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Belly Dance Lessons for Every Woman

Updated on April 3, 2011

Belly Dancing- Are you too old or too fat to take belly dance lessons?

If you are like thousands of other women, you have probably entertained the thought, at least once, of taking belly dance lessons. Maybe you haven't started taking belly dancing classes yet, but have been putting it off with some very common excuses. Have you been telling yourself that you are too old, too fat or need to be in better shape before you can take a class? If these are your reasons, stop and listen to what I have to tell you about the reality of taking belly dance classes.

See that photo right there? That was me at age 15!

Why you should sign up for belly dance classes

I am going to tell you why you should sign up for belly dance lessons despite all your reasons not to.

First of all, you may be surprised to know that a vast percentage of student belly dancers are not thin, young, nubile creatures. Many are a good deal over thirty, with large numbers of the 40-60 age range. Granted, once you start lessons this late in life the chances of having a professional dance career are greatly lessened, it has happened. Chances are though, that like most older belly dance students, you just want to have some fun.

In the studio where I teach beginner belly dance, our amateur troupe consists of one fourteen year old, and the rest of us range from upper thirties to middle sixties! We are indeed a diverse group of ages and sizes. My belly dance teacher and the co-owner of the studio will be sixty-six this year!

Belly dancer hip scarf
Belly dancer hip scarf

Older belly dancers rock!

The fact that the teacher is an older woman was the reason I finally dove in and started taking lessons again. It certainly quelled my fears about being too old. I was forty-seven when I resumed belly dancing after a twenty-five year absence. Can you imagine, that when I was in my early thirties I wanted to start dancing again but thought I was too old? The only reason I had that mindset was because I started belly dancing in the 70's when I was a teenager. Now, after seeing countless other troupes and individual dancers, I know for sure that age is not a factor.

Mature & Beautiful Belly Dancers

Some of the very best dancers out there are over forty or even older, and they are seasoned professionals that we all admire. Take a look at the amazing Ranya Renee. She is a stunning redhead that embodies the very soul of the dance. I don't know her age but I can guess she is over 30. :)

Ranya Renee

Her moves are peppered with the depth of feeling that only a mature dancer can achieve. And, if you know belly dancing at all, you have heard of Morocco, a legend in the dance. She is now somewhere around seventy and from what my teacher tells me, conducts belly dance workshops that are so strenuous that young women have to sit down and take a break.

Morocco

YouTube Belly Dancer Ranya Renee - Ranya Renee

This is a stunning mature dancer who we all look up to. She is simply amazing.

My sixty six year old belly dance teacher

This is my teacher and me in February 2011

My teacher, who will be sixty-six this year only resumed belly dancing herself six years ago. You do the math. Like myself, she had a professional dance career when she was younger and stopped for as many years as I did. She is full of energy and raring to go each week. In fact, she currently teaches a senior citizens belly dance class once a week at one of our local senior living communities. Her students are mostly over seventy, and some in their eighties. Belly dancing appeals to women of all ages, as it never loses the mystique that intrigues us all.

Another great dancer

This is Karen Barbee, another mature dancer who I admire. She performs a drum solo in this video.

Weight- is this an issue?

Belly dance and weight

Okay so now you know that age is simply not a factor. Let's move on to the next excuse. Weight- It's a biggie. No pun intended. Want to know a secret? ( And please don't tell the smaller ladies I said this! ) Belly dancing looks nicer when you have something that jiggles. I love the fact that when I shimmy, I can see the ripple effect throughout the entire hip and abdominals. It looks amazing! My shimmies make my fringe go on a mad and sparkling journey.

I DO understand that you may not be comfortable with your body if there is a weight issue. You don't have to show your belly at all if you don't want to. Don't think you have to come to class in a belly baring top. Only our fourteen year old shows her belly.

YouTube- Belly dancer Bambi

This is a beautiful rendition of a classic dance piece- Aziza- performed by a dancer names Bambi. I think you will agree she does this dance justice.

YouTube- Belly dance Hiba

This is one hell of a good drum solo- by another plus size dancer, and let me tell you- she is fabulous! Size does NOT matter.

Belly Dancing is for every woman

When I started dancing again in 2009 I was sixty pounds overweight. The thought of walking into a dance studio with what I assumed were going to be a bunch of young, skinny girls, scared me to death. In fact, that was the reason I put off taking lessons again myself, more so than the age thing. But, upon entering the studio for the first time, I was surrounded by lovely women in all shapes and sizes, as well as ages. I was not the largest lady there and I was not the oldest by far. I didn't feel out of place at all.

At first I wore tee shirts and long gypsy skirts to stay cool and comfortable in class. If you are not used to exercising, which I certainly was not, you will find belly dancing to be more like fun and less like exercise. The movements are pretty gentle. And although they will feel strange and unfamiliar to you at first, you will quickly get used to it. You will find new muscles that you didn't know you had, and they may hurt for a while. Trust me, sliding your rib cage to the front, to the side, and around in circles is not a move most of us are accustomed to.

The movements in belly dancing may be difficult at first, but if you stick with it and practice at home, they will become second nature. You will find that although belly dancing is not terribly aerobic, it is very toning. You will notice your waist starts to tighten up and shrink, and your stomach flatten. Things just start to tone up. Just make sure to keep some jiggle!

In our studio we have a sign, that says, Every Woman Deserves to Dance.

Go sign up for those belly dance classes. You'll have the time of your life.

YouTube- Belly Dancing for Older Women

Here you go- a You Tube Video entitled Belly Dancing for Older Women! Check it out!

Belly Dance Videos

Belly dance videos that I have found helpful.

Belly Dance Basic Essentials - The classic hip scarf!

Every beginning belly dance student needs one!

Belly Dance Skirts - Cause you need one of these too!

A skirt is another belly dance costume essential.

Belly Dance Silk Veils - Silk Veils- a belly dance MUST HAVE

A veil adds a special flare, an air of mystique- the flowing silk surrounds you and enchants your audience.

Reader Feedback

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    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 4 years ago

      Great lens

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 4 years ago

      Great lens

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      This very ancient dance can be an excellent way to tone and rejuvenate the body while having fun and burning calories. Great resource videos for beginners and experienced Belly Dancers.

    • jejoju profile image

      jejoju 5 years ago

      hi hello you have a very cool lenses on belly dancing. Thank you for sharing.