Belly dancing is the secret to a healthy life, says 80-year-old teacher from Shropshire

The secret to a long, healthy and happy life is belly dancing, according an 80-year-old from south Shropshire.

Tina Hobin, aged 80, has been teaching belly dancing for 47 years, was a pioneer in spreading the influence of the dance and has written books on the subject
Tina Hobin, aged 80, has been teaching belly dancing for 47 years, was a pioneer in spreading the influence of the dance and has written books on the subject

Tina Hobin, who has been teaching 'the sacred dance' for around 47 years, is hoping to change perceptions about the dance form and prove that no one is too old to shake and shimmy.

Tina, from Cleobury Mortimer has been dancing for as long as she can remember and is passionate about belly dancing and its wealth of benefits for women of all ages.

Tina, who is 81 on September 2, said you're never too old to dance and wants to change the overly sexualised perception of the dance form.

Tina Hobin, 80, has been teaching belly dancing for 47 years, was a pioneer in spreading the influence of the dance and has written books on the subject

She is an author and dance teacher and has appeared on so many TV programmes, including Blue Peter and Ready, Steady, Cook, that she said she cannot recall them all.

According to Tina, belly dancing has a wealth of benefits for everyone including pregnant women, women with back problems and endometriosis, and can also improve your self esteem.

Tina said her love of belly dancing started when she was in Oxford and saw classes advertised in the newspaper. So she went with a friend and hasn't looked back since.

Master of the Sacred Dance, otherwise known as Belly Dancing: Tina Hobin aged 80

"I have always danced, at the age of two and a half I started ballet," Tina said. "After my first belly dancing class I was hooked and started practicing at home and told friends about it.

"One of my friends asked me to come and show her keep fit class how to do it, so I went along and there was 30 women there. Little did I know there was a journalist there who wrote an amazing article and that's how it all started."

Tina said she was one of the very few people who were teaching belly dancing at that time and has since appeared in national newspapers, radio programmes and TV shows to talk about the dance.

She said: "Many women just don't know what their pelvic floor is about, they don't know anything about the gluteus maximus muscles and how they need to be strong.

Tina Hobin aged 80

"It's vitally important that woman keep these muscles toned because they support your bladder, uterus and bowels, all of which are important in childbirth. If we have weak glutes we will have hip and knee problems later in life.

"Belly dancing is the oldest childbirth practice in the world. Egyptian women would do the movements and pass on the knowledge to their daughters. They had very few problems in pregnancies and childbirth compared to Western women.

Tina Hobin, 80, has been teaching belly dancing for 47 years, was a pioneer in spreading the influence of the dance and has written books on the subject

"I will be 81 on September 2 this year, people say they can't believe it. If you exercise during life in a gentle kind of way you can gain a lot from it. I am being arrogant here but people say I am brilliant."

Tina, who teaches classes in Cleobury Mortimer and does workshops for schools and organisations, prefers to call belly dancing 'the sacred dance of life' and wants to change people's perception of it.

Master of the Sacred Dance, otherwise known as Belly Dancing: Tina Hobin aged 80

"Belly dancing has the image of skimpy clothes and working in nightclubs," she said. "It has been overly sexualised by people and it then makes women think you need to get your belly out – you don't.

"I have had people in their 80s come to classes. One lady is 84 and used a walking frame when she first joined, then she got rid of that and started using a walking stick. Now she uses nothing. I believe it was my destiny to do this dance.

"When I was 34 I was attacked in London and it ruined my back. I went to the doctor and he said I had to stop dancing or I would end up in a wheelchair.

Master of the Sacred Dance, otherwise known as Belly Dancing: Tina Hobin aged 80

"I went home crying but my son said, mom, you know you won't stop dancing. And I carried on, went to a chiropractor and just persevered. I still have a few problems but I can keep dancing.

"Get moving if you want to live longer without any health problems. I have been dancing since I could stand. You are never too old."

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