Nikki Baillie; Sling Swing franchisee, Manchester
There was a time when I used to dance on bar tops; Prosecco in one hand, heels in the other. There was a time when I even used to dance on stage, in front of thousands of people (okay…maybe a few hundred) and get paid for it (I would like to add that both the bar top dancing and stage dancing were fully clothed). Then I danced in the evening (yes again in clothes!) helping women of all ages, shapes and sizes to get fitter and healthier as a Zumba instructor. But it wasn’t until teaching Sling Swing has the true power of dancing become apparent to me.
I had my daughter Ellie a year ago and there were so many things I now realise I was unprepared for in becoming a Mum. The main thing was I never really appreciated my own sense of identity, in fact I probably didn’t really know who I was, or what I was about. But being the number one go to person for…well the rest of my life to this tiny, amazing little person has made me realise that I didn’t quite grasp how my life would change. Especially in the early day’s I was so moulded and involved in every aspect of being her Mum that I forgot who I was. The seemingly easy aspirations of “going back to Zumba” or “going out for a few drinks with my mates” were soon replaced with “I went to the park today!” I was lost.
Then I found Sling Swing.
Dancing has been a part of my life forever and I appreciate that not everyone feels the same way about it. In fact the first few bars of ‘Dancing Queen’ can bring some of us out in a cold sweat and I also appreciate that co-ordination isn’t always everyone’s best friend; just stepping in time to the music can seem like the Krypton Factor. So maybe the idea of dancing around with a bunch of Mums who most likely you have never met before; whilst carrying your baby, might seem like the furthest thing from your idea of fun. I get that.
But it’s more than just a bit of Mum Dancing.
Dance and music has the power to take us away. To remove us from our daily life of muslin washing and sleepless nights; to give us back a sense of self.
Dancing has been shown to increase mood, improve fitness, build confidence, and help lose weight…to name but a few. But I’ve seen the real impact it has and I’ve been told this.
You could be the most confident woman in the world but there’s something about walking into that Mum and Baby group for the first time that makes all of us feel like it’s the first day at school. But add music and movement and were all in it together, all united as a bunch of Mum dancers. There’s no judgement, no talk of baby poo, no pretention…just
One Mum commented to me that she really struggled with the competitiveness of her usual Mum & Baby groups and how Sling Swing just doesn’t allow for this. That she loves that time to just dance and have fun.
Another wonderful Mum told me how she struggles every day. That her husband works away and looking after her baby and older child is really, really hard. Her words brought tears to my eyes as she expressed how grateful she was to have this class and how she leaves each week feeling that bit happier, with a spring in her step and to top it off she has
made some fantastic new friends.
These are stories I’m grateful to hear and to know that as a Sling Swing Instructor I can bring real joy and happiness into other Mums lives.
This is why these Mums dancing their way through class and bonding through messed up steps, and imperfect moves makes Sling Swing more than just a dance class and more than just a baby group.
It’s not about getting the moves right and not even about stepping in time. It’s about letting go and having fun and doing something just because it makes you happier.