In Memory of Tom Ryan (Rashid)

This past weekend, a very dear friend of mine, Tom Ryan, passed away quietly in his sleep.  I met Tom (Rashid) when I was nine years old.  I worked the front desk for my mother’s classes at the studio she rented in San Francisco at that time.  Because I was just a kid, most of the students didn’t really notice or speak to me.  But Tom did.  He talked with me and listened to what I had to say.  Every week he brought me a box of my favorite Japanese candies.  And as time went along, Tom become a brother to me. . . the only brother I ever had.  We played, danced, laughed and even argued. . . just like all siblings.  But we truly loved each other.

Tom loved Middle Eastern music.  He constantly played it, often going to sleep while listening to an album over and over again.  He was a strong believer in technique and knowing dance history, but where he really excelled was sentiment.  Tom understood the music, and he spent hours absorbing the layers and nuances.  He had a true artist’s heart; his choreography and performances showed his carefully crafted movements designed to convey the true soul of the music.

Tom was a treasure to the belly dance community, and he will be greatly missed.  I feel blessed to have known him and to have spent so much quality time with him over the years.  Tom, I love you dearly.  Thank you for being my brother and my friend.  I miss you, and I will carry you in my heart always!


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3 Responses to In Memory of Tom Ryan (Rashid)

  1. Nancy Gallagher says:

    No! Tom really made an impression on me. You hit the nail on the head with his sentiment and intention of a dance and its movements. Tom was an emotional and sociological architect for dance and it showed how much he respected it.

  2. yfuentes says:

    This can’t be! I just found his videos and thought to myself that if he ever came to Florida I would do whatever it took to learn from him. I was mesmerized by his technique and his charisma on the stage. I am at a loss for words.

    • @yfuentes Thank you for your kind words. Tom was too young to leave us, and he still had so much to offer. But we are so fortunate to have had him with us. He truly exemplified the Jamila Salimpour belly dance technique, having studied it for years and years. He is and will continue to be greatly missed.

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