Coming back from baby – How Alberta Ballet dancers returned to the stage after becoming moms

Regaining your strength and physical fitness after having a baby can be a struggle, but now imagine you’re a professional dancer and your livelihood depends on it.

This month, Alberta Ballet company dancers Reilley McKinlay and Hayna Gutierrez will be speaking with women in Edmonton about returning to the stage after pregnancy.

“I’m still in the process,” said Reilley, whose daughter Jules is seven months old. “You take your body for granted. It literally just created life so you have to realize it may never be the same again and it will take time.”

Hayna agreed, saying that while she worked really hard to return to the stage six months after her son Mateo was born, she doesn’t expect to be the same again, physically or emotionally. He’s 2 1/2 now.

“Your whole world changes,” she said. “And it’s not like you don’t look after yourself anymore, but they become the focus of everything.”

Both women are naturally active and danced up until giving birth. Recovering post-pregnancy was a challenge because neither mom could sit still for very long. Their passion for dancing is their motivation.

Reilley had an emergency C-section and was told she couldn’t do any activity for six weeks after Jules was born which, for her, was a tough adjustment. “I’m a dancer and I work out for a living,” she said.

She now incorporates Jules into her workouts and classes, and is getting stronger every day.

Hayna worked out with her mom, a former ballerina, and a trainer to get performance-ready in time to perform Flora in the 2016 production of Dracula. She began rehearsals when Mateo was four months old, and danced in the production two months later.

“I have so much passion for dance,” Hayna said.  “And now Mateo is my strength. He keeps my energy going even after rehearsals and 12 hour days.”

Hear more from both moms on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at Studio B YEG (Whitemud location) where they will participate in a barre class, led by Studio B YEG owner and new-mom Elissa Jamieson, before they participate in a discussion panel at noon.

The event is free, but space is limited so sign up here.

Kim Jackson