Being a mom and a top professional dancer. How did it change me as an artist?
Photo by 袁善宗
For a top dancer, working on their craft and perfect physique is a priority. But what happens if you want to have a baby- how hard is it to combine family life and a demanding dance career?
Viktorija Horeva is one of the best Latin American dancers in the World. She is originally from Latvia, dancing with her partner (and husband) Sarunas Greblikas. Together, they create a very unique partnership with outstanding qualities, individuality and genuine passion for dance. All these whilst being a mom to a 2 year old daughter, Gabriella.
Viktorija's story as a mother and a professional dancer inspired me to ask her a few questions on her life balance, experiences and perspectives.
1. When did you take a break during pregnancy and how soon did you come back on the dance floor?
Viktorija: We decided to take a break from the moment we knew I am pregnant so it's safer for me and the baby.
When my daughter was 3 months old I was already competing at International Championships.
2. Have you ever thought that your dance career may need to stop so you can spend more time with your family?
Viktorija: Ever since I became a mom, my family and my daughter meant the world to me. However, I still wanted to come back on the dance floor after pregnancy because I have not shown yet what me and Sarunas can do. So definitely we had to be back!
3. How did having a baby affected your dance partnership?
Viktorija: Sarunas is my other half and we are a married couple. Therefore everything we do- we do it together and we support one another on every level. I guess that's the best way to help each other when we dance together.
4. How often do you train and travel for competitions/shows/teaching?
Viktorija: We live in Hong Kong and we travel quite a lot. Definitely we dance all major championships in England, Asian Tour and some other smaller competitions in Asia. Plus shows and teaching.
Normally we practice around 3 hours a day, but before major championships of course it would be more - up to 6 hours a day.
4. How do you manage your busy schedule as a mom and one of the best professional dancers in the World? Any secrets on your time management?
Viktorija: Good question. First of all, we are always traveling together with Gabriella whether it's a competition, teaching or training camp. Even though we are very busy during the day, we can spend the rest of the time with her.
Honestly, being a mom and a dancer is not easy and it needs a lot of planning ahead. All of this wouldn't be possible without help from our parents. They are always ready to travel to any part of the world with us (they work as well).
We cannot do all the competitions we would wish to dance but we are willing to push ourselves to the maximum. We want Gabriella to travel with us so we can see her growing every day :).
5. Did becoming a mother change the way you express yourself as an artist?
Viktorija: Somebody once told me that after having a baby the chemistry in the body changes. It's true. Physically, I had to work very hard to come back on track but a sense of freedom appeared in my soul, so I feel I can express myself much easier and better...
Also, the practicing process is a lot more productive now, as we have no time for talking. Simply dancing, improving and making it work over shorter periods of time. All in all, it made me very happy!
6. Viktorija, you are a great role model to all dancers and ones who wish to start a family but are worried how it may affect their dance career and subsequent results. What is your final word to them?
Viktorija: I think it all depends on how much you love what you do. To be successful and fulfilled as a person you must be clear on what your dreams are and how much you want them.
I knew I would have to work hard after pregnancy to be back on the floor, better and stronger than before. But I really wanted it. Also, I knew that anything is possible if you have a dedicated mind...
My final advice is - just listen to your heart. It will tell you what you need to do...
Photo credits: Fredric Frennessen - Photography