These Rockettes Are Balancing Motherhood and Their Careers in the Most Empowering Way
6 months ago, 22 Dec 23:13
Around the world, the Radio City Rockettes are known as Christmas icons. The famous dance company has been a symbol of the holiday season since 1932—their uniform high kicks and pristine routines making the company one of the best in the world. Between their average 4 shows a day, and high-profile special events such as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Tony Awards, and even the Presidential Inauguration, it's hard to believe that these women have time to do anything else besides dance. After sitting down with 12-year veterans of the cast, Nicole Baker, and Tara Dunleavy, I quickly came to discover, that was far from the truth. These world-class dancers are pursuing a nonnegotiable dream of theirs, despite the many demands of their careers—motherhood. Baker and Dunleavy are two great examples of the average day super-mom. At the prime of their busy season, the two are juggling their long list of motherly duties in Long Island before entering Manhattan as Rockettes. Baker, (the first of the Rockettes in her cast to have children) danced in the shows up until she was 10 weeks pregnant, returning only 3 weeks postpartum, while Dunleavy danced until she was 21 weeks pregnant, returning 5 months postpartum. The two have not only powered through their pregnancies despite the physical demands that come with being a professional dancer but they continue to make their unconventional careers work with the help of a supportive company, a great crew, wonderful families, and what seems to be the biggest staple of all—eachother. These two bubbly, charismatic moms (who act more like sisters than co-workers) met me in their dressing room backstage to talk balancing family and career in the not so accommodating world of show business. As they sat attentively in their festive performance looks—self-done hair and makeup to the nines—their passion for the cast, their families, and pursuing their dreams were visible as the two fought off light tears of joy. There is no denying that Baker and Dunleavy's feel-good story of success and hard work is an inspiration women everywhere. Parents.com: Were you both nervous to tell the producers of the show you were expecting? Nicole Baker: "For any soon to be mom it's nerve-racking to say you are pregnant. Once you say it the world knows. In our business we have to fit in costumes and look our best on stage, so there was a tiny bit of me that was like, if I say it then they might—I don't know if they would look at me differently but when I did tell them they were over-the-moon excited and so supportive. Even when I did come back to the show 3 weeks later everyone thought I was nuts but they were so supportive. They were like, 'Anything you need we are here for you, we are so glad you're back.' It was awesome." Tara Dunleavy: "I actually performed until I was 21 weeks pregnant. I only did it because this one (Nicole) motivated me, I knew it was possible. Of course, they were over-the-moon, thrilled. I think our company realizes that people look at Rockettes as icons and role ...
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