Dance Mama Supports Professional Dancing Parents in the UK
According to a UK survey conducted early in the pandemic, 7 out of 10 parents in the performing arts were considering leaving their careers. Alarming statistics like that spur on dancer, teacher and mother Lucy McCrudden, who founded Dance Mama, a UK-based nonprofit working to change that reality.
McCrudden started Dance Mama in 2014 after becoming frustrated over a lack of information when pregnant with her first child; at the time, she found only a single pregnancy information sheet for dancers, from advocacy group One Dance UK. “Most of the industry is women, so why aren’t we talking about this?” McCrudden recalls thinking.
“We have amazing creative bodies, and the fact that women have the capacity to sustain life—that’s pretty cool. Rather than being seen as an inconvenience or not aesthetically pleasing, that should be celebrated as something truly magnificent.” Lucy McCrudden
Dance Mama aims to celebrate, inspire and connect professional dancing parents while providing them with resources and support and highlighting the challenges they face. The organization offers mentoring programs, pre- and postnatal classes in a hybrid of ballet and Cunningham technique, choreographic workshops and live events. These programs aim to support them on their journey through parenthood and help ease their transition back into the workplace and beyond. Dance Mama also works closely with Parents and Carers in Performing Arts and the Active Pregnancy Foundation, which conduct research into and lobby for systemic change. Though the organization is based in the UK, dancers all over the world can make use of Dance Mama’s free recorded classes, webinars and podcasts, and join its Facebook group to connect with other dancing parents.
But McCrudden isn’t stopping there: She’s working towards her PhD to track and provide data on the physiological and psychological factors that affect the maternal dance population, with an eye to finding ways to support their reentry into the workspace.