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Woman Decides To Boost Her Confidence As She Approaches 70 By Taking Up Belly Dancing

Woman Decides To Boost Her Confidence As She Approaches 70 By Taking Up Belly Dancing
PA Real Life/Collect

A former kissogram claims she has boosted her sex appeal in the countdown to turning 70 by becoming a belly dancer.

Refusing to let age be a barrier to having fun, while Gemini Reynolds, 68, started ballroom dancing in the 1990s as a way to meet new people and keep fit after her divorce, she was soon keen to learn something racier.

She also tried raunchy burlesque, but the sensual movements and exotic costumes required to belly dance really appealed to her.

Gemini, who is originally from Esher, Surrey, but moved to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus after retiring early 27 years ago, said:

“I'm like a fine red wine, I improve with age."
“Belly dancing keeps me feeling sexy. I've always felt like a sexy woman and it's important as you get older to keep feeling good about yourself. Dancing helps with that."
“It gets your body moving. I wouldn't want to be sat there getting old, knitting or watching television. I'd much rather be out in the sunshine dancing."

Gemini (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued:

“Everyone looks beautiful on the dance floor and I still feel about 40 years old inside."
“I look in the mirror and find it hard seeing an older person looking back at me, but dancing makes me feel young. I'd feel very different without it."

Glitz, glamour and sex appeal have always loomed large in divorcee Gemini's life.

Gemini in her belly dancing outfit (PA Real Life/Collect)

Married for 15 years to Beau Reynolds, a former Chairman of Wimbledon Football Club, in her late 20s she was one of the first “kissograms" in the UK, saying:

“I was inspired by seeing one in action during a trip to New York."
“Back then it was fun, not seedy. I didn't do it topless. It was more 'naughty and nice,' delivering messages or rhymes to people, then smothering them in kisses."

Living in London during the 1970s and 1980s, because of her husband's position, she mixed with the rich and famous—rubbing shoulders with people like Manchester United football legend George Best.

Gemini in her belly dancing outfit (PA Real Life/Collect)

She said:

“I had a really good social life in London. They were really good times with lots of laughter, fun and dancing."
“I even met Elton John a couple of times—once at London's Dorchester Hotel at a charity event. He was lovely. One of my karaoke pieces now is his song, 'Don't Go Breaking my Heart'."
“Dancing is really something I've been interested in all my life. I love ballroom, rock, modern and jive."
“I used to take ballroom lessons and tap classes, but my showpiece was the Charleston, which I still do at parties. I also love the Cha-Cha."
“When I dance it makes me feel young and alive."

Dance also provided Gemini with a way to make friends after she and Beau split up.

She said:

“After being with someone for so long, I found living alone and coming home to an empty house and an empty life hard."
“I moved to Cyprus when I was in my 40s. I loved the sunshine and I wanted to try living in a different country, where I could change my life totally."

Then, 12 years ago, in her late 50s, she decided to have a stab at belly dancing.

Gemini dancing (PA Real Life/Collect)

Taking to it like a duck to water, she now goes to classes at dance studios twice a week.

“Belly dancing has always seemed like flirtatious fun to me. I was worried that, even 12 years ago I was too old, but I just loved it."
“The teacher said to bring along a scarf with jewels on it. So, I'd wrap it around myself and use it when dancing."

She continued:

“I took part in a little show the teacher was putting on a few weeks after joining the class and my love of belly dancing has carried on ever since."

Gemini has even traveled to the Middle East to see belly dancers perform professionally.

She said:

“Over the years, I've spent long weekends in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan, watching professional belly dancers at work."

Gemini at home in Cyprus (PA Real Life/Collect)

Gemini said:

“The outfits are gorgeous, I love the colours and the jewels. I love the music, the movement—especially the shimmying—it's so sexy."
“Some of the moves like the hair tossing, swinging my hair back, I can't do because it hurts my neck. The back bends are tough, too—they're more suited to the younger dancers!"
“But I love doing all the turns and don't even get dizzy."

Gemini (PA Real Life/Collect)

“I remember watching a belly dancer perform in a Lebanese hotel and thinking her moves were amazing. She really inspired me."
“All the shimmying and shaking is incredible to watch. But it's not easy to learn. I feel quite self-conscious of my belly!"
“Belly dancing really improves my balance and helps keep my joints supple, too. I'd definitely recommend it to other older people as a form of exercise."

But Gemini admits that her brief foray into the world of burlesque dancing was less successful.

She recalled:

“The girls in the group were a lot younger than me, but because I'd learned belly dancing before, I managed to keep up."
“They wanted me to drag a chair across the room and put my leg over it. Even carrying the chair at my age was a big deal. I thought I would never get it across the floor, let alone get my leg over. But I did it!"

Gemini (PA Real Life/Collect)

“I was given a feather boa to flutter about, too, which was great fun."

While dancing has widened her social circle, sadly, Gemini says it is yet to help her meet the man of her dreams.

“I've made quite a few friends of both sexes."

Gemini (PA Real Life/Collect)

“I'm single at the moment, but would like to meet someone, although they would have to love dancing as much as me."
“With ballroom dancing or the jive especially, you have to be coupled up. There are not many single people, but you do switch partners, so you meet new people."

Always on the look out to expand her repertoire, Gemini also tries to learn the national dance when she goes on holiday.

“I learned Greek dancing. I don't like to feel like I'm dancing like a tourist, so I had proper lessons and I really enjoyed it."
“I'm looking forward to doing the can-can on my 70th birthday, too. I'll be having a big party and want to get everybody dancing."
“I love dancing so much, I even do it in the kitchen, waiting for my toast to pop up."

Gemini in her belly dancing outfit (PA Real Life/Collect)

She added:

“I'd recommend dance classes to anyone, as a way to make friends, stay sexy, leave your worries behind and be yourself."

Helen Stirrup, occupational advisor for stairlift company Stannah, is also keen to promote the benefits of dancing in later life.

She said:

“You are never too old to dance—it's universal."

Helen continued:

“If you've always fancied yourself as a Fred Astaire or Ginger Rodgers, why not give it a whirl? Start small if your mobility isn't what it used to be."
“Dancing uses lots of different body parts, helping you keep mobile, maintain your agility and strengthen bones. It's one of the best forms of exercise to help with balance, which in turn could reduce falls and improve coordination."
"Remembering steps, and counting the beats when dancing is a proven way to keep the mind sharp too."
“Joining a dance class can also be a perfect opportunity to make friends, bringing people together and strengthening relationships, whether new or old."