The Pregnant Pause: Challenges in Reproductive Leave for Professional Dancers

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“A serious dancer puts her career first – a child comes after retirement.”

The celebrated choreographer, George Balanchine, was known for his attitude echoing the above statement. Is this statement still an unspoken reality in the professional dance world? Can a dancer consider having a child when it can mean a departure from the stage for a year or more, shortening an already limited time-span career when she has invested years to attain it? What challenges do dancers who are planning or have had children face?

These, and many other questions, result from considering the personal, legal, physical and organisational implications of pregnancy for professional dancers. The article explores this matter by looking at the employer’s legal obligations (such as reproductive leave) as well as outlining some considerations of pregnancy and leave emerging from dancers’ lived experiences. Is there a gap between legislated reproductive leave and the reality faced by dancers?
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationAIB Review
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2024


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