Belly Dancing: Fitness and Fits Of Giggles

I have to admit that the closest I come to exercise at the moment is lifting the pram in and out of the car and the toddler on and off the toilet. However, I am told that there are people who leave the house in the evening and that some of them even do exercise and – more importantly – have fun. One such place is Belly Dancing with Nina at Ninoushka Bellydance.

A group of women giggling, celebrating their bodies, gaining confidence and getting fit sounded like my kind of thing so I sent MGF-er Amanda out in the dark to find out more.

“I had been thinking about a dance/exercise class since not long after my eldest son was born in 2010. I have always disliked the gym no matter how many times ‘I gave it a go’ and couldn’t get the running mojo back.

I used to think my body was ‘ok’ prior to pregnancy but the baby belly just wouldn’t shift after my second in 2013. After two less-than-straight-forward pregnancies and difficult weeks post-birth, I felt I should think of my baby belly as my ‘battle scars’. However, 18months after my second child I woke up to the fact that I didn’t need or require ‘battle scars’; my happy healthy children were not a battle, they are beautiful and amazing. I didn’t need to settle for any reminders of the challenge to get them to that. I needed to find a way to excercise that I enjoyed and would commit to.

I love music and dancing although I’m not so good at the dancing.I looked Zumba but couldn’t find a class on the right day or the right time and I thought I just wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pace in all honesty. I searched and searched for something that sounded fun and found Nina’s belly dance class on Gin Fund. I plucked up the courage one Wednesday evening to try out one of Nina’s classes at Horn Park Sports Club, Eltham Road.

Even on the day I was making excuses not to go. I had been thinking about it for a while, people said ‘Really! You can’t move your hips, but enjoy’, I agreed but what did I have to lose? I walked in really nervous but I didn’t need to be, everyone made me feel so welcome especially Nina. It was so different to what I had imagined. I could actually do some of the moves on the first day!

I ached the next day in places I didn’t know could ache – all in a good way. Who would have thought that belly dancing would make you feel like you had had a workout. So much more than than the gym but either sand endorphin release.

Well now I’m addicted.

Belly dancing is for everyone, no matter what age, shape or size.

It’s made me embrace and love my post 2 babies body again, I’m not so shy about it, the wobble just adds to the shimmy. I love the way it can be gentle and sensual but also funky and fast (my favourite routines).

You wear whatever you are comfortable in and no belly on show – unless you really want it to be. Nina is amazing, fun, relaxed, patient and so enthusiastic. She makes you feel like any move is possible.

After 6 weeks I performed in the Sutcliffe Park Festival – I was so nervous especially as my husband hadn’t really seen much of the routine before. I loved it, got a massive adrenaline rush from it and wanted to do it again. I also got the biggest smiles and cheers from my hubby and gorgeous sons.

I belly dance in the kitchen, the garden whenever it takes me. My technique is improving and, although I’m not excellent, it makes me feel good about myself. I feel more toned and see a difference when I look in the mirror, all without actually feeling like I’m exercising.

It’s fun and it’s exercise, do the two go together?? Well they do in Nina’s class. I have also met a bunch of amazing ladies and we have a good laugh together – it’s not all serious.

Laughter and exercise – great medicine.

Come and join us one week, it’s informal, fun and exercise. What more could you ask for?! There is no commitment to perform, some do, some just come to class for the exercise benefits.

You don’t need to commit for a block of classes, you can just drop in when when it’s convenient (if you do there is a block discount).

I look forward to a Wednesday evening and sure you will too.”

Nina runs her belly dancing classes at Horn Park Sports Club (Old Colfeians Rugby Club) on Eltham road on Wednesdays 7.30-8.30pm. The cost is £8 per class with new classes starting at the end of June. Her ladies will be performing at the Manor House Gardens Festival on June 24th so check them out for inspiration.

For more details contact Nina on 07834 195452 / [email protected]

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