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{September 15, 2008}   Geologist transforms into exotic dancer at night

Claire Novis, left, at work and right, as a belly-dancer

BY DAY she dons a pair of steel toe caps and a high-vis jacket.

But Claire Novis cuts a different figure at night. When darkness falls the senior geologist swaps her sensible work gear for sequins and tassels.

Because the 31-year-old, from Longbenton, Newcastle, is a belly-dancing teacher and has toured the globe to perform.

She said: “I first got into it when I was at Durham University in 1999, it was just a bit of fun but I fell in love with it and it’s taken over my life.”

Claire works as a senior geologist engineer at Arup, in Central Square Forth Street, Newcastle, and says her colleagues were taken aback when they first peered into the boot of her car. She said: “They see me wearing steel toe-caps and a hard hat so to see my sequined outfit and hip belts was a bit shocking for them.

“But I get the same response from people I dance with – they can’t believe what I wear at work, there’s quite a contrast.

“People think I’m nuts but I think they’re used to me now.”

Claire has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2004 and at the Hilton Hotel, Algiers, in Algeria, for their 2007 New Year celebrations, as well as in Egypt.

She has also performed on stage with the headliners of the Avalon Stage, the Baghdaddies, at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. And in the little spare time she has left, she teaches other Newcastle residents.

She said: “The youngest I’ve taught is 16 and the oldest is 75. They come from all walks of life.”

Now, Claire has launched her Egyptian-style dance business Claire Dances.

She added: “It’s more of a passion than a money-making venture.

“I just love getting other people into the dancing and watching them progress.”

Claire will be teaching in West Moor and Jesmond – to find out more visit www.clairedances.co.uk

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