Belly Dance Community Mourns Passing of Ray Dahlin

In Loving Memory
My Dad, Ray Dahlin
December 1930 - July, 2004

The San Diego Belly Dance Community Mourns the Passing of Ray Dahlin


by Titanya, with Dondi Dahlin


Dondi and Tanya Dahlin have been blessed with cards and flowers as people throughout the Belly Dance community have been informed of their Dad’s passing.  They write this about their father:


Many of you who knew our Dad, Ray Dahlin and would see him in his suits and vests at many of the Belly Dance events during the years.  Our father passed away on July 16 of congestive heart failure.  In his last years our Dad couldn’t attend as many of the functions that he wanted to, he supported them until the end.


We owe much of our dance and acting talents to our father. Dr. Ray Dahlin was chairperson of Speech/ Theatre/Dance of Palomar College for many years and taught at Palomar for over three decades.  We became involved in children’s theatre and dance at Palomar when we were little girls.  We would spend many hours around the drama department and were babysat by many of the actors there.  We had an early connection to International Belly Dancer, Sahra Kent, who also got her start at Palomar in dance. She recalls us running around the theatre as children and our father being the “head” of the dance department.  It was years later that we became acquainted with Sahra as a professional Belly Dancer and she became good friends with our Dad.


In the early 1970’s, our family traveled to Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand and Hawaii for Dad’s sabbatical from Palomar College. He was writing a thesis on the ancient drum communications and rituals of the South Pacific.  We were bitten by the ” Polynesian dance bug” and began our Polynesian dance training with a teacher in Encinitas.


We still dance at luau’s to this day and love the Polynesian culture.  In the late 1980’s we attended Palomar College students and were coached by our father in public speaking.  We joined our Dad’s competitive Speech and Debate team  and became national champions


During the late 1980’s as Titanya and and Dondi were  becoming more and more interested in middle eastern dance,  Ray, their father, was a little bit concerned that this wasn’t a serious art form or that they could even make a living at it.  Well, it wasn’t until Titanya showed him a video of International Male Bellydancer, Horatio Cifuentes that he changed his mind about Bellydance. Yes, Horatio has that much affect on men as well as women!  He shared the video with all the dance teachers at Palomar and  Titanya didn’t quite know if the video would ever come back to her, but it finally did.


From then on, Ray was dining out at every Greek and Arab restaurant, watching his girls dance. Always a dresser, one could spot him in his colorful puffy sleeved Greek shirts and sharp vests. Ray was quite the dancer, winning awards in College for  “jitterbugging”, so you could always be sure he’d be out on the dance floor trying to take the “lime-light” away from his dancing daughters.  Whether it be Mykonos, Zorbas, Greek Village, Haji Babas, Greek Palace or Ceasars, Ray would be supporting the restaurants with his gigantic parties to watch the dancers of the evening. 


Not only would he support his own daughters, he’d be out on the floor with other dancers and other events as well, with plenty of tips always.


One of his fraternity brothers, legendary pianist, Joe Fos used to come into town, and Ray would gather up his posse to go and hear him play. Eventually the girls were coaxed to dance every time the band played, ‘Misirlou’. Dave Dhillon would join in with his dumbek or bongos and Cyrena with her beautiful zil playing.


During his retirement party, he had a surprise visit from Dave Dhillon and his harem of dancing girls ~ Cyrena, Titanya, Dondi and Barbara Kranz(Vanessa).  The biggest surprise here was that Barbara was one of Ray’s former students at Palomar and one of the first dancers that helped form the bellydance community in San Diego so long ago.


Some of his favorite dancers other than his own daughters were Cyrena and Louisa, whom he’d go and watch and support if the girls were out of town.


There is a beautiful website of Ray Dahlin’s life up at www.RayDahlin.com.  Read how he befriended James Dean, how he spent his time in the Korean War with the female entertainment division. There are great photos and more great stories!


Ray’s favorite past-time was dining, dance and supporting his daughters.  Wherever he is, you can bet that he is dancing and looking down upon us all here in San Diego.


We will him so miss much!


“And when the Earth has claimed our limbs, then we shall truly dance." - Kahlil Gibran