YESTERDAY was supposedly Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year.

But at the Ark-T Centre in Cowley, Oxford, there were only happy faces as women danced away the blues.

It was the second class of a new weekly dance session held in the Crowell Road centre, celebrating the African culture and featuring traditional dances from Senegal, Ghana, the Congo, the Ivory Coast and East Africa.

Rachel Wajiha Butler, 39, a dance movement psychotherapist from East Oxford, set up the classes to help women feel good about their bodies.

She said: “I’m interested in getting women to feel empowered about their bodies in a very feminine way. The African dance form is a great way to do that as it’s very inclusive and joyous.”

Participant Sue Davis, 62, of Botley, said: “I haven’t done anything like this before. It was fantastic. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the class – the dancing was very vibrant. It was quite a nice way to start the week.”

The class runs every Monday morning at the Ark-T Centre from 10-11.30am at £10 per session, or £8 for concessions. For more information, or to book, contact Ms Butler on 07795 664679.