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The Gilded Serpent presents...
A Young Woman's Multicultural
Adventures in Colombia, by Tamalyn Dallal

book review by Sierra/Sadira


I was fascinated by Tamalyn Dallal's accounts of her adventures in the country of Columbia. I was not expecting to find this much fascinating information nor the skilled writing contained in this book because some books written by dancers regarding their own life exploits tend to be vehicles of self-service.

"They Told Me I Couldn't" is an intriguing look into a dancer's true eye opening adventure stories of performing in a foreign country with somewhat unscrupulous managers.

Many dancers in the United States (especially very young and naive) have been approached for various work contracts in other countries with promises of a lot of money, great work, professional treatment, and instant stardom.

If you are a dancer who is thinking that professional dancing is also a great way to travel around the world, to make fabulous sums of money, and also become an international star, you must read Tamalyn Dallal’s book first!

I have heard first-hand horror stories from dancers who have jumped at the chance of living and dancing in Japan, Mexico, Turkey, and Europe, where nothing that was promised ever came to fruition. The bottom line is that some of these alluring promises can even turn out to be an entrance into the so-called “white slave market”.

Though Tamalyn Dallal's stubborn and feisty personality pulled her out of many rough situations; take warning that these jobs are rarely what have been promised.

I liked the fact that Tamalyn did not saturate her book only with stories regarding her dance exploits but included tales of her entire life that she experienced while living in Columbia.

Tamalyn is an incredible humanitarian and ambassador in this book in regards to the plights of indigenous people, as well as the illegal and genocidal tactics of the Colombian government. Through her eyes, we learn to see in clear detail the areas of Columbia to which tourists usually do not venture. At times it seems mind-boggling that she even got out of Columbia alive, considering her tales of drug cartel war-lords who frequented the restaurants at which she danced.

Anyone would enjoy reading “They Told Me I Couldn’t”. No dance experience required! Tamalyn is a excellent writer, bringing the reader into the mesmerizing world and experiences as if you are right there; with a touch of humour and dry wit.

I applaud the fact that Ms. Dallal writes this book also to help increase the knowledge and help the plight of so many of the disenfranchised people of this huge country. Especially on behalf of the "gamines". These are young children who because of poverty are forced to find a way to survive living on the streets. She befriends a young man by the name of Oscar, who guards his cardboard enclosure behind a hot dog stand from other older street gangs with a broken bottle held closely to his body at all times. This is but one example of the multidimensional facet of this book. It brings into focus not only her personal escapades (which, trust me, are quite outrageous), but inserts her own experiences that emphasize Columbia's political scene, history, socio-economic problems, and even one or two traditional Indios recipes.

If we had the farsightedness to use dance as a form of diplomacy and ambassadorship towards human rights and dignity throughout the world.....this would be the cornerstone to seeing how it can transcend mere entertainment.

You will enjoy this book on many levels. For those with a humanitarian bent, she also includes in appendixes at the back of the book, organizations and books you can read regarding the situations facing the disenfranchised in Columbia.

She also has a whole line of other novels, based on more travels through exotic countries such as Brazil, Cuba, Morocco. I can't wait to read her other books as well. There is never a dull moment in any part of her storytelling.

This would be especially fun for a quick summer read, and maybe stir the old flames of wanting to visit other cultures, countries who are rich in their heritage and beauty.

Fez's off to Tamalyn Dallal on a great job!!!

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