Intro: Tenille Lindeque of Tokai, a gorgeous goddess with a spirited sense of adventure, is doing what women secretly long to do….
Copy: A few years ago, if you’d peeked into Tenille’s living room you would have seen a few women with scarves wrapped gypsy- style around their hips undulating their hips. After she appeared on Top Billing, they began arriving in droves: up to a hundred women flocked to learn the secrets of this subtle, sensual dance. Tenille built a studio to accommodate them and founded the Feminine Divine Oriental Dance studio. But some neighbours resented the tinkling of ankle bells along Tokai’s suburban streets. After many months of wrangling Tenille was served notice for contravening the land act and forced to close her studio, which now stands empty, the wooden floors no longer reverberating with the sound of women’s merrily stomping feet.
The story has a happy ending. Drawing on the proud gypsy tradition of bellydance, Tenille refused to be beaten. She simply moved camp, found other premises to teach from and today has over 350 students and is a respected figurehead for the belly dance movement in Cape Town.
It’s difficult to imagine that the poised 27- year- old wears a sequinned bra in front of large audiences was once a self-conscious adolescent at odds with her body. “As a teenager I wanted to be waifish and lived on a diet of apples.”When she discovered bellydancing it taught her appreciate her voluptuous figure. Now, like most women, she has “moments of loving my body and moments of being frustrated.”
She keeps trim by working out at curves. “I’ve seen results within a month and started feeling good about my body.” But her real secret is a corset. “I discovered a whole new world when I bought a corset.” Tenille and I examine the garment like two naughty schoolgirls. She says, “ I wasn’t that impressed when I first tried it on in the shop but then the owner asked do ii wanted to ‘go all the way’. ‘Off-course’, I replied. She told me to hang on tight, pulled the strings together and my waist disappeared. It makes your figure look incredible. I felt like a sexy princess. I wore it to a party on Saturday and could tell that people were looking.”
Bellydancing has helped Tenille deal with jealousy, admittedly her Achilles heel. “I hate it when people say their worst traits are really good things like generosity or kindness. Mine is definitely jealousy. I used to think that every time my partner looked at another woman he was planning to run off and leave me. The longer I bellydance the more I am able to acknowledge my own beauty.”
There’s a perception that belly dancing is vulgar, but Tenille promises that it’s sensual, but not overtly sexual. “People who are not in touch with their own sexuality will be uncomfortable watching others enjoy their sensuality. But anyone who is opposed to bellydancing must come and see a performance before they judge. It will change their perceptions.”
“I know women sometimes feel threatened by me when I dance. Really, it’s because I’m doing something they’d secretly love to do. I see myself more as an Aphrodite type. I’m not a femme fatale -I’m too nice.”
However, since she saw strip-tease artist Dita von Teese in a magazine Tenille has been toying with a more risqué side. “I saw a pole-dancing demonstration and really admired the woman’s skill. When I took my first lesson, I was devastated by how difficult it was. The teacher swings around the pole for one minute. When I tried I was on the floor after a second,” she laughs
She was given a pole as a birthday present. “I haven’t used it. It’s no fun without an audience and I’m not ready to go public. The only person I’ve performed for is my mum. I haven’t even performed for Trygve.”
Trygyve, Tenille’s partner of 8 years, loves having a goddess by his side. The two enjoy a great partnership. Tenille says, “He’s in touch with his feminine side. I’m his muse and he’d better not forget it.” Trygve is a photographer and their house is adorned with photographs of Tenille.
The couple have just returned from an eight-week adventure through Africa on a motorbike, inspired by the DVD series “The Long Way Round.” Trygve bought a black and silver BMW GS 1200, which they christened silver cloud. Tenille says, “I really had no idea what I was in for. The night before we left, we sat in front of the fire with a glass of red wine and a map. We had no route planned. I wanted to swim with dolphins in Mozambique. He wanted to photograph the Masai in Tanzania.”
They covered 10 000 miles in 50 days; 900 km in one gruelling day. The average temperature was 36 degrees – scorching hot in biking gear
Tenillle recalls, “I didn’t realise how vulnerable we’d be and for the first few day I felt really scared. Growing up in South Africa make us fearful. We were dependent on people but they were always helpful.”
But even hurtling across Africa, Tenille didn’t neglect her female charms. “I wore make-up every day to remind myself that I’m a goddess not a biker chick.”
Tenille is pleased with what she has accomplished. She says, “I’d like feminine Divine to go national. I’d like the studio to keep growing because I believe that what I do is valuable – it change women’s lives. Right now, there’s a burlesque artist inside of me encouraging me to explore the art of the tease.
“It a bit scary”. She says. But I’m sure I can see a peacock feather in her aura.
Little black book
To get the bellydance look Tenille buys jewellery from With Attitude in Steenberg shopping centre 021 701 5858 and gets henna tattoos from Miriam at Yooti nail art boutique in the waterfront 083 496 8372. To feel really glam she wears false eyelashes and vamp red lipstick from Mac in Cavendish 021 674 1350.
Her best gift ever was voucher from her students for her and Trygve to spend a day at the Twelve Apostle’s Sanctuary Spa 0861 771772
To pamper herself she has a hot stone massage from Fatima at Oasis salon Plumstead 021 761 7230
on the weekends She enjoys live music at Fogeys Railway House restaurant in Muizenberg Station 021 788 3252
Keeps toned at Curves in Tokai 021 702 4924
Her sexy secret is a corset from wolf clothing in Observatory 084 333 1965
Tenille regular treats herself by having her hair washed at Synergy hair in Bergvliet 021 713 1339. When she’s rich she plans to have it done every second day.
Her fantasy is to spend a night with Dita von Teese and erotic writer Anais Nin, dining at Cape to Cuba 021 788 1566 followed by dancing at the Polana 021 788 7162
Every witchy woman needs a feline familiar and Tenille’s Tonkanese cat, Saskia, is the one thing she couldn’t imagine being without. Saskia is taken care of by holistic vet Malaika at Wuff and Co pet parlor in Steenberg 021- 701 4567
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