CWPWRDD DILLAD: Click here to see bigger pictures
Ann has been belly dancing for a few years and teaches several classes a week as well as organizing performances to raise money for charity. She travels as far afield as Cairo for fabrics and decorations so that she can create outfits for herself and her dancers, The Divas.
"By day I’m a hairdresser but by night I’m a belly dancer! To be a belly dancer you need the three ‘B’s’ – boobs, bum and bottle!"
How did you start to belly dance?
I wanted to keep fit, but I was at a tricky age! I went to one or two keep fit classes but after I saw all those men in Lycra I didn’t want to do it anymore! Then I heard about belly dancing, and since I like to dance I went along and loved it. After you start it’s very addictive. The minute you start to dress up in all that sparkle, it’s great!
What do you wear to dance?
To start off with, you wear a skirt and then a hip scarf which you have to jiggle so that it makes some noise. You then wear a skirt and a sparkly bra! When you dance you have to wear a solid bra because when you raise your arms everything moves! So it has to fit perfectly. Then you get to wear matching shoes – that’s really exciting because all the colours are fabulous!
Do you feel sexy when you dance?
Yes, it feels brilliant. It’s fab!
Why have you got a big pair of knickers with the Welsh flag on them?
We did a show recently and I was all dressed up in my costume, but for a little fun we all tucked our skirts into the back of our knickers so that when we turned round the Welsh dragon was on our bum! When I’m on that stage I don’t care what people think, I’m there to have fun!
What was your husband’s reaction when you told him that you were a belly dancer?
I didn’t tell him in the beginning. I would go to classes in Cardiff and come back wearing a long coat. He would ask me where I’d been and I would just tell him that I’d been to keep fit. This went on for about six months, and then I came home one night and he told me that I looked ridiculous if I was going to keep fit because he knew what I was wearing underneath my coat. So then I had to confess all and tell him where I’d been going. I was afraid to tell him in case he’d go mad!
Are you sentimental about your clothes and insist on keeping them?
I keep everything! I have an old pair of yellow Wellingtons that I’ve had for years. When my husband and I went to the Pontardawe festival last year I wore my belly dancing costume and my yellow Wellingtons. Everyone at the festival kept asking me where I had my wellies from, but they are so old – I just never throw anything away!
How does it feel when you’re on the stage in your amazing outfit, do you feel like a different person?
Oh yes, you just forget about everything else. When the music starts and you’re in your costume you can just let go. When you dance you forget who you are. Some women are very quiet but once they put their costumes on they become someone else. I love my belly dancing clothes, they give me such pleasure.
How would you feel if you lost all of your costumes?
Well, if I lost them all tomorrow I’d have to go to Cairo and buy some more!