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Balancing Motherhood and Career: A Dancer’s Journey

Balancing Motherhood and Career: A Dancer's Journey
Photo Courtesy: Menina Fortunato

Balancing a demanding career with motherhood is no small feat, especially in the world of dance. Menina Fortunato’s journey from a globetrotting performer to a mother of three who continues to inspire through dance is a story of resilience, adaptability, and unwavering passion.

Early Career and Motherhood

Menina’s dance career took off like a rocket after she relocated to the vibrant city of Los Angeles in 2001. Collaborating with iconic figures like Britney Spears, Paula Abdul, and the legendary group Earth, Wind & Fire, she quickly carved out a niche for herself within the industry. Her talent and dedication were undeniable, leading to a whirlwind of music videos, live performances, and television appearances. However, just as her career was reaching new heights, her personal life took an unexpected turn when she became pregnant with her first child.

At the time, Menina was caught in a whirlwind of excitement and anticipation. Her engagement buzzed with the joy of planning a wedding, and her career in the dance industry was blossoming. The news of her pregnancy, however, brought a sudden and unexpected shift. Stepping away from the intense competition of “So You Think You Can Dance Canada” and cutting her tour short felt like a jarring interruption to her momentum.

This forced pause left Menina grappling with a multitude of emotions. The excitement of starting a family mingled with the uncertainty of how she could possibly balance the demands of motherhood with the rigorous training and performance schedule she had carved for herself. The sudden change left her questioning not only her future in dance but also the very essence of her identity as a career-driven woman. Would she be able to nurture both her dreams and her child? The path ahead seemed daunting, but Menina was determined to find a way.

The Struggles of a Dancing Mom

Post-pregnancy, Menina attempted to return to her pre-motherhood routine. She brought her husband to auditions to help with the baby, often breastfeeding in the car and dealing with the challenges of an unpredictable schedule. These experiences highlighted the difficulties of managing a dance career with the responsibilities of motherhood.

After she had to step away from the demanding schedule of a live touring show, Menina found herself yearning for the joy and expression of dance. This led to the creation of “Prenatal Dance,” a unique prenatal workout program that allowed her to stay connected to her passion for movement while also accommodating the physical changes and demands of her pregnancy. This innovative program has blossomed into a valuable resource for expectant mothers for over a decade, offering a safe and enjoyable way to stay active, improve physical and mental well-being, and connect with their bodies during this transformative time.

Innovating Through Adversity

The arrival of Menina’s second child brought further challenges. Despite having learned from her first experience, she found balancing her career and motherhood increasingly difficult. The pandemic, which coincided with the birth of her third child, added another layer of complexity. With dance events and live classes canceled, Menina had to find new ways to maintain her career and support her family.

Teaching dance online became her solution. Menina started with live classes but quickly transitioned to pre-recorded, on-demand sessions to accommodate the unpredictable nature of motherhood. This shift not only helped her manage her career but also allowed her to reach a wider audience of mothers facing similar challenges.

Menina’s journey is a powerful example of how motherhood and career can coexist. Her ability to adapt and innovate has not only sustained her career but also inspired countless women to pursue their passions while raising a family. Menina’s story shows that with determination and creativity, it is possible to balance the demands of motherhood with a fulfilling career.

 

Published By: Aize Perez

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