If you’ve taken class or seen a performance from Holy City Salsa Dance Studio recently, you’ve probably seen or danced with instructor Kristen Jett. And her soon-to-be-born tiny dancer, London Grace.
Kristen, 27 weeks at the time of writing, has been teaching, dancing, and even performing all the way through her pregnancy.
“It is a bit more challenging because I have to take more frequent breaks and my stamina doesn’t last as long,” says Kristen. “I have taken a step back from social dancing because heels have become a challenge and my balance is very different when it comes to my multiple salsa spins, where teaching provides a more low key environment.”
But even though she has taken a step back from social dancing, she hasn’t slowed down much.
“Dancing has been an outlet for me to stay healthy and active. I don’t have time for the gym with my busy work schedule, so dancing and teaching has provided a healthy outlet that keeps me from just napping and vegging on the couch.”
Even if she’s not going out to the local Latin nights as often, she still teaches and practices at least two days a week at Holy City Salsa, continuing to keep students engaged during her popular Sensual Bachata class and during the Studio-to-Stage sessions.
“I think it's great dancing with Kristen while she's pregnant! She's an excellent dancer and knows so much, and that didn't change when she became pregnant,” says Krystal McManigal, a Studio-to-Stage veteran and dancing mom. “If anything, I love working with her more now, because it brings back great, warm memories of when I danced with life inside of me too. Sometimes, I feel uneasy to practice with her -- only because she is so tiny compared to when I was pregnant, and I'm afraid one wrong move will hurt her and I don't want to cause her or the baby any harm.”
Kristen, a nurse practitioner by day, makes sure that she’s staying safe, but says that there have been other challenges teaching besides safety.
“The most challenging part of teaching has been keeping my Bachata moves such as dips, body rolls, and other isolated body movements. It it's harder to demonstrate in class for the students to get the full understanding,” says Kristen. “I really didn't think I would be teaching this far into my pregnancy and I love to see that students still enjoy my class and get a lot out of the information taught.”
She’s taking a hiatus from performing, for now, but performed multiple times in October, at five months pregnant.
“Performing has been fun and exciting, but it did pose some challenges when it came to costuming. The more "jumpy" routines were harder because I get winded easier with less lung capacity and often my baby is kicking during the routine to let me know she's there. I think she loves the music.”
Kristen is hoping that the exposure to music and dance in utero will instill in baby London a lifelong love of dance, and Kristen anticipates being back in the studio soon after London arrives.
“I will definitely teach again after the baby is born to lose that extra baby weight ASAP!” she jokes. “Hopefully London will come along for classes and be the youngest little salsera at Holy City Salsa.”
Kristen thought that her pregnant belly would “run people off,” but she’s found it’s been the opposite. Her students enjoy taking classes with her, and people still ask her to dance when she goes out. She’s setting an example for all women to stay active and keep doing what you love during pregnancy—for their health and the health of their baby.
Moms or moms-to-be, what do you think? Did you/will you dance during pregnancy? Other dancers and students... are you afraid to dance with an expecting woman because you think she's fragile or it's dangerous? Comment below with your thoughts!