Belly dancing over the age of 40, 50 and beyond

June 17, 2019

The most difficult lesson for us ladies to learn – is how to overcome our upbringing.


Remember these rules which were drilled into their minds from infancy:

  • Do not wiggle your hips

  • Do not flaunt your bosom’ (once you started to develop);

  • Don’t show off

  • Don’t draw attention to yourself

  • Sit with your knees closed

  • If you act like a lady, you will be treated like a lady.



To ENJOY belly dancing, you must unlearn all of the above – except the last one. That one still holds true in any situation. Always act like a lady; this makes men feel like gentlemen, and they like that - they feel 'special'.


You will find that, as you progress into the intricacies of the dance, you will understand that you are not flaunting your body, you are expressing your inner self. The self you have always been instructed to suppress. You will find a newborn sense of ‘me’. You will be thrilled to experience your femininity. You will learn to "FLY" and release your soul. You will learn to be WOMAN.


Many mature women, when first experiencing belly dancing, find that they cannot make large movements. Their torsos are rigid and unyielding and they cannot raise their eyes to look at anyone else in the class. This is completely normal. 


You have to try to allow yourself six months' trial, before deciding that belly dancing is not for you. You will never look back. Your friends will see a new person. Your husband will discover he has a new and exciting wife. You will feel much more calm and ‘laid back’ and let minor hassles just wash over you. My own life is a testament to this. One of the best days of my life was when I decided to go to belly dancing for the next session.


Once you are more relaxed with yourself and can accept that your body movements are an expression of the music; you will find a whole new world, which you did not know existed. Think of yourself as the music. Think of yourself as a musical note dancing to the tune. Think of yourself as anything other than an ‘older woman’. You could have at least 30 years of dancing ahead of you. Enjoy yourself.


Discarding your inhibitions will improve the intimate areas of your life. Older women, having matured prior to the release of the contraceptive pill, grew up knowing that the only reliable form of contraception was the word ‘NO’. When you mature with a specific mind-set, that will remain with you all your life, unless you deliberately work at changing your attitude. Belly dancing will free your mind as well as your body.


Women who come from a domestic or other violence situation, or a relationship breakdown are extremely 'up-tight' and find they cannot move their bodies.  Many women have difficulty in mastering some of the moves but once they loosen up their minds, their bodies relax and they find the moves become easy.  Once they overcome this major hurdle, they are well on their way to becoming dancers.  I kept urging one dancer to 'lift your head' as she would dance with her head bowed down and her body in a sort of crouch.  She eventually said, "Cop This Lot!" and danced with a proud lift to her chin and a smile on her face.  She had made her break-through.


Do not try to get into other people’s heads (especially your adult children) and worry about what they are thinking. They have to live their own lives. You have to live yours. You have no need to worry, or care, about what people think about your dancing. The nice people will be happy for you, when they see how much you are enjoying yourself. The others don’t exist.




This is your play time. You have earned this time for yourself. 


Many women are treating belly dance as a form of gentle exercise; the graceful hip drops, rolls and pivots activate all the muscle groups in the torso, the spine, the neck - following the body's natural inclinations and not forcing it into un-natural movements. The spine does not hold your body together, the muscles and ligaments hold the spine together - hence, the stronger those muscles and ligaments, the stronger your spine.  The stronger and more flexible your spine, the less chance of injury or chronic pain.


Moving the hips, lower back and all other joints, gently though a full range of movements increases the flow of synovial fluid (nature's lubricant).  When the Basic Stance - knees slightly bent, pelvis tilted to tuck in your 'bottom' - becomes second nature, you will find you cannot return to your old slouch.... back problems will disappear.  Your muscles, not your bones,  should support your weight.


All these movements will reduce the effects of stress.  Stress causes contractions/spasms in muscles, such as the neck, shoulders and back – if you hear ‘noises’ when you move your head, this is an indication that your shoulders are tense.  Muscle contraction decreases the flow of blood to these muscles and increases the build-up of lactic acid.  Lactic acid build-up causes soreness in muscles.


Feel you have 'big feet'?   The length of your foot is equal to the length of your arm between wrist and elbow.  Small feet means short if you delight in willowy arm movements...value your big feet.

You can enjoy belly dancing without any pressure or compulsion to become a 'professional' dancer.  'Belly' dancing is a corruption of the word Baladi, pronounced Beh Leh Dee, which means 'of the people'. . . . . . Country Dancing.


Audiences are not interested in whether your technique is 'perfect', their enjoyment comes from watching dancers who are obviously enjoying themselves - if the dancers are seriously concentrating on doing it 'right' and watching each other to make sure they are 'in time', then there will be no sense of JOY.  Dancers who are having FUN will energise the audience who will want to share in the fun.


Belly dancing is for ordinary people.  Belly dancing is for YOU.   ENJOY!



"We need to redefine age.  Anything up to 60 is young.  

60 to 80 is middle age and over 90 is elderly".

Ita Buttrose.

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