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Remembering Bobbye Dee

In Memory of Bobbye Dee

Bobbye Dee Roberts, of Crowley, Texas passed away on Saturday, March 6, 2021, at the age of 84.


In Austin, we knew her as “Bobbye Dee”. She was a real-life Steel Magnolia, exemplifying both traditional femininity as well as an uncommon fortitude. Bobbye Dee moved from DFW to Austin in the late 1980’s and established herself as a teacher, performer, and workshop sponsor. Throughout the 1990’s, her annual “La Danse Orientale Extravaganza” workshops were not to be missed, and featured international Bellydance icons such as Beata & Horacio Cifuentes, Bert Balladine, Amaya, Suhaila Salimpour, Suzanna Del Vecchio, Kamal, Margo Abdo Odel, and many more. In addition to being a leader in the Austin Bellydance community, Bobbye Dee was a long time member of the Austin Bellydance Association.



Members of her student troupe, Kizz'la Dancers have shared their photos and fond memories of Bobbye Dee, so that we all might remember her and the contributions she made to the world of Bellydance, especially right here in Austin. Their comments paint a picture that many of us can likely relate to. The glamor of the stage goes hand in hand with hours of rehearsal, personal interactions, quirky moments, and – at least in Texas – lots of driving.


Do you have fond memories of Bobbye Dee, or her workshops in Austin? We welcome you to share your comments; just click the Log In/Sign Up box in the top right corner to “become a member” of our OPA! Blog community. It’s free to sign up. Note that this is different and separate from becoming an official member of the Austin Bellydance Association, which requires annual dues.


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Bobbye Dee moved from Arlington to Austin in 1987, when her husband Larry was transferred here by 3M. She started teaching right away at the Shirley McPhail dance studio on Spicewood Springs Road (which until recently was Austin Belly Dance Studio). For about a year, she traveled back to Arlington every week to keep her class and troupe going there.


Boobye started her "Kiss the Sands Productions" in Arlington and held the first La Danse Orientale Extravaganza there in the early 80's. The first Austin production of La Danse Orientale Extravaganza was in 1988 featuring Dalia Carella. She continued to produce the annual La Danse Orientale seminars through 2006. Some of the dancers she featured were Shareen El Safy, Dahlal, Delilah, Amaya, Bert Balldine, Jim Boz, Suhaila Salimpour, Dahlena, Virginia, Amir Thaleb, Kamaal, Angelika Nemeth, Sadie and Kaya, and her favorite guests, Beata & Horacio Cifuentes. Her right hand for a great number of these seminars was Della, from her Arlington troupe. Bobbye hosted her seminars at several Austin locations over the years, including the Scottish Rite Theater. Her favorite emcee for her seminar shows was Audrena, a vendor from Chicago, who did a majority of them.



Her Austin troupe came to be called the Kizz'la Dance Ensemble, and the "SASS" student troupe (Sisters' Association of Sensuous Shimmies) was added later. Bobbye moved her classes to her home studio after several years at Shirley McPhail, and always kept a troupe going. She encouraged students to not just take classes, but to do something more with their dancing. She provided many opportunities for her troupe and students to promote the art and "give back" by dancing at schools, nursing & retirement homes, festivals, and other events, including performances at the UT Student Union with Mirage and at the Arneson River Theater in San Antonio with the Bedouin Dancers. Bobbye and the troupe dancers participated in many of the Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio dance seminar events over the years. Bobbye also kept her ties to the Dallas area, and continued to take her Austin troupe to dance at the Dallas VA Hospital and Fort Worth Octoberfest.


(Thank you to Rachel Austin for the article above.)


Memories from Edie Osborn

  • We were invited to dance on the San Antonio River Walk, and Bobbye wanted us to do ALL of our choreographies – Sand Storm, our veil dance, candelabra and sword routine (my all-time favorite). I will never forget carrying all of that gear and of course each one had their own costume up and down into the theatre. But what an awesome experience it was!

  • While at her home studio, Lisa’s daughter stopped by to measure us for the candelabra dresses. Bobbye always locked the door while in class. So I swirled my veil and stepped to go and let Jennifer in but slipped on the veil and rode the stairs on my butt the whole way down. The look on Jennifer’s face was priceless.

  • I remember leaving a show at Casa de Luz, and she was doing donuts in the McDonald’s parking lot.

From Lisa Caraway

  • One night when we danced at the Mirage Show in the UT student union, and we forgot the music! I rode back with her to get it and she drove 90 mph on MoPac coming back. I just closed my eyes and held on! After that I always made sure we had people holding a tape when we left.

  • The time she vacuumed all the dog hair off of me in class…

  • All the last minute ending to choreography changes - while we were waiting to go on stage!

From Rachel Austin

  • I remember driving around Houston in the fog late at night looking for the Greek club we were supposed to go to. Finally got there and had a great time!

From Janet Snapp

  • Bringing my baby, Alexis, to class and the only time she stopped crying was when the music was playing.

  • And her driving …period.


Do you have fond memories of Bobbye Dee, or her workshops in Austin? We welcome you to share your comments; just click the Log In/Sign Up box in the top right corner to “become a member” of our OPA! Blog community. It’s free to sign up. Note that this is different and separate from becoming an official member of the Austin Bellydance Association, which requires annual dues.

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