The Gilded Serpent

1950 - 2000

by Anisa Beverly

Katrina first graced the belly dance stages of Denver in 1977. She was a professional model and aspiring actress. Katrina was considered by many to be the most beautiful belly dancer in Colorado. And though all the men at the clubs, both Mideastern and American, wanted to go out with her, she could decline their offers with humorous remarks… "I can’t go out with you," she told one guy, "your socks don’t match."

Once, however, a customer actually grabbed her breasts while she was getting tips and rather than get mad at the moment, she finished her show, changed, went to his table and punched him in the stomach.

She performed at all the clubs in Denver before moving to Los Angeles where we literally bumped into each other in the dressing room of an Arabic club, as we had both moved to L.A. the same time, unbeknownst to the other.

Katrina was going to support herself dancing while auditioning for modeling and acting jobs, all the while taking acting classes. She also had a boyfriend who was an aspiring rock guitarist, so they were excited about their futures.

I moved back to Denver and figured Katrina was going to stay in California and make it to stardom somehow. But she was back in Denver within a year and had been injured while walking down the street in Los Angeles in a driveby shooting. Someone shot her with a paint gun and hit her eye, damaging it permanently, making her legally blind in one eye.

She later married and had a daughter and was very content with motherhood. But tragedy struck again in the coming years with the diagnosis of two cancers, one of which caused damage to her voice, resulting in a rasp which the doctors said might be permanent.

Her marriage, due to many problems, ended and Katrina and her daughter, Ginger, moved to Spain for two years before settling back in Boulder. Eva Cernik, Naila and I ran into Katrina last year at a flamenco show and found out she was studying flamenco dance while working as a representative for Celestial Seasonings Tea in Boulder.

She became engaged over Valentine’s Day to an old flame she had dated twenty five years ago. Her life seemed to be getting back on track. But over Memorial Weekend, Katrina and her 12-year-old daughter were killed when their plane, piloted by her fiance’, crashed in the mountains of Western Colorado.

We will remember her beauty and humor as well as her ability to overcome the many tragedies she suffered.

I took this photo of Katrina dancing on New Year’s Eve, 1984, in a Denver Arabic restaurant/nightclub called "The Cairo Palace."

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Gilded Serpent

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