think about it, the more I realize that I think it’s made me love my job even more.
Does dance help you in your parenting?
It certainly does, even when I was pregnant... I think my daughter loved all the movement from when I danced with her in my tummy. I continued to do certain steps when she was born which would (usually!) calm her right down. Now that she is more mobile, I continue to dance for her and look forward to when I can dance WITH her!
Any other thoughts?
If anyone is interested in learning more about my pregnancy as a ballet dancer and my daughter’s first year of life, then they can check out my youtube channel www.youtube.com/brigitteballet (and embedded on this page)
I will also be leading some baby wearing dance session at the Royal Opera House on June 15th 2019. More info will be released on the ROH site soon.
More about Tara
A professional ballet dancer of Canadian-Indian heritage, Tara has been based in the UK for over 17 years and performed as a First Artist with London’s Royal Ballet both at their historic home in Covent Garden and in many of the most famous theatres around the World.Renowned for her love of the art form and her knowledge of the classical technique, Tara is a popular teacher amongst both newcomers and seasoned dancers and is often invited to present at dance seminars at home and abroad.More recently she has developed her profile into online and social media having presented live for World Ballet Day on Facebook and hosting several videos on YouTube.
Tara was featured on Woman's Hour during the pandemic.
Further information on Tara can be found on LinkedIn