Seniors try bellydancing for fun and to improve health

A new experience that is challenging and exciting

Photo by Lina Chung
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Reported by Lina Chung

Seniors say belly dancing might just be the answer in achieving better mental and physical health.

Kerrisdale Community Centre offers belly dancing classes for seniors 55 years of age and above. Seven women currently attend the class taught by instructor Rahma Haddad.

Seniors who attend the class wear colourful scarves around their hips as part of their dance attire. The scarves move with the students’ as the class dances to Middle Eastern music.

Sophie Crow, a student said, “I just wanted to give it a go. It looks like fun but it’s work. I wasn’t sore after the second class.”

Fun but in moderation

According to Trevor O’Malley, a physiotherapist at South Vancouver Physiotherapy Clinic, seniors belly dancing is not an issue as long as the activity is done in moderation.

“As long as it’s taken in a gradual manner [and] you listen to your body,” O’Malley said.

Haddad, the instructor, has been belly dancing for 45 years. She explained, “Some come for the exercise to keep their bodies limber and it’s a nice way to do it if you like [Middle Eastern] music. I also think maybe there’s a bit of fantasy attached to belly dancing. There’s a gracefulness and sensuality to it and they want to tap into that part of their being which gets kind of beaten out of us over the years.”

Trying something new

Crow encourages other seniors to experience something different. “Get out and try something new. Go at your own pace and don’t push yourself because we’re getting older and things don’t work as well as they used to. But, definitely challenge yourself to a certain degree.”

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