Peggy Farrah Tribute to Bobby
This letter was read by Amaya to an rapt audience in Las Vegas on September 12, 2009. The DVD Release Party celebrated the icons in the video “American Legends in Belly Dance.” Ms. Peggy Farrah, Ibrahim Farrah’s yunger sister, represented the family of well-loved Bobby Farrah. Below is her poignant letter in its entirety.
September 11, 2009
On behalf of Bobby’s family, please know how touched we are by your tribute to him. While a plethora of personal memories live vividly within us, we always recognized that we walked only the outer parameters of Bobby’s professional world. When I observed him conducting a workshop or a master class, he transformed from my big brother to a demanding teacher. And, in that transformation, his love and total immersion into his art bubbled forth. Nothing better captures the totality of his being than his choreography and performances. His work constituted the syncronicity of mind, body, & spirit.
Bobby experienced exhilaration in constantly seeking to refine his art; however, that exhilaration was hardly limited to his own accomplishments. While he may not have overtly expressed his joy—he certainly felt that joy when he saw others achieve beyond the expectations they thought possible. The “tough taskmaster” delighted in the artistic achievements of others—especially those that he mentored and nurtured. As a former educator, I always marveled at his ability to motivate—to drive—to teach—to enable others to discover inner strengths and talents beyond anything they believed existed within them. I am not sure why that surprised me—you see, Bobby played out his ability to get others to do uncomfortable feats throughout our childhood. How well I remember him directing me to climb up a tree, onto the roof, and through an open window when he had forgotten the house key. It didn’t occur to me at the time that he could have and should have been the one climbing the tree! Years later, I reminded him of this memory—he laughed and said, “I never did like heights!”
Though it has been eleven years since Bobby’s death, he continues to live in my mind and heart. Thank you so much for allowing him to live on the world he so loved—may his work forever remind us of the joy to be experienced through an appreciation of music and dance.
Peggy Farrah, Bobby’s younger sister