Gilded Serpent presents...

A Gilded Serpent Time Capsule Presentation

Rakkasah 1984 and 1986 (25 years ago)

photos by Lynette

While taking a nostalgic look through my photo albums recently, I realized that if I was ever going to share these photos, I had better go ahead and scan them into the computer now before they deteriorate even more than they already have. Yes, they are discolored and blurred, but I think they will be of some value to those who pay attention to costume styles or those who were there and simply enjoy re-visiting the memories.

The Rakkasah Festival was held in the Scottish Rite Temple on Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, during these years. I was visiting from Bear Valley in 1984 and living in Oakland in 1986; where were you then? I was looking for a new mentor and Rakkasah was the place to be! My first mentor was in town for the 1986 fest. You can see her in #31- Yolanda Leaird.

Please help GS identify the faces in these photos. They have been numbered so that you can comment directly about each one. The smaller photos are from originals that were blurred or in poor condition.
If you would like another Gilded Serpent Time Capsule opened soon, please let The Snake know!

1. Bert and Amaya dancing to Paul‘s music


2. Michael Gruber on ney, Robaire on dumbek. Alan Ishmael on kanoun




4. Unknown father and daughter


5. Sweet blond — Atea?


6. Her name starts with an S….


7. Mimi and Lasandra or Casandra (?)


8. John Compton doing a bellyroll?
Armondo on tabla beledi, Sulimon on right


9. The bagpiper is Paul Dessau, Uncle Mafufo, John, Robaire, Michael Gruber, Sulimon on mizmar, Sean Folsom.



11. Meroe


12. Tamborine blond


13. Troupe Tangiers


14. Mystery troupe #1 Carol Fitzsimmons is #2 from l-r
“…looks like a troupe that was composed of some of Ilyana’s students”


15. Unknown candlabra troupe
Aziza! -“Mimi in the front (the other dancer’s name escapes me at the moment) in the temporary troupe of the Bay Area Teachers’ Guild, performing at the Flamingo in Santa Rosa as part of a Deb Showcase… The dancer behind Mimi in #15 is Namora. She won Belly Dancer of the Year one year by dancing in high Candy’s slides and doing hair whips with her long red ponytail, as well as something she called “the snap”. She was actually a skater, rather than a belly dancer. Nice girl.”


16. Sadira‘s Troupe, Robaire on right and Paul relaxing with a duff



Lake Merrit


18. Raks Al Mu’sad – also part of Troupe Tangiers



21. Asia

22. Aphrodite

23.Roxanna (r) and Shoshana (Susan) (l) from Sacramento

Marcia tries on a Costless belt

24. Marcia tries on a Costless coin belt

Feiruz and Harry Soroyan

25. Feiruz and Harry Soroyan

26. Kathy Ferguson dancing to Brother of the Baladi
Joseph Pusey on saz and Michael Beach on drums

Lobby Balconey

27. Unknown dancer looks over the balconey in the lobby

28. Marcia tries on a head piece

29. Pepper and friends by the Costless booth
Pauline is in the Algerian costume

30. Veils- Is this Aziza!‘s booth?
” yeah, that’s the end of my booth that belonged to Ginny”

Yoli and Dawn

31. Yolanda Leaird was part of Perfumes of Araby. Dawn is and old friend from Columbia, California, who has since passed away.
You can see pictures of Yoli from those days here.

Kayla, dtr and Medusa

32. Kayla, her daughter and Medusa (my snake)

33. Sabiba dances to the music of Vince and Mimi Spencer

unknown troupe

34. Unknown troupe

35. Vendors of head thingys


36. Beata Zadou (pre-Horacio)

Ma Shuqa

37. MaShuqa


38. Shamire of New Hampshire


39. Dancer needing a magic touch.



41. Cane Dancer–Lili – formerly of San Luis Obispo


42. Dhyanis

Pepper troupe

43. Pepper stands in back of her troupe
Pauline is in the Algerian costume

Sabah trouper

44. Member of Sabah‘s troupe


45. Another unknown troupe–is this the same troupe as above under 1984 as Mystery troupe #1?
Carol Fitzsimmons is #2 from l-r

Gypsy Caravan

46. Gypsy Caravan

Gypsy Caravan

47. Gypsy Caravan

Gypsy Caravan

48. Is this Sage?

Gypsy Caravan

49. Gypsy Caravan

Gypsy Caravan


Mish Mish

51. The other Mish Mish?

ugly pants!

52. Ugly pants!

Cave Woman

53. Cave Woman! – Kathleen Young?


54. Ganapatti
Joseph Pusey behind on ney?


55. Michael Beach performing behind Ganapatti



56. Rhea of Athens

57 and 58.Troupe Mandala of Shasta. This is Denise (of Pangia in Mt Shasta) on on the left with Zadora of Redding, CA, the gal in the blue in the background, who passed away in 1991or 2…. #58 is Ayesha of Medford, OR

Samira Snakewoman of Davis

59. Samira of Davis


60. Sausan


61. Shukriya


62. Hannan

63. Unknown dancer. Another crocheted skirt and head piece.

Silk road man

64. Silk Road man with sword –maybe


Silk Road

65. Sharlyn and Silk Road Dance Ensemble


66. Silk Road Dance Ensemble



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  1. Linda Roiz

    Nov 18, 2011 - 02:11:22

    I recognize the following:  #41 is Lili – formerly of San Luis Obispo, I think I recognize Carol Fitzsimmons in #14 and #45 (msytery troup). 

  2. Sherri Bloomer (Siham)

    Nov 18, 2011 - 05:11:26

    Hi Lynette – The Unknown Blonds in #23 are Roxanna and Shoshana (Susan) from Sacramento. They were the duo of the killer zills and I got to enjoy their dancing frequently as I lived in Reno at the time. ;~D  Sadly, Roxanna passed away this past July from cancer.  Susan is still around and doing great, I see her at Fatima’s events in Sacramento at least once a year. ;~D

  3. Sherri Bloomer (Siham)

    Nov 18, 2011 - 05:11:05

    Hi again – ;~D Shoshana (Susan) is on the left. ;~D  We just always called them “Roxanna and Shoshana” – but I just realized it doesn’t match their positioning in the pic.

  4. Evelyn Reece

    Nov 20, 2011 - 10:11:59

    I loved looking at the photos in your time capsule. The costuming was particularly enjoyable for me!

  5. Yolanda

    Nov 20, 2011 - 12:11:17

    Thanks for the lovely photographs.  There were some very nice poses and costumes.

  6. Michael Beach

    Nov 20, 2011 - 03:11:27

    What great great memories – great great times!  Seems like yesterday.
    That’s Joseph Pusey on Nai behind Ganapati in # 54 and me on drums in # 55.
    Thank you so much for the flashback.
    Looking forward to seeing some of you in the future.

  7. Baraka

    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:11:19

    #48 is definitely Sage.

  8. Baraka

    Nov 21, 2011 - 11:11:47

    Hey Siham!  Nice to know you are still around!

  9. Denise

    Nov 23, 2011 - 10:11:31

    Wow, what a flash from the past!
    Thanks so very much!!!!!!
    #51 Mish- Mish of Seattle
    #6 Looks like Sapphira from Taho w short hair?
    # 11 Meroe ‘WIMBS’…

  10. Denise

    Nov 23, 2011 - 10:11:53

    Correction: TAHOE
    Thanks again!

  11. Elizabeth

    Nov 23, 2011 - 06:11:03

    18  is Shiraza and Khamseen (Sharon and Karen) the redheaded belly dancing twins. 19 is Shiraza.

  12. TerriAnne Gutierrez

    Nov 26, 2011 - 01:11:02

    #47, Heather and Margret from Gypsy Caravan,
    #50, Heather, Margret and Sage from Gypsy Caravan…I’m back there some place, but not in the picture : )

  13. Terry

    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:11:27

    Woah!! what a blast from the past!! I was a baby dancer (jeez, some days I still feel like one)!  But I remember that event…Danced with Dream Dancers..I think I remember some troupe with an iguana on a leash? I remember seeing that in the parking lot coming or going…
    Baraka!!  Where have you been…think of you often..always ask Tahiya if she hears from you…hope you are well.  Lynette, thanks for the walk down memory lane.

  14. Sausan

    Dec 6, 2011 - 11:12:42

    Hey!!!  Thanks for including me.  WOW….was I a skinny mini back then!

  15. Paul Dessau

    Nov 22, 2013 - 08:11:43

    In picture 9 (and 10), the unknown bagpiper is Paul Dessau and Unknown is Sean Folsom. 

  16. Amoura Latif

    Mar 24, 2014 - 12:03:09

    in # 7 it is Mimi and Lasandra. I studied Bharata natyam with them in Berkeley in the 70’s. They were known in the OD community for creating a pharonic dance based on research they had done in Ancient Egyptian collection in London and perhaps in Luxor. Jamila Salimpour presented them in her workshop festival in the mid 70s. 

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