Bert Balladine and his Pet Goat, D'Ora

Roman "Bert" Balladine and Pet Goat D'Ora
Original: Willow Charcoal, Gouache on Arches paper. Available in artist's proof, giclee print from original on archival paper. Price varies with size.

When I asked Bert to send me a photo to do this portrait, he said, "Pat, I will send you a picture with just a HINT of bestiality."

About Bert:

As a young man--a boy, really, Bert was put in one of the Nazi's concentration camps, because he was Romany, what people call gypsies--a term hated by the Rom. From the time he was 15 until he was 17, he was in the camp, scheduled to die, but he was one of the survivors.

Bert and I later figured out that we had probably been in the same part of Germany at the same time. I was a little baby girl whose Army father was stationed in Germany in the early 1950s.

My mother --a dark-skinned woman of French descent from Louisiana--took the peanut butter rations my father brought home for us, and made sandwiches she passed out to the released prisoners from the camps who were wandering the forest roads of Germany looking for food and shelter. They didn't have the means to go home, so they remained refugees.

Bert was one of those wandering the roads of Germany. We decided to believe that he had been one of those to get a peanut butter sandwich from my mother.

After the torture of the camps Bert refused to live in Europe. As soon as possible, he moved to Egypt, where he studied the folk and court dances--the sources of what we have come to call "bellydance".

I met Bert through my study of Middle Eastern/bellydance. We became dear friends.

Bert began teaching Egyptian dance in Europe. He was one of the major figures in the introduction of "bellydance"/Middle Eastern dance into post WWII Europe.