Think of belly dancing and what image comes to mind? To poetic Obiter, it is a scene of lissome ladies shimmering to exotic music while a handsome sheik, mesmerised, looks on. Outside, the desert wind whispers in the palm trees, plucks at the canvas of the tent and ripples the water of the oasis, in which a million stars are reflected. The tethered camels snort and shift restlessly in the cooling night air. That, at any rate, was howObiter used to imagine belly dancing – frequently – courtesy of the Arabian Nights and various Carry On films. But now, it seems, the dance is not just for ladies of the desert – it is also becoming popular back in Old Blighty, with quite a few women solicitors taking part. Obiter has gleaned this information from Link, the magazine of the Association of Women Solicitors. City solicitor Jayne, for instance, says she had ‘hit the glass ceiling’ at work and so turned to belly dancing as something she could enjoy as an alternative to the ‘seemingly unattainable goal of partnership’. Jayne is not alone. Law graduate Anita teaches belly dancing and is a member of a professional dance troupe, the Baby Bliss Girls (also featuring Melissa Pina, pictured). Aspiring solicitor Norsheen Bhatti, the Tory candidate for Stoke on Trent Central, also takes part, while Vanessa da Silva turned her back on a career in the law to become a successful international belly dancer. What’s the attraction? All these women lawyers agree that belly dancing combines femininity, fitness and freedom of artistic expression. But best of all, it is an opportunity to sparkle in diamante – before putting the suit back on for work the next day, of course.
- The Link article was co-authored by corporate solicitor Joanne Mortimer and professional belly dancer Johara Salma