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Belly Dancing Taught Me to Love My Curves


Sue Knighton, 54, from Geraldton, Australia, shares her true life story.

Music burst through the speakers as I wiggled my hips. “You’re doing great, ladies!” my instructor said. I couldn’t believe how exciting this was. Before that night, I had only ever seen belly dancing in movies. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d sign up to a class and shake my curves in public, but it seemed like a fun way to get fit.

At 240 pounds, I was the largest in the studio, but the other students were kind and welcoming. “Belly dancing’s for everyone,” one said. As I followed the instructor’s moves, something inside me clicked. Even though I felt awkward, the movements came naturally to me. I couldn’t stop grinning. Even my husband, Neville, noticed how happy I was afterwards. “Keep doing it if you enjoy it so much,” he encouraged. I started attending weekly classes and my confidence increased.

Sue Belly Dancing NTL

(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

I used to look in the mirror and criticize every inch of my body, But belly dancing helped me admire the way my hips moved. When I performed in the studio’s annual concert in a bright blue bra and matching skirt, I kept tugging my bra up, embarrassed by the abundance of skin on display, but once I started dancing, my nerves faded. Seven years later, my friend Karina and I decided to start our own belly dancing classes for kids.

Sue Belly Dancing Group NTL

(Photo Credit: Now to Love)

At first, I was nervous we wouldn’t get enough students, but we were overwhelmed with the number of people that signed up. Now, we teach everyone, from tiny tots to the energetic elderly. I’ve met so many people who were hesitant because they thought they were too old or large. “If I can do it, anyone can!” I tell them. Before long, they’re shaking their hips and loving it, just like I did all those years ago. I cringe when I think back to how cruel I was to myself, but now, I love the confident, energetic woman I’ve become — and that’s all thanks to my beautiful belly!

This article was written by Sue Knighton, as told to Take 5 editors. For more, check out our sister site, Now to Love.

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