In the Wings Article
(ENB house magazine)
Backstage With Babies
(Principal Dancer, Daria Klimentova, talks about being a dancing mum).

Five principal dancers have children (and a sixth is expecting as we go to print), but how do you fit being a parent into the life of a ballet dancer?
We spoke to Daria Klimentova to find out.

How do you find time to be a parent when the
company is performing every night?

It's fine- I don't dance every night and Sabina is in bed by 7.30pm anyway. It's the days that are harder- my mum lives with us which helps enormously. I couldn't do it without her.

Do you think it's easier to have children as a principal dancer
because you are probably not going to be performing every night?

I have two or three shows a week, so most of the time it is me that puts Sabina to bed; she loves it and so do I. As a principal dancer you do not have to be there all day, you do class every morning then two hours rehearsal and then go home to your baby. Sometimes I have three hours break between rehearsals- not enough time to go home- which is difficult, as I could be with Sabina instead of doing nothing. I try to keep myself busy photographing dancers, preparing pointe shoes etc.

Do you find it hard to switch from a very emotional performance such as Romeo and Juliet to being a mum?
Of course not! We are actresses; I am Juliet on stage and mum at home.

Do you ever take Sabina on tour with you?
When she was smaller I always did. I couldn't leave her behind. When she was eight months old she came with me to Australia for six weeks. It is more difficult now she has to go to nursery school with her friends.

What is it like to bring up a child is such a multi-lingual environment?
I think it's great! I speak to Sabina only in Czech and my husband only in English.

Will she speak English or your mother tongue as her first language?
Her English is bound to be better when she starts full time school here. I will do my best to keep up her Czech.

Did you keep fit during your pregnancy?
I performed until I was four months pregnant and I kept doing class until the last day (no jumps or pirouettes in the later stages). I swam every day. It was very hard to do all this because I was very tired, wanting to sleep all the time.

Did you find it difficult to get back into shape?
I thought it was difficult until I had to get back into shape after being injured for a year; that made me realise that getting into shape after the pregnancy was a piece of cake! During my pregnancy I damaged my knee and needed an operation. I had to wait six weeks after Sabina was born until I could have the operation, but I still managed to take class with a bad knee two weeks after she was born. Within three months I was doing the opening night of Giselle.

Do you feel being a parent changes your dancing?
Yes! It changed the way I feel when I dance. Ballet was the most important thing in my life, and now Sabina is. She makes me happier, more confident, more relaxed, and because of this I enjoy dancing more. To have a baby is the most beautiful thing that can happen to a woman.

Do you think Sabina will become a ballet dancer?
How can you know? She loves to put on my leotards and pink tights, practices her plies and arabesques, throws tantrums in the ballet shop because she wants another pink tutu, steals my pointe shoes and eyelashes, listens to the Swan Lake CD and flits around, but all this doesn't mean she will be a ballet dancer. After all, I used to climb trees!