Shoppers found themselves shimmying when a group of bellydancers appeared outside Morley Market last weekend.
The flashmob bellydance performance was organised to raise money for Leeds General Infirmary’s Neonatal clinic.
Bellydance teacher and organiser, Helena Rix said: “One of my students works at the Neonatal clinic and one of my former students had her baby there. We collected money on the day to support them.”
The flashmob bellydance performance was organised to raise money for Leeds General Infirmary’s neonatal clinic.
Bellydance teacher and organiser Helena Rix said: “One of my students works at the neonatal clinic and one of my former students had her baby there. We collected money on the day to support them.”
It’s hard to imagine that the 35-year-old Churwell woman sitting at her desk, managing government websites, will transform that night into a bellydancer, wowing audiences across the UK.
But civil servant Helena said that it’s surprisingly easy to balance her office work with her entertainment career.
“The civil service is very supportive about me going out and performing,” said Helena, who works flexi-time.
The red-haired dancer said that her skills cross over because she has built her own bellydance website from her knowledge of building the government sites. Helena said that she thrives off being “really busy” as well as enjoying a mix of working behind a screen, with her customer-facing dancing.
Helena fell into bellydancing nine years ago after a friend took her to an Arabic dance class at Yorkshire Dance Centre.
“I had no idea what to expect and don’t think I knew anything about the dance except the dreadful colonialist stereotypes of harem girls dancing for the sultan! But when I discovered the real dance it was love at first shimmy.”
Her first teacher was Margaret Reddyhof who was in her seventies and has since passed away.
Helena said: “She moved so beautifully and had a great slim figure. She was a real character!”
Helena who graduated in Linguistics at York University and has since moved to Churwell Hill to live with her boyfriend, said that the dance has influenced every aspect of her life.
“I love alternative rock but now half my collection is Arabic and I love Egyptian and Lebanese classics. It is a shame we don’t hear more world music in this country, great music is great music no matter where it is from!”
She has even trained as a yoga teacher to help improve her posture.
She said: “Yoga helps with bellydance back bends.”
And whilst Helena has the bellydance bug she admitted that it would be difficult to make a full-time living out of it.
So for now Helena spends her days in the office and her evenings teaching and performing. She runs regular classes in Morley and Leeds as well as performing solo and with her Orientale dance troupe.
For further information, go to: helenabellydancer.com