About a minute into my conversation with Ingrid Silva, I realize she lives up to that image we all have of ballerinas—graceful beings who are lean yet strong, and who seem to float into the room while being grounded in every move they make. Originally from Brazil, Silva is a professional ballet dancer with the Dance Theater of Harlem and a new mama to a 9-month-old baby girl named Laura. As we talk, Silva smiles ear to ear, and it is obvious that her passion for dance melds so beautifully with her new journey into motherhood.
Silva and I chatted as part of her partnership with Millie Moon Luxury Diapers, and we were able to touch on everything from having a baby during a pandemic, practicing ballet throughout her pregnancy, how she relies on a village of friends and co-workers in her new role, favorite baby products and finding balance as a mother and dancer, model and activist. On Instagram, fans can check out gorgeous videos of her dancing (both during her pregnancy and beyond!), campaigns she's involved in and her work with EmpowHER New York and Blacks in Ballet.
Check out my favorite moments from my interview with Ingrid Silva, and a video we've created to celebrate this incredible ballerina mom.
Motherly: How were you first introduced to dance?
Silva: So the funniest thing is I never dreamed to be a dancer. Like that was not on my bucket list. I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to be a teacher. I want it to be an ice skater. I want it to be a professional swimmer. I wanted to be everything except a ballet dancer. That was not my reality in Brazil. But, one of our neighbors back in Brazil mentioned to my mom that a dance class was opening up. My mom was like, okay, I'll take you and your brother to dance classes. And I was like, okay, what are we doing? As it turned out, my brother and I were and are very talented at classical ballet, though we had never been to or seen a ballet before.
But I didn't love ballet at first. I thought, great, one more activity. But then I started to fall in love with ballet. I started falling in love with the art form, with everything, with the challenges, how hard it was. And I've had great teachers who supported me fully. You don't see many black professional ballerinas. I'm so happy that now we have many examples and are a real inspiration to others. I fell in love with ballet because I was very well supported and I loved a challenge.
Motherly: What was your experience like being pregnant during a global pandemic?
Silva: Globally, it's very sad for so many people who have lost family members. The world is upside down. But in terms of my career as a dancer, we never have time for anything, especially living in New York. It's always go, go, go. And I work with my body. So it was the first time I ever took time for myself. We always talk about "self care Sunday" and "love yourself", but we don't do it as often as we should.
I wasn't planning to get pregnant. We were always doing so much, and I was always looking for the right timing, but the right timing is whenever the timing wants to be. So I was actually really scared, because I was like, everybody's dying. Why am I pregnant? I had no idea what this journey would be for pregnant women. I was far away from all of my friends and everyone, so it was also a time for a lot of reflection. We are always doing something for everyone else, for the world, but when is the time for ourselves? I feel like my pregnancy was when I found myself again.
Motherly: Why did you choose to partner with Millie Moon?
Silva: The quality of Millie Moon Luxury diapers is unbelievable and are the softest diapers I have ever tried with Laura! Not only do they feel luxurious and gentle on her skin, but they are free of all nasty ingredients and perform so well in between diaper changes and though the night thanks to the 12-hour absorbency and high waist band. But beyond the performance of the diaper, I just love the sentiment behind the brand itself. They understand that quality time with your little one is precious, and they've built this brand to ensure that they can provide parents with the opportunity to spend more time doing just that. I have embraced these little moments in my personal life from the very start of my pregnancy with Laura, merging my passion for dance with my new passion for motherhood. I also love the work Millie Moon is doing with literacy foundation Reach out and Read—every box sold helps provide reading support and resources to an underprivileged child living in America.