Swivelling their hips to stay healthy

Dance teacher Woi Yok Yin (front, middle) leading her students, who were mostly housewives during her belly dancing class at her studio in Kulaijaya, Johor on March 3, 2015.

KULAIJAYA: Their hips certainly don’t lie as this group of mothers thrust, shake and swivel to the beat of Middle-Eastern music.

Belly dancing often conjures up images of seductive, scantily clad women but for this group of middle-aged women it is more about health and confidence.

According to dance teacher Woi Yok Yin, 50, there is much more to this art form than enticement.

“Belly dancing not only instils self-confidence but it also promotes blood circulation and improves a person’s well being from inside out,” she said.

Woi, a mother of four, said many women, especially housewives, cringe at the idea of shake their torso and move their hips as there was a common misconception that belly dancing was all about wearing revealing clothes and luring men.

“When I was introduced to it about eight years ago, my students, mostly housewives, were sceptical because they lacked the knowledge about the art,” she said at her studio in Taman Siantan, Indahpura.

However, she managed to convince them to take up the sport by telling them about its health benefits and saw positive changes in her students who range between three to 80 years old, who had gained self-confidence and become healthier.

“Belly dancing encourages movements from the head to toe especially the torso, which is vital for women who had given birth because it helps strengthen our cervix and other internal organs,” she said.

Woi, who recently led 30 of her students to perform at Johor Baru’s Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, said her group was not shy to perform in front of the public and she hoped that more women would take up belly dancing.

“This is a good way to exercise and keep fit so that we can take care of our families better,” she added.

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