Barbara Caioli on April 08, 2013

Motherhood & Dancing

Barbara Dance with ErgoI am a mother.
I am an artist.
I am a woman.
I wear my baby.
It is a sad assumption that mothers cannot have careers in the professional dance world.
I am doing it.


I have been an artist since birth. In its many incarnations, my art has seen the world of the two-dimensional and the multidimensional. In my mid-twenties, after a lifetime of dance and visual arts training, my life felt rested in the art of dance and choreography. I planned to be a professional dancer, briefly forgetting the root of my passion, which was always choreography. For me, it is creation that fills my soul. I didn’t know how true that was until I created a human being. After the traumatic birth of my son, Oliver, my body could no longer perform as it once did. But I could still create dance. There’s nothing like giving birth to give life and flow to creative juices. I launched 127th St. Dance Company in 2010, at age 33, when my son was a few months old. I was one hundred percent committed to this new life that I knew came to me, choosing me. And I was one hundred percent committed to following my calling as a choreographer. I knew I could do both and I could do both at the same time. My son attended rehearsals, strapped to me in the Ergobaby as I was steadfast in my attachment parenting philosophy. I did not want to leave my nursling, nor give up my career. I knew I had much to say as an artist and I knew I could do it with my baby in tow. So we danced. I taught choreography, managed a fledgling company’s dancers, choreographers, finances, insurance, fees of all kinds. I wore my baby until he had weaned himself to only a few feedings a day.


By the time I became pregnant with my second child, 127th St. Dance was a well-established and baby-friendly company. I gave birth seven days after one of our performances and a month and half before another. I knew I had to get back into rehearsals as soon as possible and had little time to recover. With physical therapy and armed with our Ergobaby, I went into my first rehearsal three and half weeks postpartum. I was exhausted, but I did it! A few, short weeks later, 127th St. Dance Company performed Spirito, a piece inspired by the traumatic birth of my son.


For a while, I told myself that I had to do this for my children, that I had to teach them that they could do anything. I thought I was fighting to make sure they knew that they could follow their dreams. As I get older, I am realizing that I’ve missed the point. They are here to show me that I can do it all. I can have all of my loves in one place. I can create these beautiful children and I don’t have to leave them behind to create my life’s work. I am humbled by the work these two young people have done for me.

This post originally appeared here.
Photo Credits:  Walter Zamojski

Barbara Caioli

Barbara Caioli began her dance training in her native Italy at the age of five. She holds a BFA in Dance Choreography and two personal training certifications. Barbara is the Artistic Director and one of the choreographers of 127th St. Dance Company, a professional company she launched in 2010.


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