Belly dancing in Malaysia

Battling body shaming with Belly Dancing

A great workout for women of all shapes and sizes!

I’ve been quite vocal about positive body image. Even long before I started hitting the gym regularly, I’ve always been somewhat comfortable to dress up, get my hair and makeup done and attend fancy events. Then, I had an epiphany and started spending time at the gym and lost some unwanted weight. 

Although I hit the gym almost every day (mostly running and basic weight lifting), I still ahem, preserve some bootylicious curves here and there. I’m not as skinny as I was a couple of years ago but I actually feel good about my body. At this age, I think I still look great. 

It was when one guy commented about my body on Instagram that I felt the need to do something to stay positive. Besides, why should I bother losing too much weight and looking great for someone I don’t even know. I’d rather focus my energy and time at the gym to look hot for more Insta-worthy photos, haha! Have you seen my Instagram? Yes, I’m a narcissist! 

Paris at belly dancing class
Look at me and my bad (hips) side! LOL!

So. when the gyms were allowed to reopen, so did the dance studios. I finally decided to join a belly dancing class. I’ve always found belly dancers fascinating with their graceful movements alternating with the sharp precision when popping their body parts. 

I never knew where to sign up for a belly dancing class until I met Nanccy Bakhshy, an Iranian belly dance instructor who founded her own studio, the Middle East Dance Academy (MEDA).  She and her two daughters, Mandana and Nilu have been teaching belly dancing and performing at some Middle Eastern restaurants around the Klang Valley area. 

Belly dancing
I can’t wait to have this tummy!

If you think, I signed up immediately, errr, no! You know, Malaysians and procrastication, haha! I thought my body was not sexy enough to learn the belly dance. I’ve been telling friends that I would eventually sign up for class and learn. I even told Michi (we’ll talk about Michi later) that the next time he comes to visit, I’d be going to classes. Well, I thought, I was going to learn belly dance and ruin my partner’s bachelor party by making a surprise entrance. Okay, we know that didn’t happen, haha!

When MEDA finally reopened classes for beginners, I immediately signed up. I felt that I should do all the things that could bring happiness into my somewhat mundane life. The first step to belly dancing class is easy, admit that I was a ‘kayu’ (a stick, but in this context, that I couldn’t move any part of my body gracefully). 

Belly dancing teacher
Mandana Bakhshy teaches belly dancing for beginners too!

Trust me, learning the basic techniques in belly dancing is not as easy as you may think. Those belly dancers you’ve seen on Youtube have been dancing for years before they can start performing in public. Even my teacher, Mandana said that she has been belly dancing since she was 13 and even she feels that she is the weaker one between the two Bakhshy Sisters. So, I’ve got to triple my effort (because I’m ahemmm, 30-ish) just to avoid humiliating myself, haha!

But after a few classes and meeting some of the nicest fellow beginners, the class has become so much more enjoyable. I find myself excited to come to class every Saturday and if anything, I feel so much sexier and more confident with my body. I even asked Mandana if she wants to let go some of her plus-sized belly dancing costumes, haha! Well, I should’ve told her, I’d like a small top and large bottom, as alas, I’ve not been blessed with big boobs, haha! I do have a fantastic ass thought! 

Belly dancing for all
Belly dancing is a great workout for women of all shapes and sizes.

Do you know why else ladies like me should consider going to belly dancing classes? Unlike other dance classes like ballet, or even traditional zapin and inang require you to be ahem, skinny, belly dancing is something that a woman of any size can enjoy. You can go on Youtube and see that some belly dancers are not even a size zero! And when they dance, they REALLY dance. They don’t care about the people around them. They just dance happily. 

You should too!

So, if you’re keen to learn belly dancing, feel free to reach out to the amazing Mandana Bakhshy via mobile: +6017 – 272 0719. 

Don’t forget to follow them on Social Media for updates!


Belly Dancing in Malaysia
MEDA also offers trial classes!
(Thank you, The Middle East Dance Academy)


Belly dancing in Malaysia
Oops, you can see me dancing there!
(Thank you, The Middle East Dance Academy)

And here’s a snippet from our beginners class! Enjoy! Or laugh, whichever works!

Read this article in Bahasa Melayu!

Our awesome beginners class at the Middle East Dance Academy!


Paris Ashiqin


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