Meet Liz, a Town's First Lady Provost Who Is Now (Belly) Dancing for Joy. Teacher of Ancient Middle Eastern Art Makes History with Her New Role

Daily Mail (London), May 22, 2007 | Go to article overview

Meet Liz, a Town's First Lady Provost Who Is Now (Belly) Dancing for Joy. Teacher of Ancient Middle Eastern Art Makes History with Her New Role


Byline: MAUREEN CULLEY

SHE is already set to make history when she is officially installed as her town's first Lady Provost next week.

But the ceremony will also earn Liz MacDonald a unique place in the record books - as she is almost certainly the only belly dancer ever to become a Scottish civic leader.

The Nairn, Inverness-shire, SNP councillor will next week become the town's first woman provost in the title's 557-year history.

However, the 45-year-old mother-of-two is already well known in the area for spearheading a huge growth in interest in the ancient Middle Eastern art of belly dancing.

In her spare time, she swivels her hips for fun and fitness under the ' stage name' of Zahrah.

And the class she leads has attracted so many women from both Nairn and neighbouring Moray that it has now had to close to new students.

But Mrs MacDonald yesterday insisted it would not get in the way of her new job. She said: 'Belly dancing is my pastime and I will continue with it. As well as being a councillor and provost, you have to have a private life. But I will treat my civic role with respect - I am not going to start belly dancing halfway through a civic event.' Mrs MacDonald last year appeared in a belly dancing calendar to raise money for human rights organisation Amnesty International. And, two years ago, she was part of a group who danced their way into the Guinness Book of Records.

At a fundraising event for local disabled athletes, the 134- strong troupe became the largest ever to perform the same routine for five minutes.

Mrs MacDonald, who has been a member of Highland Council - of which Nairn is part - since 1999, said: 'I began dancing because I was invited along as a councillor to a local event and found I enjoyed the experience so much I continued on with it as a pastime. …

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