This year, on National Dance Day, Dancing For Birth™ founder, Stephanie Larson, was excited to announce Leslie Switzer of Ontario, Canada as Dancing For Birth’s™ Instructor of the Year 2015. Congratulations Leslie!
We commend the hundreds of Certified Dancing For Birth™ Instructors (DFB) around the globe for their passion and dedication to improving birth and empowering pregnant/new mothers and their families through the teaching of Dancing For Birth™ pre/post natal classes. DFB™ class is weekly, ongoing, pre/post natal dance fitness, childbirth education, and celebration in one fun and effective class. Certified Dancing For Birth™ Instructors are birth experts who empower, educate and and support their participants throughout the childbearing year and beyond. New mothers wear their babies to class for a full-circle experience.
Leslie stood out as exceptional from day one, with her deep passion and dedication. She came all the way from Ontario to St. Louis, MO to attend the inaugural Dancing For Birth™ certification training in 2007 and became one of the first ever Certified Dancing For Birth™ Instructors. Six years and scores of happy mothers and babies later, she became Canada’s very first Certified Dancing For Birth™ Trainer. She now leads DFB™ Certification Trainings throughout Canada and mentors new instructors, as well as teaching multiple weekly DFB™ classes. She also supports women as a certified birth doula, and offers her DFB™ participants continued support through her Facebook group, “Joyful Journey ~ Dancing For Birth”. She focuses on transforming their fears about birth and motherhood into empowerment through the childbirth education and confidence-building that is integrated organically into the class. As Leslie says, “Magic happens when women gather during Dancing For Birth™ classes.” She has been a treasured asset to Dancing For Birth™ and to the families she serves. Her wisdom, enthusiasm and centered nature shines joyful light on those around her.
“Dancing for Birth™ [class] prepared me for birth like I never could have imagined. Not once was I scared during my birth process. This class helped me feel confident enough to go ahead with a home birth. I had my baby at home and it was an amazing experience. During the birth I could feel the women from our class and I remembered the stories they had shared. It gave me so much strength. Without Leslie’s guidance and knowledge I don’t think I would have had the same experience. Thank You for this wonderful class!” says Sara Kirkton of Ontario.
A letter from a grateful student:
I am one of Leslie Switzer’s Dancing for Birth participants and it’s been bothering me since the DFB instructor of the year was announced as I missed the deadline for nominations. I realize that Leslie was awarded this honour without my submission (not surprised as she truly is one of a kind). I still feel I would like to share my experience with her and Dancing for Birth.
I have known Leslie well for approximately 12 years as I was lucky enough to babysit her three amazing daughters as a young teen. It took no time at all to realize that Leslie was an amazing human being. Leslie is the most giving, selfless person I know. She has done to much for me personally and I felt awful for dropping the ball on the nomination.
In 2007 Leslie and I reconnected when I became pregnant with my first child. At the time she had decided to become a birth doula and DFB Instructor. The timing was perfect- Leslie guided me through my pregnancy through dance and birth education. Due to her support and the knowledge she provided to trust my body I welcomed our beautiful son Jaden into the world, just how I had hoped- naturally and quickly. It was an amazing experience as I trusted my body and worked with the birth process.
When I became pregnant with our second son in 2009, I struggled with balancing being a mom and caring for a toddler, the demands of a stressful work
environment and being pregnant, of course a contact Leslie and enrolled in DFB. This was an outlet for me to cope with the stresses of everyday life and to focus and connect with my sweet baby growing inside.
In March 2010, we welcomed our son Owen- another amazing birth experience- natural and quick, thank you Leslie and DFB.
Sadly I thought that this was a class I’d never be able to enjoy again, however life is full of beautiful surprises. In June 2014 my husband and I found our that we were expecting and by August I was back at Dancing for Birth. I loved the connection between other Moms, the support and knowledge that Leslie provided in each class and the dancing. It felt great to move and to laugh at my uncoordinated self.
Due to blood pressure issues I was induced at 37weeks. My husband and I took Leslie’s Dude-la class the night before being induced. That evening Leslie also took some extra time to talk to us about what we might expect in an induction.
Approximately 24 hours after the first phase of induction I was in active labour, Leslie’s advice and teachings from DFB were very much in my head (thank goodness). Birth balls, open squats, breathing, side to side hip motion, comfort measures my husband provided ( learned from Leslie), three ish hours after arriving at the hospital our beautiful baby girl was born!!
Leslie is an extraordinary person, she is always giving herself to others. Leslie is so in tune with each participant in her class and it’s obvious that she genuinely cares. Leslie tailors her classes to meet the needs of the participants, allowing them to receive the information needed at the time and to continue to participate in classes even when facing barriers.
I know I can never thank Leslie enough for the support and love she has given me. Thanks to Leslie and Dancing for birth my husband and I were able to welcome our three beautiful, amazing children into this world just the way we wanted to. Each birth experience was uniquely amazing!! And you know what? At 8 years, 5 years and 7.5mth my babies love music and dance, that says something, right?
Thank you for reading,
The next training Leslie will be offering will be held in Calgary, AB September 11-12th and London, ON November 7-8th. You can also find details on her weekly classes on our class locator. When Leslie isn’t dancing, she is at her home on the farm with her husband who is very happy she can offer an extra hand. Their three grown daughters continue to amaze her as they follow their own passions. She is currently hosting her eldest daughter’s wedding on the farm!
As a DFB™ trainer I have met so many women who share my passion of supporting women during their pregnancy and motherhood. It is a thrill to share the work Stephanie has developed and to know that more women have the opportunity to take weekly DFB™ classes as a powerful way to prepare for their birthing time. I especially love the “Ah Ha” moments that happen so often during the training sessions. So far I have held trainings on both coasts of Canada and some places in between; St. Johns, Newfoundland July 2014 to Vancouver, BC March 2015!
Leslie’s award of Instructor of the Year comes in large part from the letters, videos and nominations of her DFB™ class participants. We thank them for showing their love for Leslie and for Dancing For Birth™ classes.
If you’d like to follow in Leslie’s footsteps and get involved with Dancing For Birth™ as a participant, instructor or trainer, visit our website www.DancingForBirth.com to locate a class or training near you. Dancing For Birth™ originated in the USA and is currently located on four continents.