Gilded Serpent presents...
In Tribute:
of Troupe Ooh La La

by Shabnam

Rhonda first walked into the Belly dance studio July of 05. She was quiet, shy, and a sincere student. She made the 1 1/2 hour drive from Tracy, California weekly and soon appeared enthralled with the dance form. Rhonda quickly became dedicated to Belly dance and was an extraordinary person.  Part of what made her extraordinary was that she had to deal with the effects of severe asthma and Lupus, and despite her physical limitations, she attended her dance class every week—and worked hard at it.

With only a few months of training under her belt, she joined troupe Ooh La La—even though she had limited dance experience and many health problems. None of us could overlook her persistence and dedication! She expected all of us to not treat her any differently than we would treat any other girl in Ooh La La.

Rhonda was strong, committed, and refused to be babied. If we contemplated changing a move or choreography to better suit her physical needs, she always said, "Don't change a thing; I can do this!" Then, she would.

Whatever move, step, or zil pattern gave her difficulty, Baseema went home, practiced, and returned the following week, dancing better than ever. There were times she could barely walk due to a flare up of Lupus, but she always came to rehearsal and gave a 110%--despite the pain or trouble, she was going through that day. Rhonda soon became the troupe mascot because of her courage and commitment. "If Rhonda can do it, you can do it!" became our motto. She was a great source of inspiration and motivation for all members of Ooh La La.

When Rhonda was contemplating adopting a dance name, she decided on Baseema, which means smiling in Arabic. When she first started performing, she was very shy and had difficulty smiling, but once she learned, she was unstoppable! Baseema’s smile and facial expressions lighted any room, wherever she danced.
In 2006, Rhonda’s talents helped Ooh La La have one of our most successful years.  All the troupe members will greatly miss our friend and her inspiration. She taught all of us the true meaning of courage, and additionally, that we could achieve anything , if we believe in our ability to overcome hardship.   We feel so blessed and grateful to have had the opportunity to have her in our llives and our dance.

Rest in Peace beautiful dance friend, Baseema; we already miss you!

Rhonda “Baseema”
December 28, 1973—March 1, 2007


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