Love ruins a lot of things. When your hormones kick in your brain quits. Alas, I fell in love and left for Minnesota. Needless to say, they are a lot of stories between what I write here, so I went home to Mama and reflected a lot on what I had learned. New York was music, dance, costuming & cultures. Puerto Rico was real entertainment, costumes, makeup, public relations.
Still, looking back I have to reference a few personal opinions. I worked with many, many musicians and some absolutely excellent but for me during those years the best Oud player that I personally worked with that was helpful and kind and always kept my back was Dicky Barsamian. He is still working in New York and is on you tube and has some CD’s. His Cd (The Dick Barsamian Trio). Live at the Tripple Inn has the best “Karsilama” I ever heard. The taxim is incredible.
Another favorite musician is Sudan (or Souren) Baronian. An Armenian born in New Jersey that plays sax and clarinet or anything else he can put his lips to, A jazz lover that plays Mid Eastern rhythms to jazz. He is also on you tube. My favorite CD is (Taxim-It’s about time) Try dancing on it!
I called a talent agency and went on the road mostly around Wisconsin and Illinois working week-ends here and there that had night club acts. The pay was very good especially for those years, 2 nights, $200. I ended up finally in Chicago. I worked every club there at the time and had the honor of working with “Dahlena” and “Iklas ” (Iklas was a phenomenal
entertainer and the first dancer I saw using a cape. Iklas used (rock glasses, not shot glasses) during her act and —–When I started teaching Neenah, I told her I would teach her from my memories. Some things I couldn’t personally do, but I could explain and get her to do them. This is how we came up with the shot glass idea!). “Dahlena” and “Iklas” were the only 2 dancers that had impressed me since I left New York and both of them were beautiful ladies on and off stage.