Birth Dancing

the ancient and empowering technique of dancing to ease all phases of the birth journey 

9-week Series Begins Jan 29th
Thursdays, 6-7:15 pm at Food Coop
**Free Trial Class Jan 22nd!!
Cost: $108 for series, $15 drop-in
Description:  A weekly practice is essential for making the movements a part of the muscle memory.  Each class will include stretching, basic belly dance and some other world dance, movements for labor and free dancing to connect with our bodies and babies.  Open to all women.
***REGISTRATION REQUIRED*** - please contact me here

Sat., Jan 17th - 10am-1pm at Yellow Sun Farm, $45 with light lunch included
Learn the ancient technique of dancing to assist in conception, pregnancy, labor and post-natal recovery.  This workshop will include information as to how birth dancing is effective, the basic movements, which moves to use when and how to help manifest a peaceful birth.  All women are welcome to attend.  ***Registration Required***  

Michelle is now attending births to dance with women during their labor.  She guides women through the dancing, recommends specific movements, helps the father move with mama and provides additional doula-like support.  This service can be used to help a woman get into active labor, or once she is already actively laboring.
4-hour commitment=$150, includes hour pre-natal home visit
8-hour commitment = $200, includes hour pre-natal home visit

Michelle is available to lead blessingway dances and songs or entire blessingway ceremonies.

Available upon request - $45 for one hour session or $120 for three one-hour sessions

Classes, workshops and private sessions are also available upon request - or women may join ongoing belly dance classes for weekly practice.  Please see this page 


     "Dancing during my labor was a deeply profound experience.  I never thought that I would be able to dance through the contractions, but I did, and it was so helpful.  As soon as I began dancing, the pain eased and my contractions became regular.  The dancing helped me to ground into my body and progress my labor." - Julie MacMahan
     "During the 6.5-7 hours laboring at the hospital, I used the dancing both when I felt the need to move my hips, which felt great, and also 4-5 times when I was distracted by something or other and wanted to speed labor back up. I remembered that you had recommended the top-down undulations for bringing on contractions -- they worked intensely and immediately! I used some of the hip movements even after I got into the tub. (There were also times I didn't want to speed up so I didn't move so strongly for a minute and got a breather!) Having experience of birth dancing really made me feel more empowered and in control. And it made it more fun, too! I felt like I had a secret card up my sleeve..."  -Emily Caltvedt Scheider
"I took Michelle's class most of my 2nd pregnancy and I largely credit this approach, along with our competent and patient caregivers, with our successful VBAC.  Even with an epidural and after 9 hours of sitting at 9+cm, I realized I was able to move my hips in such a way that encouraged a shift out of the stalled labor.  Our son was born less than an hour later!  I was completely amazed at how quickly the change happened and how I could feel him moving down and out.  I'm so grateful for the body awareness that this class helped me find during a time that could have been one of stress and overwhelm.  Birth dancing was definitely a worthwhile tool to have in our labor toolbox! "   - Anne K.    
     "My mindbody loved dancing...and your Beingness, so comfortable and grounded in your own body.  You really held sacred space for us and my selves and baby are grateful."  - Lisa Deemer
     "I really enjoyed every aspect of the class, especially that it's helped me get so much more in touch with my body and baby.  Its benefited me in more ways that I could count... it's helped me bring balance to my mind, body and soul." - Myriam Brannen
     "Moving my body in this way has helped me process a lot of sadness and allowed me to rejoice in my current pregnancy." - Molly Rouse
      "I love your enthusiasm, skill and knowledge about birth dancing! I think all pregnant women can benefit from this.  The class really helped me focus throughout the week on having better posture...which in turn has led to less lower back & hip issues.  I also feel more confident going into labor/childbirth."  -Jess Mund
     "I benefited from this class more than words can say.  I grew more aware of my body and its constant changes, got to give my baby the gift of flow and massage (undulations!) and the confidence to move more freely during labor."  - Miriah

For conception, this form of dancing helps women to release physical and energetic blockages to assist in creating a new life, to attune women to their bodies so that they are more aware of their most fertile times and to strengthen the muscles used to assist in conception.

During pregnancy, the movements help to tone the muscles that are changing to accommodate a growing baby and to prepare the core muscles that will be used during contractions.  The hip movements, swaying and circling, create space for the baby to grow and get into optimum position.  The mother can also practice the meditative space that will help her facilitate an easier labor.

During labor, circling hips, figure 8's and other movements help the baby move into a good birthing position and help the mother to open her passageway.  The rhythmic undulations help to bring on contractions and allow the mother to move with her contractions instead of against them.  Dancing these ancient movements assist the mother greatly in entering her primal mind, tuning out fears and distractions, and empowering her to be a very active part of the birth.  Dancing during labor quickens and eases the entire process.

For post-partum recovery, the movements help the mother to re-weave her muscles together again, tone her uterus and birth canal, strengthen muscles used in carrying her baby, create relaxation for better breastfeeding and give the mother time for quiet meditation.  Mothers can also wear their newborns wrapped to them, sway together and snuggle.   The rhythms of the movements help the babies to relax and absorb the joys of their new bodies.

Classes are taught by Michelle Dionne, healing and sacred dance instructor since 1998 "When I began preparing to become pregnant for the first time, I studied bellydancing for 2 years prior because I knew that bellydancing was created for women to assist in the birth process.  I was mesmerized by historical accounts of women dancing during labor with their tribeswomen dancing around her and how gently and lovingly the babies were brought forth.  I continued dancing and teaching during my entire pregnancy. During labor, the dancing helped me to attain a primal state of mind where I felt absolute trust in my body's wisdom.  I felt completely fearless and empowered to flow with the process.  I delivered my first daughter smoothly and safely at home in 2 and a half hours.
and Birth Dancing instructor since 2010.  
     "When I became pregnant again, I trained with Stephanie Larsen of Dancing for Birth to gain more knowledge of why dancing works so dramatically to assist in the birth process.  I again danced and taught through my entire pregnancy.  Being more educated in how dancing assists both the baby and mother during the birth, I danced through the labor with a deep joy and a quiet mind.  I was surprised to be holding my 2nd daughter in my arms in 90 minutes!
     "I am deeply committed to sharing this simple, ancient practice and my own personal experiences with women.  Always inspired by the magic and power of dance, I am awestruck by how greatly it can ease birth.  I am amazed by how powerful and sensual women are when they sway and stand strong, rolling their bellies into contractions to bring forth new life.  I am thankful for how much personal power we have in this process and am passionate about sharing this knowledge to ease births for both mothers and babies."

Michelle is also available to travel to teach Birth Dancing in other cities, to teach segments of birthing classes, to lead blessingway dances and to assist women in labor who want to dance.  She may be contacted at (828) 664-9564 or

A weekly practice is recommended to make the movements parts of the body's muscle memory. Each class consists of a gentle yoga warm-up safe for pregnancy, a brief toning/chanting session to open the throat and pelvic floor (one cannot be open without the other), basic belly dancing movements - (this is the bulk of the class as belly dancing was created by women to assist in birth), and practical information on why this works! Some classes will also include other world dances, visioning dances to help release fears, tap into the intuitive body and manifest a beautiful birth journey. Open to all women.

I encourage women to make dance a part of their birth plan.  A woman can begin Birth Dancing at any point in her birth journey.  During pregnancy, I suggest beginning as early as possible to really benefit the body and so that the body can remember the movements and access them easily during labor.  A participant should eat 
lightly before class and bring a yoga mat and water.

ANY WOMAN IS WELCOME to this class.  This class is wonderful knowledge for any woman who assists births - midwives, doulas, doctors, partners.  While the focus is on the birth journey, this class is highly beneficial for anyone.  This form of dancing strengthens core muscles, invigorates the life force, creates a balanced flow of energy throughout the body and mind, helps form a positive perspective on life and our creative will power, etc.