After the birth of her daughter, Montreal mom Joanna Bonnici was looking for activities she could do with her baby. Then she read about a salsa class where little ones could sit snuggly in a baby carrier while their moms moved to the music. She tried a class at Maman, bébé et café in N.D.G. and was soon hooked. Her daughter loved it too, happily watching the movement and listening to the music. Bonnici ended up taking all three levels of the salsa class and then moved on to swing dancing. Now her daughter, who is 15 months old, enjoys music and the pair dance together at home.
Eryn Dace Trudell is a Montreal-based dancer and choreographer who created Mama Dances, which offers mothers a chance to dance with or nearby their babies. “Apart from spending quality time with their babies, the classes give mothers a chance to meet others with similar aged babies to bond with and develop friendships,” she says. “It also can make the mothers feel good about their bodies — more limber, sensual, fluid and spontaneous. They feel stronger and more confident.”
She says dance is a wonderful way for parents and children to create something unique together. “We develop fun, beautiful, empowering dances that we do together with our babies and the babies develop a sense of the movement. I use lots of world music for the classes and we do various kinds of dances.”
Parents interested in exploring dance with their baby have many options in Montreal and its suburbs. Most classes are held mornings or early evenings and no previous dance experience is necessary. The only requirement is a baby and a willingness to have a good time! The following is a list of classes being offered:
Mama Dances offers classes in several locations around Montreal for mothers with babies ages two months to one year. Classes include a warm-up, movement studies and lessons in forms such as tango, waltz and free form. There are also segments on baby massage, lullabies and learning to enjoy just being with baby. Sessions are four or eight weeks and prices vary, depending on the location of the classes. For more information, call (514) 961-3771, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.mamadances.com.
Salsa Mommy Baby
At Baila Production’s salsa classes, moms quickly discover that the best dance partner is their own baby. In fact, little ones ages 6 weeks to one year can take part in the Salsa Mommy Baby program, offered at the studio’s locations in the West Island and in Laval. During the class, baby is nestled in a front carrier, while the parent learns to salsa, merengue, cha-cha and bachata. The philosophy is all about having a good time, not perfecting the dance steps. The class is low-impact exercise and suits all fitness levels. You can watch a video on their website to see how the class unfolds. Summer Salsa Mommy Baby classes will be held at the Laval studio and then at both locations in the fall. Ten lessons cost $130. For more information, call (514) 965-1225, visit www.salsamamanbebe.com or email info@bailaproductions. com.
Mom and Baby Dance Flow
Combining dance and yoga, this program focuses on mothers with newborn babies up until the time they are crawling. Each class includes dance movements drawn from various traditions such as African, Latin, jazz and belly dancing combined with yoga movements. Instructors balance fast and slow movements, helping parents to improve their cardiovascular health while allowing time for quiet reflection. The goal is to help participants improve their ability to remain calm as they parent their babies. Classes run for an hour and are offered in six-week sessions, at a cost of $119. For more information, call (514) 261-9642 or go to www.momandbabydanceflow.com.