C U Shimmy

C U ShimmyC U Shimmy is a very new and alternative concept. Dance therapy is already an established discipline but no one in Britain has used belly dance specifically in this way before. There are private organisations in England which use belly dance as a therapeutic tool and it is a well established idea in the USA but offering this opportunity free of charge to the groups of people who would benefit the most and who would perhaps have difficulty accessing such services normally is a new direction in mental health. The research that has been done has come back with the same answer time and time again?..YES!!! We want and need this service. 

C U Shimmy
aims to offer Middle-Eastern dance to girls/women aged 18-25 who have a variety of mental health difficulties. The aim is to focus on the healing aspects of the dance in terms of body image, self esteem and social confidence.

The rationale for this proposal comes from the proven link between physical health and mental health, as well as numerous personal testimonies from women who have found belly dance to be a positive and life-changing experience.

Belly-dancing has been found to be beneficial in many ways including improving overall fitness, reducing joint and muscular complaints and increasing confidence and positive body-image.

In relation to positive body image and self esteem, belly dance provides an environment where women of any shape, size or age can feel proud of their bodies and of being women. The dance is an ancient dance and its spiritual ties to fertility and childbirth present women with a rare opportunity to celebrate their unique abilities.

By offering an environment of healthy body image and exercise, the risk of young girls developing mental health problems, which can so often be related to low self esteem, will be significantly less. For those who may already be experiencing mental health difficulties the project offers healthy coping strategies and a great way to reduce stress, anxiety and low mood.

In raising girls' and young women?s self esteem, in particular with relation to their bodies, numerous benefits and healthier, happier women can be predicted for individuals, families and communities.

Pilot Project...

CONFIDANCE for Life launched their pilot project in October 2014, to gain quantative data with which to begin the process of applying for funding to take C U Shimmy to the wider community.

If you would like to know more, please contact us on confidanceforlife @


Facts and Figures...

As well as CONFIDANCE for Life's own studies into the need for this project we found a study by HBSC (Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children: WHO Collaborative Cross-National Survey). They released a briefing paper in 2003 entitled ?Mental well-being among schoolchildren in Scotland: age and gender patterns, trends and cross-national comparisons?. Some of the findings from this paper are discussed below:
  • When Scottish schoolchildren were asked if they were very happy just over 50% of girls aged 11 said they were. Only 32% of girls who were aged 15 said they were very happy.
  • When asked about their bodies, 34% of 11 year olds  felt they were too fat while over 50% of 15 year olds said they thought they were too fat.
  • In terms of always feeling confident 24% of 11 year olds reported that they were while only 11% of 15 year olds always felt confident.

These findings seem to highlight the fact that the overall happiness and confidence of girls begins to decline around the age of 13.

These statistics relate to the new project as it is to this decline that we aim to offer early intervention and ultimately prevention by offering girls/young women an environment of acceptance and healthy attitudes to appearance while increasing fitness levels.

We also did our own study with bellydance students in our local area to see if we were right in thinking that bellydance could improve confidence and body image. 81 completed questionnaires were received from women aged 16 to 70. Below are some of our findings:

Do You Feel Happier Has Your Self-Confidence improved

In addition to our own findings there is a growing body of evidence, including reports published by organisations such as the Mental Health Foundation, which show the beneficial effects of exercise therapy for mental health disorders due to the body's natural release of endorphins during excercise. Belly dance can be as gentle as Yoga or as vigorous as aerobics.

Belly dance also provides an "inward focus" that certain health professionals believe to be necessary and vital to mental health.


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Registered Charity Number SCO37515
Registered Company Number SC423465