Mama Ensemble with thoughts from Gwen Arbaugh

Fringe 5 Questions by Carlynn Wolfe

Who inspired this piece?
All the dancers in Honolulu who became pregnant and gave birth overlapping over the course of 2015 and 2016 inspired this show. There are more than a dozen of us, not all represented in the show, but it is quite a phenomenon.

What do you enjoy about Fringe?
I enjoy the fun of a whole collection of performing artists showing work all at once over the course of one weekend and the diversity which comes out of that.

Where do you see this going?
This show could go on to reprise, or it would make a great community for Playbuilders to explore, but I think most of us will be happy with being able to get it out there just this is hard enough rehearsing all fall with almost all of us holding babies in rehearsal.

When did you first start dancing?
I first started dancing when I was three, but this is not about me:)

Why is this piece necessary?
I think it is necessary to bring many of the issues that mothers face to the surface and to reflect upon these. People who are not mothers do not necessarily understand the secret lives of mothers. I know I didn’t before having a baby. We are utilizing this show to explore topics from the anticipation of pregnancy, to the pangs and sometimes humor of birth, to the trials of breastfeeding in public and pumping in the workplace. There are things that are Mommy requirements, but are Daddy optional. There are people who think you play Tetris in the bathroom on your pump break. There are a lot of misconceptions and unknowns that we would like to artistically shed some light on.

Bonus – How does it feel to be a dancing mom?
It feels amazing to be having this experience in a community of other dancing moms, however it can be limiting. At this point in my motherhood, I felt that if I became involved in any other performance project I would have minimal availability to offer, and my role would probably be marginalized as a result,...and all the while I would be losing valuable time with my baby. But since we are dancing moms were all in this together, we could rehearse with our babies as needed. This is why we put together this show; to have the opportunity to perform and to demonstrate to the community that we are moms now, but we are still dancing.

See Mama Ensemble at Marks on Jan 12.