The Gilded Serpent

DeAnn Adams
of Light Rain

DeAnn passed away on Dec. 8, 2000, early in the morning, after a long illness.There was a Memorial Service for DeAnn today, Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Healdsburg Federated Church in Healdsburg, CA, where she was born.

The Dream Dancer
-written in loving memory by Kajira Djoumahna,
with help from Doug Adams

"De Ann will long be remembered by those whose lives she touched. When she danced, magic happened; a divine light came down through her to us. One could believe that she was born to do this dance. One could believe that she had danced this dance in other lifetimes. One could believe that she will dance that way again - and forever." ~ Doug Adams.

Her reputation preceded her. I had heard such stellar reports about De Ann that I knew I had to seek her out to study with her early in my dance career, even before I had ever seen her dance. I did, and was forever affected by her remarkable spirit, her kindness while teaching and her quality of fearlessness that shone like a beacon for all to enjoy. De Ann taught as she lived and danced, passionately and from the heart.

It is with great sadness that I report the death of De Ann Bonham Adams, early in the morning of December 8, 2000. De Ann had a lifelong history of sleepwalking, which she apparently did that night as well. But this time she fell - and died from her injuye. Doug mentioned that this was not in the least uncommon for De Ann - as long as he knew her she had danced (sometimes as if she was flying!) in her dreams and sung, talked and walked - in her sleep.

Born in Healdsburg, California on January 5, 1949, she was always creative and spunky. Crowned Miss Sonoma County in 1968, De Ann's great beauty inside and out was beginning to get noticed even then.

As a dancer she was known for her powerful stage presence, masterful finger cymbal playing and unrivaled sword work. She studied long and hard with Jamila Salimpour in the early 1970s and became a featured soloist with the famous troupe, Bal Anat. From those roots, De Ann went on to found The Dream Dancers, in which her own choreographic genius was displayed. She inspired thousands of dancers through her teaching, where she shared her spirit and laughter as well as her dancing skills. This group was well known for their captivating shows throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and with
their work with the band, Light Rain.

Doug Adams, violinist and one of the composers for Light Rain, met De Ann shortly after moving to California from his native Texas. He "heard her before he saw her," he related at her memorial service in Healdsburg on December 16. He was visiting the Ghirardeli Square and Fisherman's Wharf areas of San Francisco in the summer of 1973 when he heard the distinctive sound of finger cymbals and drums. Almost from the day they met, they became fast friends and lifelong partners. As with all artists, and all marriages, their relationship was fraught with equally tremendous bliss and strife. Through it all, their love remained.

De Ann and Doug were filmed during this period while performing on the streets of San Francisco for the film, "Gameel Gamal," with Bert Balladine. It is unfortunate that she was not filmed more during her peak years. Doug's explanation for this loss is: "It was before video was so common. Film was very expensive and we were always broke, putting everything into the Light Rain recordings. But mainly, we were young and thought we could go on like that forever." Before her death, De Ann and Doug compiled and edited a wonderful video of their best clips they had available. This rare footage is now available in video form as "De Ann's Dream."

"De Ann"
by Hal Marcus. Copyright retained. Reprinted with permission from Magi Productions.

A whirlpool of finger cymbals clashing,the strong, wondrous body of youth quivering, amongst the ancient sounds of man is where you'll find this dancer of dreams.

This dance floats besides steeples, high above crescent moons where flying carpets exchange gifts in forms of movement so familiar to the Spanish mosques, through the Arabian desert to our home...... wherever it may be.

Although the history of her dance sleeps mysteriously in a tomb, her beauty transcends regions, and yesterday balances so perfectly upon eternity....... like a sword.

The new path of dance is being carved by the sculptress whose magic leads us to realize that the motion of the universe is but a glimmer in the eye of a lady, lost in the flashing colors of love.

De Ann and Doug began composing music, and at De Ann's urging they recorded what would be the first of four albums. But Oriental dancers, poets and musicians were not the only people inspired by De Ann. Soon after the Light Rain album "Dream Dancer" was released in 1978, they were contacted by the Joffrey Ballet of San Francisco. They had heard the song, "Sword Dance." A meeting was arranged with De Ann, Doug and the Ballet's main choreographer, Gerald Arpino. Before Mr. Arpino began work on the ballet, also titled "Light Rain,"De Ann performed for him at a studio in San Francisco. One can clearly see her influence in the hip and arm movements that Mr. Arpino chose for his ballet choreography, should you have a chance to see it. In turn, at that studio session, he gave her some pointers on choreography such as the use of diagonals and lots of floor space. This came through in her work with The Dream Dancers.

Even after The Dream Dancers disbanded, Light Rain continued to play and record with De Ann on zills and keyboard. Offering their services at various festivals and student nights held at the Grapeleaf Restaurant (now the Al Masri) in San Francisco, this band became many dancers' first experience with live music. Always attentive and supportive for beginners and rewarding for professionals, De Ann and Light Rain was a delight to work with live or from one of their four recordings, all of which feature De Ann's incredible zillwork.

She will be remembered whenever I play or hear finger cymbals or place a sword on my head. De Ann will live on within the countless dancers and musicians she has inspired, and in the love, light and laughter of the angels.

The following is from the Memorial Service Program:The title of this song came to De Ann in a dream. She spoke it to Doug in her sleep. The verses and music came to Doug while he was walking the next

"When Angels Go Walking" by De Ann and Doug Adams (Magi Productions, copyright 2000, all rights reserved)

All of the burdens you carry,
All of the trials you must go through,
Open your heart and take courage
Know the angels are walking by you.

(Chorus) And the angels go walking ‘round heaven,
And the angels go walking ‘round Heaven,
When the angels go walking ‘round Heaven
They walk hand in hand with the Lord.

Out on the long, lonely highway,
Deep in a dreary dark prison,
Sweet angel voices are singing
If only we would listen.


This life will soon be over,
This time on here on earth we are given,
Don't feel sad or forsaken,
We'll walk with the angels in heaven.


Dream Dancer, know that you are missed. We shall dance again ....

To contact Doug to offer your condolences, for Light Rain music or the
video, "De Ann's Dream," please write to him at:
Doug Adams
P.O. Box 356,
Larkspur, CA 94977
or email:

More to follow on DeAnn , Please send any thoughts, pictures, etc. They will be posted here. Thanks, LH ed@gs


Here are a few pictures taken at the memorial service with a digital camera of the pictures there on the table or altar which contained items from DeAnn's altar at home.


Doug after the service with friends and family.


Aneena, who was there for the whole service, said that the testimonies that people shared seemed to have the common thread of the sparkle that Deann added to everyone's lives.

I was shocked to read that Deann Adams, the "Dream Dancer" had passed away. I was disappointed that I hadn't heard anything about the Memorial Service in Healdsburg on 12/16, but I guess I am pretty much out of the Belly Dance Community, at this point. I'll never forget seeing Deann dance at the Cotati Cabaret, about 18 years ago. She did a dance entirely composed of spins that was so mesmerizing, that I , and the people I was with that night, talked about it for days!
Someone made the comment that night, (referring to her dance abilities, musical talent, choreographic skills, costuming, etc) "And does she also have to be so BEAUTIFUL ?!" She did, indeed, seem to have it all...

Saddened to hear of her passing,

Siovana 1-11-01
P.S. DeAnn has left us in the physical world, but her spirit and love for the dance lives on in the hearts of dancers following in her sparkling footsteps....


2-2-01 from Amaya-
Aside from her great teaching talents, I remember all the great laughs I had with DeAnne. She was one of the funniest people I have ever known. The olden days of California sun, red wine, the smell of wet leaves in the air and me running to be on time to DeAnne's class somewhere in Muir Woods. After making me spin and spot and spin somemore til I felt green, we would then giggle about the last dance event she had done and all the mishaps that go with these kind of events. Like the convention in downtown San Fran where we got lost in the huge hotel looking for the meeting room and finally got stopped by hotel personnel for perhaps "soliciting?!" We were a little over made up, I guess.... Did I mention that DeAnne was wearing rhinestone sunglasses?

In more recent years, DeAnne and I lost contact with one another. I regret the loss of her company. Those were glorious times.

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7-24-02 Interview with Doug Adams of Light Rain Part 1 by Lynette Harris
I told her, "I could make music for you."

2-12-03 Interview with Doug Adams Part II by Lynette
Much of the last decade was very tumultuous. My personal melt down started around the time that Dark Fire came out.

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