You may not know it, but the instinctual act of rocking your newborn back and forth as you stand holding her or sit in a rocking chair is a primitive form of dance. It’s intuitive and babies respond positively to the rocking and swinging movements of parents while being held in their arms. Babies also love music and respond instinctively to rhythm and tempo with movements of their own, way before they can communicate with speech. We’ve all seen babies dancing at home or on videos that have gone viral!
InfanTango, a program where parents can learn movements inspired by ballroom dances such as Tango, Rumba, Salsa and Samba—while holding their children close to them—was inspired by these origins of dance. Maria Parlapiano, RN, Lactation Consultant and ballroom dancer runs a successful practice helping new moms and dads adjust to parenthood. Knowing the overall health benefits of dance and movement for parents as well as babies, she has spent years contemplating the best way to launch a program like InfanTango.
Enter Antonio Sebastian Fuster, dad, personal trainer and dance instructor, who runs the Dads Group at Parlapiano’s center, Postpartum Place, in Chatham, New Jersey. Fuster’s huge passion for dance and his experiences dancing with his baby and wife, coupled with Parlapiano’s concept, led to the formation of the first of many classes to be offered under the InfanTango banner.
Their “Dancing With The Babes” class takes its name from the popular TV show “Dancing With The Stars”, but that’s where the similarity ends. In Fuster’s class, your partner is not a Hollywood celebrity—it’s your baby. And there’s no competition; instead emphasis is placed on the “skin to skin” and “body to body” experiences that release endorphins and promote bonding between parents and their babies. “Dancing With The Babes” also focuses on the development of partnering skills, lead and follow, basic principles of timing, foot work and variations of simple turn patterns.
“No previous dance experience is required” says Fuster, affectionately dubbed the Dancing Doulo, “just a desire to do something positive for yourself and your child.”
Parlapiano adds, “InfanTango lays the foundation for recreational dance that families can enjoy for a lifetime, and we give a whole new meaning to the words, Baby Swing!”
Most InfanTango classes are designed for one parent and baby, but Fuster and Parlapiano are developing classes called “Baby Makes Three,” where both parents dance together with their baby, inspired by Fuster’s experience with his own family.
All classes are built on the instinctual response babies have to music and to the movement of their parents, but the benefits are many. In addition to promoting strong parent-child connections, all classes contribute to overall fitness and provide a great outlet for family fun and laughter!
For more information on InfanTango classes, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or see the InfanTango website. Here’s a short video introduction to InfanTango.
Photos and video by Jennifer Lavelle Photography www.jenniferlavelle.com
Special thanks to Betsy at Bhakti Barn Yoga in Millburn NJ for the use of her wonderful space. www.bhaktibarn.com
Monica Giglio is a fine artist, photographer, and writer. She is a published columnist and contributing editor at two local newspapers. Her columns are humorous, uplifting, thought-provoking and inspirational. She has been published in Chicken Soup For the Soul, and Not Your Mother’s Books.