(29th December, 2001)

'Few things, which are so good for you,

are also this much fun'.

Women – and men, have found this Site interesting, and have been sending me their comments from many countries -see Repartee 1999 and 2000.

New countries 'writing'  in 2001.....

AUSTRALIA:  Perth; Melbourne; 

ENGLAND:  London;




U.S.A:  Alaska;  Chicago;  Ft. Lauderdale;  Minnesota;  New York;  Oklahoma;   San Gabriel;  Sunnyvale;  Tempe;  Texas;  Virginia; Washington;




I came across your website last year.  Although I am 64 years old and overweight your site convinced me to give belly dancing a try.

I am having a wonderful time.  I found a great teacher and although I am still a little un-coordinated I am sure that will improve with time and practice.

Thanks for the support.

Zaïda: I am so THRILLED that you have discovered the JOY of belly dance.

I have put a number of co-ordinating exercises in my book, which is a modified version of this website, and is titled by the same name.  Zaida, Belly Dancing for Older Women.




'I am conducting seminars aimed at assisting victims of terrorism to deal with the trauma of their experiences.

I did my seminar yesterday and it was great.  I started out with lullabies with people lying on mats.  It was my way of helping people wind down and relax in the most natural way. 

They are lullabies arranged out of classical music.  I created a tape where the intensity and energy level of the music gradually increases.  I also did soul music which then led into the belly dancing.

By that time they were ready for it.  It went so well, with a lot of humor.  The women began to express a lot of love and warmth, which came out of the laughter.  It was great for me.

I want to thank you so much for enabling a fantasy become a reality for me, just because you corresponded with me.  You gave me your gut feeling.'

Zaïda: I cannot SHOUT the benefits of Belly Dance loud enough.  I am so THRILLED that you are able to help people who have experienced real terror.



Zaida--- aptly chosen is your name--
Its ''lucky'' flowed from you to make me share
The attribute when I beheld the charm
Of your rich image on the page, a rare
Depiction of enchantment, matured, sweet
To eye, delighting all my senses, as if
A queen had come before me, holding great
Dependent realms beneath her ruling life.

And fair Zaida is a queen of dance,
Whose whole demeanour is a woven dream,
Appearing in a costumed elegance,
Embodied beauty of a unique form.

Zaida, now I know you as a queen,
I honour you, and kneel before your throne.

Zaïda: Thank you.  I feel joyous and ethereal after reading your Sonnet.



'My fetish is to be bathed in a belly dancer's body.'  Neil

Zaïda: Neil, you can easily achieve this by becoming a belly dancer, then your body will be a belly dancer's body.  Ask at your nearest studio and see if they will accept you as a student.  You will need to act like a gentleman.



'Thank you so much for having this site as I thought I was too old (55)

I am an older woman who just took a bellydancing class.  The young girl went so fast that I cannot remember many of the moves to practice.  I started looking on the Net for some instructions and ran into your site.  Where can I go to download some videos?'

Zaïda: If you go to my Dancing page and click on Aladdin's lamp, you will be taken to Botticelli's site in Denmark.  She has some good explanations - with tiny videos - of hip movements.

If you are in a country which uses PAL video format, go to my LINKS page and look at Yasmin Asar's website.... Yasmin has an excellent teaching video.

If you are in a country which uses NTSC video format, go to my LINKS page and look at the Art of Middle Eastern Dance.... Shira has a plethora of information on her site.



'I must tell you that I really enjoyed reading your website.  It’s almost like a feeling of bringing the light into the tunnel.

I live in Israel and want to study bellydancing but, ironically although living in the Middle East, I can’t seem to locate a teacher.   Do you have any suggestions? '


Zaïda: You are the first person to speak to me from Israel.  WELCOME!

Many women have contacted me about the problem of finding a teacher.  I suggest you find a small group of like-minded women and each of you buy a teaching video.  Then each of you can bring to the ‘class’ a move you have learned from your video and teach the others, that way you can correct any ‘errors’ and learn and ENJOY.

REMEMBER there is no right or wrong way to dance.  Listen to the music.  Listen to your soul.  Learn a few basic moves and have FUN.

Remember also, that belly dance is the dance of the people… it is what people did when music moved them to dance.  They did not have formal lessons.




Dear wonderful role model.  I am so thankful for your encouragement for this sensuous dance form.  I am most interested but find living in a remote area there are no teachers.  What videos/music should I spend my money on?  How can I teach myself and not make mistakes?

I am 49 years of age.  I want to be devoted but need an instructor I feel.  Am I doomed to not be able to learn correctly?  I do not want to just mimic movements.  I want this very much but just need direction.

Zaïda: Belly dancing is not a solitary pastime.  You need company.  You need energy feedback. You need to ENJOY!

Your best bet is to find a group of like-minded women, if there are no classes near you, and form your own group.  If you each learn from watching videos, you can help each other to master the moves.  The joy of belly dancing is being with other dancers.... male and female.

I cannot advise on suitable teaching videos as I have only seen two myself and so am not in a position to judge.

Music is a very personal choice.  MY preference is for Westernised, Middle Eastern music where the high pitched, wailing sounds have been avoided.  Therefore, I tend to favour Emad Sayyah's music, but unfortunately about 50% of the tunes on any given CD are vocals, so that limits my choice.  I only use non-vocals as I have no idea what they are singing about.

The best thing about belly dance is that it is YOUR dance and there is no right or wrong way to dance.  Let the music 'speak' to you.  Learn a few basic moves and work on them and you will find yourself inventing your own moves.  Each dancer's body moves differently, so even though two dancers may practice the same move, they will look totally dissimilar when they actually dance.  (I am not talking about ballet, where the dancers all have to be clones... same build, same height).

GO for it!  Ignore other people's opinions.  Listen to your SOUL.




I have a question…. I am a licensed massage therapist and fitness instructor.  I am in good shape and am wondering if I could be accepted as a performer belly dancer, (after getting lessons of course).  I am a quick study.   I am 41 years old.

Zaïda: As you are already very fit, you would find you are ready to perform after a series of lessons (you will know when you feel ready). 

Belly dancing looks very simple, but you will discover a whole world of wonder at just how difficult some of the moves actually are and how much there is to learn.  It is a never-ending learning curve.

Your age has no bearing on the subject.  I started at 60 and most of my dancers are in their 60’s.   We perform regularly at the Aged Persons Homes in the area.



In the light of recent events, (the September Eleven attack on the World Trade Centre, New York and other places), I am so happy to see sites like yours!  As a Muslim who has been under direct back-lash, it is both refreshing and encouraging to see your attitude.  I am so happy to see that not everybody has decided that all Muslims are evil.

I am also very pleased to see you encouraging your dancers to be the same.

Keep dancing!

Zaïda: Thank you for your email.  I am heartsore at the trouble this event has caused throughout the world.  You drop a rock in a pond and the ripples spread FOREVER.
I wrote this letter to my local paper, you may find it consoling.  It was printed this morning.
'I had the privilege of meeting Imam Barry Hassan during the preparations for the Barrio Festival held at Caneland Sound Shell in August 1999.
Barry is a true leader, firm but fair; he is a gentleman.
I can relate to the fears of the local Islamic community, as, in Rhodesia during the Second World War, my mother was the target of hatred, as her mother and father, both born in East Germany in a tiny town called Gros Almarode, marked my mother as a Nazi in the eyes of the community.
My father was British to the core.
I ask the Mackay Community to close ranks and protect our Islamic community from such petty hatred.
Our way of life is the envy of Australia and the World, and we must protect our own.'
I hope this nonsense will settle very rapidly.  How can anybody hold innocent people responsible for the blind hatred of a very, very small group of sub-humans?   

My warmest wishes to you,  Zaïda.



'Thank you for your wonderful website, I can sense by the openness of your site, that you are a very warm generous free spirited Earthmother. 

I am your age and I just started taking belly dancing a month ago, and believe me I had every intention of giving it up,  this second month when  fees for the class are due.

I am not having a physical problem, I have been an avid walker for 15 years (daily, never missing) and I have been doing various martial arts for seven years. I am extremely grateful that I am in such good physical condition.
THE problem was mental.  I frankly just felt too mature to start out on such a sensually shrouded form of exercise.
I felt much inspiration reading your website, and I think I can continue with the lessons now with more of an open attitude.     


Zaïda: This is exactly the reason I set up my website.  You have truly gladdened my heart.  I am teaching a group of women, most of whom are in their 60's and they are so enthusiastic and keep telling me how much their health has improved, and their attitude to life.  It is a real JOY to share my limited knowledge of belly dancing with them.



I am enjoying bellydance, however the only cloud is with my feet...I have a tendency to get a very painful cramping of my two smaller toes in one foot at the most inopportune times.

The floor surface where we learn is vinyl tiling on concrete, and although there is a partial, thin mat, I find the cold has exacerbated my problem.  I suffer a lot from cold feet and although I wear socks to class, it doesn't help.

I was wondering if you had any suggestions?  I don't want to give up dancing, yet obviously my feet are a necessary part of continuing!!!  I am 45 and fairly healthy.

Zaïda: Poor circulation can lead to cold hands and feet and muscle cramps.

I recommend you buy the book:  Hand Reflexology by Mildred Carter and Tammy Weber


in the meantime, try wearing thermal socks and soft shoes (like Jiffies) when you dance.

Hope you can solve the problem.



I have wanted, for 24 years, to take belly dance lessons and I am going to try for the first time this next Monday.  I am hoping we can modify some of the moves so I can do them, and also hoping to lose some weight!

Zaïda: ~smile~ Welcome to the world of belly dance!  ENJOY!  you will find it helps enormously with a wide range of health issues.  This is possibly the only exercise which works on the internal organs and not just arms, legs and heart/lungs as in aerobics etc.

Stimulating the internal organs helps your body to heal itself.  You will also find that fat will turn to muscle; so do not watch those scales and feel you are not losing weight....muscle is heavier than fat.  If you FEEL better, that is all that matters.




I am an Australian living in the UK, where we don't have the opportunity to belly dance, due to the weather.  Do you have any hints or tips for me to keep warm whilst baring all in the streets of London?

I have always thought that belly dancing was a very fashionable and fantastic sport.

One day I will become a STAR!

Zaïda: ~smile~ If you look on my Dancing in Mackay page you will see a Link to Yasmin Asar, who teaches in London, UK.

Yasmin is a lovely person... she did a workshop here just over a year ago.  SHE will keep you warm.



I am 52 and have been bellydancing for 4 years and no-one believes I am over 35 - especially when they see me in costume.

It's so true, what you say about the adrenalin high after dancing, and being ready to party!

Keep the site going for us senior citizens.....

Zaïda: ~smile~ what you say about nobody believing your age when you dance..... is so true.  I am told again and again that I look about 18 when I dance.  Considering that I will be 65 on 31st July 2001, I can hardly believe this, but I get the comment repeatedly, so believe me.... I BELIEVE IT!

I have added a bit more to my Attitude page... you may like to take a look.



Hi, Thought it would be nice to let you know that over the last three years dancing has become lots of fun just like you said it would.  

First time I contacted you I was a beginner and doing child care.  I kept up my dance classes and went to school to be an Administration Assistant.....all because you helped inspire me to reach for more at 50.  Working as an Administration Assistant - and belly dancing, keeps me energized.  

Zaïda: I remember you well!  I am so pleased you have grabbed life and done what YOU want.



I loved your dance page.  I have not danced in 5 years and after seeing your page, I am going to pull my costumes out of the closet and start using them again.

Zaïda: How can you NOT dance?  Dance wherever people will sit still long enough to watch.... dance for the people in the Nursing Homes.... they are the most appreciative audience you can find..... you will fill their day with SUNSHINE!



As a teacher of Dance for Seniors, I was disappointed not to be able to access the hyperlink for Dancing for Older Women.

My oldest students are 82

Zaïda:   It is so encouraging to hear of women of 82 still dancing.
Sometimes hyperlinks fail when the ISP is TOO BUSY..... which is happening more and more as people discover the WEB.
I hope you will try again.....



Hi Zaida!  I don't know whether you're aware of it (maybe you are), but your web site is proving to be an inspiration for A LOT of older women!  If you haven't already seen it, you may find the following web site interesting.  It talks about how you helped someone heal from a crippling illness:


Zaïda: I did not know this, but it gives me a truly warm, fuzzy feeling.

I have just spent 4 days at a convention for Older Women..... the Older Women's Network (OWN), where I conducted gentle exercise sessions, based on belly dance movements, each morning; a Workshop on Belly Dance on one of the days, then performed in the Variety Concert on the final night.

The ENERGY coming back to me from the audience of more than 70 Older Women was so INTENSE that I danced with more verve and excitement than I have ever danced before and had just about exhausted myself by the end of my 6 minute solo.

They were shouting and screaming for MORE! MORE! MORE! and I was thinking "I've HAD it!", but I gave them an encore... 4 minutes, which I had ready.  This encore is more of a 'fun' thing, than a serious display of belly dance.

I am still FLYING after this experience and then I get your email..... how HIGH can one fly?  Thankyou so much... you have given me a HUGE lift.   THANK YOU

--Shira  Wow, your experience at that convention sounds INCREDIBLE!  Many professional dancers go through an entire career without getting such intense response from an audience.

Which all goes to show there's more to performing than just running through a bunch of step combinations.  You clearly felt a level of connection and respect for your audience even before you began to dance.  They sensed it, which is why they responded to you the way they did. 

Other dancers go on stage with their brains in the mode of "Look at me!  I'm the star!  Admire me!"  I'm sure you had very different thoughts in your brain when you went on stage, and that's what triggered the audience response.

The next time you feel tired or discouraged, you can think back to your high of this week and it'll lift your spirits.  Isn't dance wonderful!



I am 46 this year and I would love to learn to bellydance.  I love the costumes, but am not a small person.... I take a size 24dd bra and have enough difficulty finding attractive bras to wear everyday, without attempting to find one suitable for bellydance.  I do sew my own clothes and have looked for a pattern in the commercial books, but they don't size them in large sizes.  Any suggestions would be great.

Zaïda: There is absolutely no need for you to wear the cabaret costume of bra and skirt.... a full length dress with lots of layers of swirling chiffon would look fantastic.

Can anyone in Cyber Space suggest a source of larger size patterns?



I too am a 47 year old breast cancer survivor and have been taking lessons for about six months now.

I know what she (Egyptian Cartouche) is talking about when your woman-hood is taken away.

I have been having so much fun and I feel graceful and sexy again.  I am performing with the troupe in one week, at our local Medieval Fair.



I am a 47-year-old woman who discovered the art of belly dance in June 2000.  I was "hooked" after my very first class and now take three classes a week!  As a fuller-figured, middle-age woman with wide hips, a large "jelly-belly" and a very ample backside, I have found this dance form to be enlightening, refreshing, and one of the most freeing activities I have ever tried.  When I'm dancing, I'm no longer just an older "fat" lady...I am a goddess, I am transformed, I am a divine desert diva!
There are enormous physical and emotional benefits that I have found through the dance.  Zaida, I am a breast cancer survivor and the dance has been restoring not only my physical strength, stamina and flexibility, but has helped restore my own sense of femininity and self-esteem, something the very nature of breast cancer tends to rob women of.  Who knows...I may be the ONLY breast cancer surviving belly dancer!!
And you know dance instructor, Morgiana, gave me the thrill of a lifetime in October 2000 when she asked me to join her performing dance troupe!  Now I'm an apprentice in Egyptian Cartouche, based in Tempe, Arizona, and I perform several times a month in local restaurants within the Phoenix metropolitan area!
Your website was one of the very first I found when I started dancing and I thank you for helping give me the courage to keep going and not let my self-imposed feelings about my body stop me.  Now I'm not just a woman...I am a dancer...I am an artist.

Great site! are any of the dancers single? : )   ...James

Zaïda: Anyone can dream....



I am a belly dancer who has not been dancing for a few years and wishes to get back into it.  I am looking for a "how to" video and was hoping that you could supply me with info on where to obtain it.  

Where I live in Washington there is nothing of the sort, as you can imagine.  I am finding all kinds of websites for bellydance performances but no instructional.

Zaïda: I suggest you go to my Links page and click on The Art of Middle Eastern Dance.  This is Shira's site and I am sure you will find instructional videos there...

I would recommend Yasmin Asar's video, (see my Dancing In Mackay page) but she only produces it in PAL, which won't play in the USA, unless you have a multi-format VCR.



I found your site from the link on Ankh's page; I too am a student of Isis, and recently had the honour of being named as one of the Star Dancers.

Although I am only 30, I just wanted to let you know that I found your site to be wonderful!!!

The advice that you give is so true to belly dancers of all ages.  I would like to comment on the Repartee question (I think from 1999) in which the husband questioned you on his wife's 'jelly belly'.  I have a 'jelly belly' also, and I recently decided not to show my belly when I dance.  This decision came because I felt I needed to concentrate more on the dance itself than on what people are thinking of me, and whether or not they are trying to count my stretch marks.

Zaïda: PLEASE! say 'hello' to Ankh for me, when next you see him.  I have found his support so valuable, particularly when I first set up my web page and he was so encouraging.  I was THRILLED!!

I am beginning to feel in agreement with your sentiments that you prefer not to display your belly - in order to let people concentrate on the dance and not the belly.  I think my next costume will be a good deal more discrete.



First, let me say how informative I have found your site to be.  I am a freelance writer and am interested in writing a piece on the health and exercise benefits of Oriental Dance for older people.

After reading the information you have offered here, I was wondering if you would be interested in being interviewed via e-mail for the new article, I am proposing?  I think that your input could greatly add to my piece.

Zaïda: I am very happy that you want to spread the word about the benefits of belly dancing, especially for older women.  I will help all I can.



I LOVE and appreciate your website!  I am 30 lbs overweight, 47 yr old, 5' at most. I don't like exercise because of my over-weightiness in the belly (from a C-section childbirth), and hips.  I love to dance, but have lost the rock 'n roll moves.  I decided to try belly dancing.  The name implies it would get right to the needed area.

There is no one in this area, to teach or show me, so I bought a bellydancing exercise tape, "The Goddess Workout", by Dolphina.  She shows the Camel, Snake and hip rotations, with a good warm-up and cool-down; but it is obvious to me (or so it looks), that she has never had children.  That's why I was uplifted and enjoyed you so much!  I fit right in!

Because of my C-Section, my lower belly is what I most need to workout.  What exercises, or routines of bellydance would most firm up this area? 

For your courage and determination I want to congratulate you.... although your figure, and energy level are all the congratulations you need I am sure!

Zaïda:  Welcome to the world of belly dance.  Firstly, I gave birth to a boy, then a girl, then had an hysterectomy at the age of 32.  I think this would be a very similar operation to a Caesarean, except there is no further risk of pregnancy.

I have VERY wide hips - childbearing hips - from my German, maternal forebears; but that is my skeleton, and no amount of slimming will diminish this.....

Bellydancing will control your weight and fine up your body, whilst you are enjoying yourself.  About weight-loss.... the body is like a car engine and needs fuel to run. Unfortunately, unlike a car engine, if you put in too much fuel, it will not just overflow and run out onto the ground, it will congeal into fat.

Ignore your early training about eating all the food on your plate.  The person who put the food on your plate has no idea how hungry you are.  When you feel you have had enough  STOP EATING.  Bin the rest....  Also, a Diuretic is helpful to rid your body of excess fluids....amazing how fat they can make you look.

Once your body tones up and you develop your muscles, you may find your weight does not drop below a certain point.... muscle is much heavier than fat.  If you look and feel good... IGNORE the scales.

Set yourself up with a 'routine' and do this EVERY day.  A warm-up, some belly dance moves and a cool-down.  As you learn more moves and your fitness increases, your routine will get longer and more energetic. You will soon find you cannot do without this heart-starter in the mornings, and will feel stiff and dull unless you do your 'routine' every day. Don't feel despondent if you cannot do a move you have seen, just keep trying and suddenly it will be there.



Hi! I am very interested in your page on belly dancing for older women, and I was wondering if you could email me some more information on this topic?

Zaïda:  I have put practically all I know about belly dancing on my website, but if you care to go to the Links page, the site 'The Art of Middle Eastern Dance' is very extensive and informative.  Also the Danish site, which you can access through the Aladdin's lamp on my Dancing page, is very good as Botticelli has put up little videos of the basic moves.

If you are in the U.K. you may like to look at my 'In Mackay page', at the very bottom is a Link to Yasmin Asar who teaches in London and she is a LOVELY person.  She came to Oz last year and has put out a beginners/intermediate video on PAL format. 
If you are an older woman who is a bit shy about joining a local class..... DON'T BE!
Belly dancers (the type of women who are attracted to this form of dance) are all lovely people and will be very welcoming and helpful.  If you are shy about your body,  take a look at