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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  • Hannah

    Barbara is a huge inspiration in my life. Her drive and devotion are not only humbling but uplifting! She has light following her with every flowing step she takes and truly is a glimmering entity in this sometimes bleak world. I am honored to have her in my life, as my friend and fellow mother, and am so proud to see her here, inspiring so many other as she has with me! Thank you!!!!!

  • JulieK

    Wow this is pretty amazing! I love it!

  • Diana R. Ferree

    That is absolutely amazing!