(12th November,1999)

Age is only important when it comes 

to dead fish and good wine

Women – and men, have found this Site interesting, and have been sending me their comments from many countries:


AUSTRALIA  - Brisbane, Qld;  Kununnurra, WA;  Melbourne, Vic;  Sapphire, Qld;  Seaforth, Qld;  Stanthorpe, Qld;  Sydney, NSW.


SWEDEN - Stockholm

U. K.  - London, England.

U. S. A.  - Alaska, Boston, California, Camarillo, Florida,  Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Sacramento, San Francisco, Texas, Utah.




'I love your site, and I am fascinated that you come from the coastland of Australia.


I started dancing at the age of 30, in San Francisco, and have done it off and on since.


I have always been BIG, and I am almost 50.


On Halloween, I dressed up in belt and dancing bra and some scarves; for work.  I got, let us say, lots of male attention even though I am big.  Must be something about the bangles.


I am happy that you are encouraging older women to dance.  Please keep up the good work'


Zaïda: Thank you for your very kind words.  I am absolutely thrilled that my site is encouraging older women to learn belly dancing.


My grandson, Dan, who is my Webmaster, 'skites' to all his Internet contacts that 'this is my granny'.


Now, his wife and daughter are learning belly dancing.  Maybe one day I can put up a little video of the three of us dancing?  Wouldn't that be a 'hoot'?






'Zaida, just found your website while surfing the belly dance web ring.


I've just started teaching and really like what you say.  Now I know how to encourage any older woman who wants to dance but feels intimidated because she's not 19.   Thanks'


Zaïda: This is exactly what I hoped to achieve with my website.  I am truly astonished at the reception my site has received.  There must be THOUSANDS of older women out there who wanted to learn to belly dance, but felt they were too old.


I discovered belly dancing 3 years ago at the age of 60 and my health has progressively improved until now, my husband says I am living proof of the health benefits of belly dancing.  I am healthier now, than at any time in the past six decades.   Keep shimmying!





'Greetings.  This is not spam.   You may be interested in Dance America's Affiliate Program.  I just thought I'd let you know it was available.

Visitors to your site may be interested in receiving  "Mr Happyfeets" Ten Tips for Learning to Dance with Total Confidence; or Tips for Teaching Anyone to Dance with Total Confidence; and a four Vol. follow-up Newsletter.

Also, anyone marketing a product may be interested in Dance America's Partnership Program.'



Zaïda: I am happy to put your information into my Repartee page for anyone to read.     I do not teach, nor do I sell anything.






'Zaida, I would like to know if you have workshops, video's and music.  I am interested to learn all I can about belly dancing.'


Zaïda: Salaam a'lek;  (Greetings to you).  I do not teach, or sell anything.  We have just had a weekend of workshops, organised by one of the two studios, here in Mackay.  We held a Harem Party on Saturday night at a local tourist resort, and I am sure the guests at the resort were envious of our function, but there was not sufficient room in the restaurant to throw it open to all-comers.


I suggest you go through my Links page and look at the Art of Middle Eastern Dance, which is Shira's site.  You should find all the information you need.





'I enjoy your website.  I've been belly dancing for 23 years, so since I didn't start at birth, I'm not a spring chicken.  We have a troupe with members in their 20's, 30's, 40's, and had a dancer in her 50's (she is fabulous).


We have LIVE MUSIC too, which I love.    Check out our website and keep dancing.   Shimmies and Good Vibrations....


Zaïda: Oh! How I ENVY you, your LIVE MUSIC.  

I wish we could get some musicians motivated to set up a Middle Eastern Band, here in Mackay.


Thank you for the Good Vibrations..... LOVELY





'Hi - pretty site.  I found you through a link on Shira.  I am putting out a little newsletter called "Behind The Veil"  for the Academy of Middle Eastern Dance in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  It is in pdf format - so you can view it, save it, print it, whatever you like:


Princess Shahara is 42 and I myself am 59 in February and have been dancing around 7 years.  


I think a lot of young people think silver hair means the brain's gone as well, and I'm sure some of the younger dancers think I'm a bit of a curiosity churning out brochures and flyers and stuff, which silver haired people are not supposed to know about.


Just bought a wonderful new costume -RED!!!

Going to give it a launching in a week or two.  Still shimmying'


Zaïda: You may be surprised to hear that, in Australia, there are more users of the Internet over the age of 45 than in the younger age brackets.  Us  'wrinklies'  have taken to the Internet like ducks to water.


Good luck with your newsletter and your dancing and RED will look marvellous with SILVER'.





'I like your home page; it lets me know that at 53 and learning to belly dance, I am not the only 'older lady' taking belly dancing up.


Although I am overweight, I find it is the best exercise I can do.  I love to dance.  This is more fun than stair stepping.  It is so graceful and it works all the body.

Thanks for the page.  It inspires me.'


Zaïda: Within three years you will feel 35 again.  Guaranteed.  I will be 64 next year and feel 35.  My health has been better, since I started belly dancing, than it ever was for the previous 60 years.


I am so THRILLED that my site is reaching all the women who WANT  to dance, but feel they are too old/heavy.

Dancing will fix both those concerns.





'What does the name, Zaida, mean?'


Zaïda: The name Zaida means that I have chosen a name which pleases me and which I use as my dancing persona.  When I am Zaida I am transported into the world of Oriental Dance and am no longer my ordinary, everyday self.


I strongly recommend that every dancer choose a name which pleases her (or him), and which will transport them into the world of dance, music and sheer enjoyment.


Whether the conjunction of those letters has any specific significance, I have no knowledge, or interest.  Presumably some person, some time in the past, has made an arbitrary decision that a particular meaning shall apply to a particular name.  I am ZAIDA!


I dance! I LOVE it!  Choose a name.  If it does not feel comfortable... change it.  I know one lady who changed her name four times before she found one she really liked.  I rather fancied the name 'Sahara' - (as I was born in Africa), when I first started out, but it was too similar to the name of another dancer (here in Mackay at that time), so I chose a different name.  I chose ZAIDA.  I added the double dots over the i as this made it different and also indicates that the i is used twice - in the first AND second syllables.  Thus Z-EYE - EE - DUH.





'My husband is being a bit of a butt head about my dancing.  He's not sure he likes me doing this.


A good friend of mine, her husband just flat said "NO!" 

I would not go for that.  I haven't let a man tell me what to do since I was at home living with my Dad and Mom.


I wish I knew where women get it into their heads that we go from listening to our parents tell us what to do, to listening to our men do it!'


Zaïda: Husbands are missing out on at least 50% of their lives when they do not share their woman's joys and interests.  Just as she shares his.


I know a woman whose husband absolutely refused to give her permission to dance in public.  So she just danced in class.  Eventually she woke up that she did not need his permission.  Now she dances every chance she gets; in public; and loves it.


MY husband is my most ardent supporter.  He is my PR man, my stage manager, my sound and lighting man and my compere at all my performances.......


Confucius says:  Change what you can change.  Accept what you can't change; and learn to tell the difference".





'I just spent forever on your website.  It is wonderful.  I found everything informative, fun and inspiring.


I am 51.  I started dancing in January of this year and am totally committed to it.  Your words about the 'feeling' of dancing the music and being relaxed and yourself are so true.  I danced in a student show in a restaurant) in July and plan to do another performance soon. 


You are so right about dancing for friends, especially women.  A group of us women, here in Oregon, are doing a river rafting trip next month and I was asked if I would perform for them one of the nights we're camping!


Of course - my FAVOURITE audience is my boyfriend!


You are a true inspiration.  I'm glad I found you'.


Zaïda: I get such a thrill from emails from all over the world.  Now Oregon.....


I receive such an enormous amount of support for my dancing, especially in this IYOP (International Year of the Older Person), that I hope to pass on some of this to other 'older' women.   Keep dancing.




Aloha from HAWAII

'I really enjoyed your website.... at 43 I had my first bellydancing class yesterday!  I am not a very athletic person and have 'two left feet'; but I can totally get into this and am anxiously awaiting my next class!


I feel a little self conscious about my size, which is BIG... I have lost 63 lbs and now weight 227, and am still working hard to lose more... but I am still going to give it my best shot!!!  Thanks for a great website!'


Zaïda: Don't feel that BIG is a disadvantage in Belly dancing.  You don't have to work as hard.  Get that shimmy going and it keeps on keeping on.  Skinny bodies have to work much harder.


Have you seen the website - Seleka?


Thank you for your encouragement.  I have just added a bit more to my Dancing page.  You may like to take another look....





'Do you have a video for sale with the same instructions that you have here?'


Zaïda: G'Day.  My site is not commercial.  I only do belly dancing for the sheer joy of dance.  I do not teach.  I do not sell.  If I can encourage older women to share my passion, then that is what it is all about.  I hope you can find a suitable video somewhere.  Sorry I cannot help with your quest.





'I was so thrilled to find your website.  I live in the U.S.A. in the Midwest and just found a teacher in a city very near me.


Now, I am going to start belly dancing lessons in September.  I was really beginning to wonder if I really was nuts, but now am glad to see that I am not alone!



I had been going over the decision in my head (especially after I saw the look on my husband's surprise :: grin::).... wondering if I was just wanting to be someone I am not; but although I am a very quiet person I have been involved in community theatre (my biggest lead was playing 'Truvy' in Steel Magnolias) and dancing.


Something 'turns on' when I am on stage that I cannot explain.


I have raised three boys and have six grandchildren, but still consider myself to be attractive and don't feel anything like everyone seems to say women are supposed to feel at this age.  In fact, I think I look better and KNOW I feel better about myself than I did in my 20's.


So let them laugh.  You have certainly put the period on the end of my decision with your wonderful website.  I love the pictures of the dancers in their beautiful dance costumes!


How long do you think it will take to learn enough to actually be able to dance in front of an audience?  I want to learn to do it correctly.


Also, I have heard there is a body stocking that can be worn.  I have a nice figure but a terrible surgical scar that goes from the bottom of my chest to the bottom of my tummy and cannot picture in my mind how in the world you could wear a body stocking and look like a belly dancer.  In fact, ::grin:: I'm not even sure what a body stocking is!


When I turned 50, (I think my family thought I was nuts) - first, I sent in a resume, interviewed and became a flight attendant for American Airlines.


I was already taking a jazz and tap dance class and was the youngest in my class.  We all start classes with this new teacher and are very excited.  Shadia Dahlal Middle Eastern Dance (Belly Dance) of Tulsa, Oklahoma.


I hank you so much for the wonderful pictures and the encouragement to go ahead with this.'   



Zaïda: You have told me that my website is achieving exactly what I set out to achieve.... to encourage older women to learn to belly dance.


I have received nothing but support from the people who know me, and I wanted to pass on this encouragement to people who do not live in such a supportive community.  Never let other people's hang-ups rule your life.  You don't want to live THEIR lives, so don't let them try to live YOURS!!!!!


Don't worry about DOING IT RIGHT!  There is no right or wrong.  Who is supposed to be the self-styled expert who says this is right and this is wrong?  NOBODY!  You do it YOUR WAY!


Body stockings are IMPOSSIBLE to wear here in the tropics.  If you have a figure fault, design a costume which will cover it.  I saw on one website that a dancer had a horizontal scar, so she had a dagger tattooed over the scar.  Your vertical scar can easily be covered with drapes, fringes, beading, anything that works for you.  I have an hysterectomy scar, which just peeps out above my skirt.  If it bothers anyone - it does not bother ME!


Your husband will be THRILLED with his dancer wife, once he understands what it means in terms of your health, flexibility,  self esteem, your sheer sensuality.


I have two great-grand-children.......


Thank YOU for the incentive to continue to expand my website.






'Hello, Zaida:  I am a pup at a mere 29 going on 30 but was delighted and inspired by your website.  I want to thank you and all the other 'elderly women'  [after viewing your site I have to laugh at that term] for being an inspiration to me.


I have just started to learn belly dancing in Minnesota, USA and have loved every class!  I find that my time is short for practice outside of class and as I come closer to turning 30 I keep wondering what part of my body will be the next to 'give out' [my first grey hair arrived at 21].


You are all my living proof that I do not even have to consider giving up this glorious passion as I age.


Also, to all belly dancers, thank you for being out there and showing the world the truth [where fashion and Hollywood have failed], in that most women are a size 12 or larger [nothing personal against anyone thinner as we know everyone should be proud of who they are; but the reality just isn't there and it hurts to see young women who will never get to be less than a 12 and try to kill themselves doing it].  I personally am a size 18 and proud of it.


So let's shimmy those HIPS, because that's why we have them!!


Some may consider you 'elderly' but you will always be knowledgeable, graceful, beautiful and inspiring to me.  Perhaps in a couple or so decades I'll have the opportunity to pass down your inspiration to others to continue and not give up because of age or fear of getting older.


Zaïda: G'Day.  I felt very flattered by your comments.  My aim in setting up a website for Belly Dancing for Older Women was to encourage women not to be intimidated by the fact that they were no longer young, nubile and skinny.


I read somewhere that it is nature's design for older women to become fat, so as to encourage the males of the species to breed with the younger women who would produce more viable offspring.  This may be the case - who knows? - but we don't stop being women just because we are older, and we still have the same feelings as we had when younger.


Belly dancing allows us to express those feelings.


I am really thrilled that younger women are finding my site interesting and encouraging.


I plan to be dancing thirty years from now, so you have about 6 decades ahead of you......   hang in there.....





'Wow!  I have just come across your page on the net!  I lived in Mackay for 12 months and didn't even know you were there.  I am now living in the Kimberley in the north of Western Australia.


We have started a small group with a lot of help from an instructor in Perth.  So far our group is going well, with about 15 die-hard fans.  We have been together as a group or troupe for about 9 months now and have had a small debut performance and one appearance at the local mardi gras, with two of us also dancing at local parties.' 


Zaïda: It is a real thrill to hear that belly dancing has reached the Top End of Australia.  

We have felt the surge of interest flowing through the continent and this is truly encouraging for the people living in isolated communities.

Australia has no National Dance as such, not like Irish Dancing or Scottish Dancing, so Belly Dancing is taking a real grip on the population.  We will take it and mould it to our own psyche and not worry too much about how it is done in other countries.  We are just there for the sheer joy of dance.



I MUMBLE "Belly Dance"

'Your website is wonderful!  I tend to mumble "belly dance" in answer to questions about what kind of dance classes I'm taking!  


At age 47 I felt a little old, but I love the dance and music so much!  


My adult children think it's great, and my granddaughter enjoys dancing with me around the living room.


I lack the confidence to dance in public, though.

Someday!    By the way, I live in California - U.S.A.


Thankyou again for your encouraging website.'


Zaïda:  At 47 you are still a young woman.  At 63 I am still a young woman.  Some women are old at 29.  I can remember feeling really old at that age.  Now, chronological age is not a factor in my life.  Mental age is what counts.


If you THINK young, then you ARE young.  As one lady said to me, "I don't see myself the way the mirror reflects my image".


I totally agree.  In my mind I see myself as 35, the perfect age for a woman.


My grandson of 25, who is also my Webmaster, sends my photograph to all his friends on the Internet and says, "This is my Granny".   (He has two daughters......)


When you are ready to perform in public, choose a sympathetic group, like an Aged Persons' Home.  They are starved for entertainment, and a very receptive audience.


I have danced at several of the homes here in Mackay, and they are always saying, 

"When are you going to dance for us again?".


You see, my husband and I have a musical duo, I play alto sax and sing alto, and he plays electronic accordion, so we visit the Homes and Hostels regularly with our music.


If you enjoy your dance, your audience will enjoy it too.  They will be able to fantasise that it is them, up there dancing.  Give them their fantasies....... 





‘Hi, I teach at two belly dance classes.  Although one of my classes has fairly young women (35 to 45), they are not necessarily ‘perfect’ bodies; (weight 200 to 250lbs = {91 – 113kgs}).


My point is that being young does not ensure a ‘perfect’ figure.  I suppose they may have been more so, when younger, but they were still too tall, or heavy, even then.  So we of course work on all the other important parts of the dance: Costuming; Interesting choreography; Presentation, etc.


For the most part, the women have seemed very accepting over the years, but that may be in part due to my attitude.  If I seem to have paid my (dance) dues, and am interested in the dance (not the female dance students), I think that there is pretty good acceptance.


I am careful to be appropriate to my venue and audience.

Also, I read about the male dancer (Ankh), and I agree about the styling, and about learning everything, and then discarding or modifying what you don’t like.  In fact women wind up doing this, as well. 


The veil is perhaps a good example of what can be learned by a  man and adapted.  When I started, a veil would have felt awful weird, although at one time I went to a veil workshop in Idaho. But since that time, I have noticed male veil dancers - one used a VERY large silk veil; another did a 'signature' double veil routine; one does a very vigorous veil routine, where he, at one point, is on a knee position back bend, and a rather wild veil figure 8's over his body;  I have seen an ad which shows a male dancer with a veil, and I have performed a single (heavy fabric) circle veil routine at a Halloween Belly dance show (dancer audience).  None of these pieces were feminine, but probably were adapted from some earlier female version.’ 

(A male dancer of 43).


Zaïda:  Salaam, Greetings, G’Day.  What a lucky little chappy you are – teaching women to belly dance.  You must be the envy of everyone you know.


My husband is dead keen to learn to belly dance, but my teacher is reluctant to take on men, in case she attracts the wrong sort; and she does not want to include my husband in her women’s class, in case the women drop-out – which is a real problem here in Mackay (rhymes with eye).


So, I am teaching him some of the moves I have learned and he is really enjoying it.  I am also making him work with a veil, it certainly requires a bit of muscle power to get that veil moving, and that is far better than pumping iron at the gym – BORING!


I am keeping very busy entertaining the older community, especially as it is the middle of winter now, and cool enough to dance.


One point I would like to make – I have noticed that the women with modern skeletal figures cannot shimmy, not so that you’d notice.  There is nothing to wobble.  You need a bit of loose fat in order to get a shimmy going – this is what makes belly dancing so attractive to older women.




‘I really enjoyed your website and was singing “hurrahs” and “amens” all the way.


Quote -  ‘The nice people will be happy for you, when they see how much you are enjoying yourself.  The others don’t exist’


I love it !!  I started belly dancing at age 42 and am still dancing 20 years later!  I don’t look or feel twenty years older and I know the dance has contributed greatly to this miracle.  Thank you for a wonderful page. ’


You may want to visit with me at:     


Zaïda:   You made my day.  I have looked at your site and you certainly don’t look as though you have passed your third decade.  I am thrilled at the response my website is receiving from older women.  We are proving that dance is for EVERYONE, especially belly dance……




‘Just thought I would send a message to say I think your site is very good and encouraging.  I’m giving a series of 4 classes to the local weight-loss group, starting tonight, and will tell them about your site

(I think they are about 45 – I’m nearly 38).


So far I haven’t had much success in maintaining long-term interest in belly-dance, but maybe this will be the new beginning???

I held classes for about 6 months last year, but the numbers just dwindled away.


It gets very cold here and people seem to want to hibernate!

I originally learned to dance at the Academy of MED in Brisbane and moved here 3 years ago.  I too suffer from the isolation problem and really wish I could find some women here to share my passion for MED.  Women always say to me they would love to learn, but when it comes to the crunch they back out.  I just have to keep trying.’


Zaïda:  It is lovely to hear from you.  We also have a very high drop-out rate here, in Mackay.  A few suggestions, which come to mind – perhaps you could set up a daytime dance and coffee session, so that it is more of a social than a class.  You could also do a few demonstration dances at places like old folks’ homes.  They are a very appreciative audience and talk to their rellies about the entertainment, which comes to them.  The more people who hear about belly dance, the more students you are likely to attract.


Also, dancing in public gets the adrenalin flowing and those who are brave enough to join in will say, “When’s the next one?”.

I wish you luck in attracting at least a few enthusiastic dancers.



‘I found your web page today, and it was encouraging to know there are so many other older dancers out there.


I danced in my twenties, left it in my thirties, and am returning to it in my late forties; but one of the frustrating things for me is that I can no longer shimmy (fast, that is).


I could shimmy really fast when I was in my twenties, but although I’ve stayed with it and practiced for over two years now, I just can’t shimmy fast anymore; its’ discouraging.  Any hints?’


Zaïda:  Welcome to the Internet fraternity of belly dancers.  It is lovely having contact with dancers from all over the world. 


I feel that shimmying (is there such a word?) is a matter of being relaxed.  The more uptight you become the less you are able to shimmy.  Don’t work at it, just let it happen.


Beginners work too hard at shimmies, especially shoulder shimmies and their movements are too large.  I was helping a new dancer the other day, and when she made her movements very tiny and relaxed her shoulders, she was able to get the embryo of a shimmy going.  With practice she will conquer this movement.


I feel that your problem is that you KNOW you used to be able to shimmy ‘real fast’ and when it did not come back easily, you tensed up.  I hope this is a helpful suggestion?  Keep dancing.



‘I enjoyed your web page.  At 46, I sometimes feel I’m crazy wanting to use it for anything but exercise.  I started about 10 years ago and have been doing it off and on.  There are a few dancers my age that I’m starting to find out about, but usually I’m surrounded by new age youngsters from the colleges.   Partly because of lack of self confidence, I’ve yet to choose a dance name.’


Zaïda:     I must admit, that if my first teacher had not been 72, I would never have pursued belly dancing.  Now, it is an absolute PASSION.  I am in great demand, dancing for older groups of people.  I think they all feel envious and wish they had the courage to try something like this, themselves.  A mature woman can bring much more to the dance than youngsters.  You can express your maturity and joy of BEING.  You can express sensuality.  Physical appearance is not the same as charisma.  Have fun, and choose a dance name SOON.  It will give you a new identity and take you out of your everyday life.  When I become Zaïda, I am WOMAN.



‘I don’t want to dance in public.  I don’t want the people at work to know I am doing this’.


Zaïda:  There is no pressure to dance in public, until you are ready.  You will find, as your confidence and your ability increase, that just dancing in a class situation will no longer please you.  Like a fledgling, you will be ready to FLY.  Once you have experienced that surge of adrenalin, which you get from dancing for an audience, you will be asking, ‘When’s the next one?’. 


I am sure the people at your place of work will be happy for you and you may be surprised to find that they start inviting you to dance at functions they are organising privately.  Live your life for yourself.  You are not hurting anyone by dancing – just the opposite, you will bring joy to other people’s lives.  Wait until you are ready, then enjoy yourself.



‘Hello!  Just want to say “congrats” on your web site!  I’m 35, so I really don’t consider myself an older woman yet, but I think belly dance is fantastic since it is a dance we can do for our whole life! 

As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that if I don’t dance I feel a lot stiffer and have more aches and pains!  Belly dance is also great for your posture and upper body strength!


Did you mention beledi dresses in your costuming section?  They are sexy, authentic, and keep one covered up!  They have always been my preferred style, even when I was 21 and didn’t have much to hide!  Also, there are patterns available for great Ghawazee and Turkish coats that are soooo cool!


Any way, great job and happy dancing!!!’



Zaïda:   Before I started belly dancing I had reached the stage where I had to hold onto the railings when descending stairs.  Now I can trip down stairs without much thought.  So not only your upper body gains strength.


Costuming is a very personal decision and each dancer must suit her personality and preferences.  Here, in Mackay, we are in a tropical zone with very high humidity.  So less is better when we are dancing.  We usually end up damp from head to foot so costumes need to be washable.

Patterns are almost non-existent so we copy from other dancer’s costumes and modify to suit ourselves.  



‘I came across your web page today and enjoyed it very much.  You have a lot of good information on the health benefits of belly dancing that I was not aware of.  I found your tips on costuming very helpful and the section on attitude was so perfectly written.


I started taking belly dance lessons for fun and relaxation thinking I would probably quit after I saw all the young perfect bodies in class.  I was happy to find out that there is so much more to this dance than having a perfect physique.  I have learned a lot in the year and a half I have been taking lessons and have enjoyed every minute of it.


I liked your photographs of the dancers you included and wanted to ask you about the tassel belt you are wearing on the first page.  I haven’t seen one like it before and wondered where you found it or did you make it?


Thanks for a great web page and I will be checking back.


Zaïda: Thankyou for your encouragement.  I am setting up some new pages for my website, but they are only in the formative stages as yet.  One will be called REPARTEE and will include – anonymously – the emails I have received and my responses.  Another page will be STAMINA & FLEXIBILITY and this will cover suitable exercises for the older woman.


Re the tassel belt – it started out as a very basic coin belt; I added the tassels, then some big coins, then, after the photo was taken, a second coin belt over the original belt – I took it off its chain and clipped each dangly section to my base belt.  The second belt is lightweight, jangly things and very shiny gold – it shimmies at the lightest move.  The belt is getting heavier and heavier.  It may collapse some day Heh! Heh!.


The tassels are just gold tassels from a shop, which sells sewing notions.  I think they are meant as Xmas decorations.  I have also added some gold strings of bead on each hip.  These flounce delightfully.  They are definitely Xmas decorations and much stronger than I anticipated.  They put up with two classes a week as well as performances. I have just done my 14th performance (in public, I mean) and feel happier and happier about my dancing.


Go for it!  The audience can pick up your enjoyment and this lifts them and takes them flying with you.



‘I am Spanish, and dance Raqs Sharqi since 1993, when I was 50.

By chance I got in to your pages “Belly dancing for older women” in the Web and I felt so well after reading you. 


I have always been dancing with younger people and maybe because of that it took me longer to learn.. and probably because my back, my bones and my ears – to understand everything is said – showed my age.   And truly, I have never been encouraged in my classes or workshops.


However, I never gave it up.  I worked hard and enjoyed a lot doing so..


My remaining problems is my balance; I find a little bit difficult to turn, but I try once and again….


Thank you for encouraging older people.  I needed it!


Zaïda: Thanks so much for your lovely e-mail.  I have also had problems with balance and spins, but I practice a little each day and my balance is improving noticeably.  I can now stand on tiptoe for quite a while and I am getting more and more agile in the spins.  Keep working at it, a little each day.


NEVER, NEVER think that younger, slimmer dancers are BETTER.  They are DIFFERENT.  Everybody interprets the music in their own way and that is what makes bellydancing so special.  You don’t HAVE to try and do it one way, like in ballet.


You are the only dancer in the WORLD who can dance the way you do.  You are SPECIAL.  Enjoy yourself.  I have never had so much fun as I am having now, and I will be 63 on 31st July, 1999.



‘I am one of ten members of a bellydance group in a small town in Central Queensland, Australia.  We started in March 1998 with Michelle as our teacher.  Michelle has left the area two months ago to work in Brisbane, and now we are ‘teacherless’.


I try to gather info from everywhere to study and show the other ladies what I have learnt, every Thursday.   We hire a hall, with help from our local Multi-purpose Centre.  I happen to be the Admin. Assistant there, which makes it easier.  We are trying to receive a grant from the Government, but that’s a bit tricky.


Last year, we had a visit in Emerald from Rasheeda and she taught us a lot with her workshop, but we need more, more, more.  Could you give us a kickstart, on where to order CD’s and Instructional video’s etc.?  Everything seems to be in America.   Thanks’.

Zaïda: It is fantastic that you have started a group in a town with a population of less than 600.  Please give all the girls my heartiest welcome.  Tell them the thing I have learnt, which has the most value to me, is that flexibility is mental, more than physical.  If they can overcome their hangups they will find their bodies become fluid, like oil.

About obtaining CD’s etc.  Go through my Links on my website, and find Amera’s Palace in the Australian Links.  She is prepared to send you stuff on consignment and you send back whatever you don’t sell.


Rasheeda did a workshop for us here in Mackay and it was very energising being in a group of women who were all interested in bellydance.

Cheers, and go for it.