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Flamenco and Pregnancy

When I first found out I was pregnant, in the following days, one of the many things I wondered about was how I would have to adjust my Flamenco routine

image of Natalie

My pregnancy

Posted By : Natalie Solgala On 21st December 2023

I searched for information on Google time and time again, typing in "can you dance Flamenco pregnant", and despite my fervent online searches on the internet, only found 1 blog post. In it, the dancer said she continued dancing Flamenco as normal, quite rigorously throughout her first trimester.

General information about continuing a sports routine in the first trimester was quite contradictory. Some websites advised to keep more active exercise to a minimum, to avoid miscarriage, others said that initially continuing your exercise routine is good for your health and in the first trimester you could carry on as usual.

In my case, getting pregnant meant years of saving inorder to be able to do IVF. I asked our IVF doctor AND my GP doctor here in Spain if I could continue dancing Flamenco and both asked me to avoid it. Others told me that here in Andalucia, many dancers continued dancing as normal until EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT! I had conflicted feelings about the conflicting information. On the one hand, after all our effort to get pregnant, doing hardcore footwork seemed careless and risky. However, at 7 weeks pregnant I had a Flamenco course to teach and a show to prepare for, and I felt well enough to do it.

I wasn't really sure what to do and I don't have the answers as to what is right or wrong for other dancers. But I think it's essential to listen to your own body and do what feels right to you. To start, what I did do, was change all the parts of heavy footwork, to lighter, less aggressive ways of marking the rhythm with my body. It took a while to make all the changes but it meant I felt comfortable and safe practicing and performing my choreographies.

At the same time, I will admit, I did still wonder sometimes if the footwork I was still doing was dangerous, it was a constant doubt I couldn't diminish each day. I did promise my pregnant belly that after that course and show in July, I would take it easy the following month, as I was spending a quiet August in Poland with my brother.

Dancing in Moclin

Performing at 7 weeks pregnant. Moclin, Granada

I took a break from dancing that August (when my second trimester started) and focused on low key activites like long walks but also plenty of rest. I felt great. When back in Spain at the beginning of September, I did manage to get back into my Flamenco routine in the mornings, and still had quite a lot of energy. I continued my studio practice much the same as always, although, instead of doing footwork technique standing up, I did it sat down, which is actually harder and good for working and strenghtening other muscles in your legs (and didn´t affect my belly at all).

Creeping into the third trimester things changed. I found out I had some complications in the pregnancy and started to be very closely monitored with bi-weekly scans at the hospital. I was initially told I had pre-clampsia, then that I didn´t, but that mine continued to be a high risk pregnancy. Mentally processing this information took quite a lot out of my husband and I, and I really, really started to slow down. From one day to the next, I stopped going to the dance studio to train, and inorder to keep active, have tried to continue going on walks, although in all honesty, the walks have been getting a bit shorter every day, as my growing belly and squished lungs and more pressure on my feet means I get tired and breathless more quickly now.

BUT! All has not been lost. I have compensated in other ways. There is a very special Flamenco Peña not far from us which was closed for a long time due to Covid and then due to refurbishment. It is now becoming more active again, and my husband Cacho and I have gone as often as possible, to join in and enjoy all the Flamenco events that have been put on there lately. This means I have enjoyed Flamenco in other ways: doing lots of “palmas”, practicing the castanets when “Sevillanas” and Chistmas carols have been sung, doing a “pataita por bulerías” or just enjoying other artists sing and listening out for lyrics I haven´t heard before.

Today I am 32 weeks pregnant, and I can honestly say that keeping Flamenco as alive as possible during my pregnancy has given me a lot of joy, as I feel like my twin daughters are dancing with me in my belly and participating. I have always listened to my intuition and tuned into my body though. Over the months my dancing has taken on a varied path with various twists and turns and also stops. All of it has been good. Being safe and healthy is number 1, and within that space, you can still enjoy what you love so much!

View the 7 Flamenco Exercises you can do while pregnant on my YouTube Channel



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