Pregnancy & Flamenco – Part 2

Thoughts about Months #5 to #6
Todavia no hay problema!

Written by Kasandra La China from HOME, Vancouver, BC
February 1, 2008

If you are a dancer considering having a baby or if you are pregnant wondering if you should do flamenco, I am continuing to jot down my current experience in hopes that this helps you! 

After taking a long break at Christmas and going to Maui for 2 weeks, I got back into flamenco teaching 9 classes/week last week.  Some people feel like they need to stop doing dance at this stage.  There is a lot of “old school” thoughts about stopping exercise and not doing anything strenuous, but my thought is if you have always danced, then dance.  If you have always gone to the gym, go to the gym.  How can we stop doing things are accustomed to doing?
For me, Flamenco Dance has been no problem.  In fact, I feel BETTER being physically active after being relatively sedentary over the Christmas break.  I found that I was achey after lounging around too much.  I guess there is a thing as too much relaxing…

Though teaching Flamenco may not be the same as performing Flamenco or training and working out, it is still exercise, body movement and activity with heeled shoes on!  It’s fun!  I cannot imagine stopping.

What “they” say, versus my experience

At 24 weeks, I am in my second trimester and approximately 5.5 months pregnant.  I’ve gained 20 lbs which is absolutely ginormous for me.  (I cannot imagine getting any bigger but alas, it is inevitable.)

Books say one should be losing a sense of balance about now.

I have to disagree.  At this point, I say “Nope.  Nada.  Not at all.”  I can still do all kinds of footwork, demonstrate balance, standing heel and brush step for my students. So far, effortless. 

Books say that one should not be doing things that compromise balance such as turning.

I can still turn.  I’m not trying to do it at mach speed.  I am trying to avoid propelling my body into an uncontrolled turn.  But I can still do it with about 40% effort.

Books say that your feet swell and your feet could grow up to a size bigger.

Again, so far so good. Maybe it’s because it’s snowy wintertime here in Vancouver, but I’ve had no such thing. Maybe this happens later on when one gains more weight or if it is hot outside.  It seems logical that swollen feet should happen, so I will provide an update later. 

Books say that there is lower back pain due to extra weight in front.

So far no problems there either.  Perhaps every individual is different because their physique is different.  Personally, at 5’3 & a half and a usual weight of 123, I’m proportioned, short, compact, without an hour glass figure (pretty straight with no waist) and reasonably muscular.  The 20 lbs has gone all over the place to present a “thicker” me, rather than just the tummy and butt.  This has probably avoided back issues. I’ve always envied people with long spine and hour glass figures but alas this stubby boyish body might have its advantages.

Dancers should have a pretty good core, so any exercise you can do before getting pregnant to provide a strong core would be beneficial later on.  I used to do a series of “abs on the ball” and balancing exercises with the ball.  Even though I can’t do those now, I think that all the years doing those probably helps out with the lower back issues.

So there you have it, the update at 5.5 months.
MAYBE all this will be different after a month or two but I shall keep you informed in case you are wondering what this does to a person.  I am expecting my students, who are mostly aged 25 to 45, to have a baby a year for the next several years.

Maybe our kids can take flamenco class together!  Flamenco kids are having a blast with their new cajons.  I will be blogging this topic very soon!  I guess my baby will enter the world already knowing 12 compas!  How much learning happens in the womb?

In a couple weeks, I go to Spain for the Festival de Jerez to catch some shows and take cursillos from Rafaela Carrasco and Milagro Mengibar.  I’m even having a pregnancy bata de cola made!

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