Honouring Yvette Cowles

Photograph by Tracey Gibbs

Yvette Cowles was one of the most beloved members of our bellydance community. Diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32, she gave up a high powered job in publishing to concentrate on teaching and performing bellydance. Even after having had several re-occurrences of the disease, a double mastectomy and finally bone cancer, coupled with rheumatoid arthritis, she continued to dance – her amazing spirit and joy of life inspiring everyone who knew her.  She developed and toured her own one-woman show ‘Sequins On My Balcony’ for many years and was profiled on ‘The Big C and Me’ – a BBC documentary about living with cancer.

Yvette was passionate about the power of bellydance to help women affected by cancer and wrote this moving testimonial for us:

“After surgery for a double mastectomy I felt very angry with my body for letting me down and viewed it as ugly and disfigured. It’s easy to disassociate yourself from your body in those circumstances but bellydance helped me to reconnect with my body through the movements, which felt so good to do. This helped to restore my confidence and self esteem.”

In 2016 Charlotte Desorgher and Yvette discussed Company of Dreams’ plan to teach free bellydance classes in hospices and cancer units. Yvette thought it was a wonderful idea and was delighted to agree to heading up this aspect of the company’s work. Sadly, she passed away just before the work began and never saw the dream come to fruition.

However, the dream continues and, with the blessing of Yvette’s family, we have now set up a special fund to deliver free, weekly bellydance classes in hospices around the UK. The classes will be taught by teachers from the JWAAD Teachers Association (JTA) all of whom benefited from Yvette’s inspirational teaching.

Please support this beautiful and valuable work, bringing the joy of bellydance to women who are living with cancer. There will be a special section on our Global Giving crowdfunder (from 11 – 29 September) for those who want their donations to go specifically to Yvette’s fund, or you can donate direct from here.

Make a donation to the Yvette Cowles Memorial Fund

All donations will go direct towards our work giving free bellydance classes in hospices in memory of Yvette.