Dnay Baptiste has an impressive work résumé. The New York native has performed with big names like N.E.R.D and Jennifer Lopez—oh, and she’s been one of Beyoncé’s principal dancers for over five years.
Baptiste, 30, has danced in some of Beyoncé’s most memorable performances, including the 2017 Grammys, where Bey beautifully revealed her second pregnancy.
“She announced her pregnancy, [and] I made a joke amongst my friends like, “All right, y’all, we might as well all get pregnant,” she said, laughing. “And literally, I came home and, not knowing it, I ended up pregnant.”
This was a rattling realization for Baptiste. She wanted children at some point, but was now the right time? Was it fair to her child if she went back to work after giving birth? Was she being fair to herself if she decided to move on from her dance career to dive into motherhood? Baptiste was full of these questions, but if she learned anything from Beyoncé, it was that she can have both.
“I had a great example,” Baptiste told The Root. “This woman carrying two babies at the same time, leaning back in that chair, and doing choreography and pushing her limits. I’m like, I can do that, too.”
Her son, King, was born on Dec. 13, 2017. With clearance from her doctor and the support of her partner, Baptiste was back at work within four weeks of giving birth for a belly-baring performance with French Montana on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Within six weeks, the new mother was preparing to make Coachella history with Beyoncé.
It wasn’t easy. She had to rebuild her endurance for the upcoming two-hour-long Coachella performance while tending to her newborn son. Baptiste would practice with her fellow dancers for hours and breastfeed her 2-month-old baby during dance breaks.
“They were so supportive,” she said, smiling. “[With] the encouragement of my peers and my boss, we got through it and I ended up in 90 percent of the show.”
For the 30-year-old dancer, having a son was the most gratifying decision she’s ever made.
Baptiste plans on hanging up her dance shoes by the time King turns 3, and pursuing other passions. But for now, she’s pledged her loyalty to Beyoncé.
“Women are incredible,” says Baptiste. “Now that I’m a mom, I can really attest to it.”