Dancing Across the World

Daryl Ries dancer, choreographer, realtor, Panama City Opera supporter – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe thank Daryl Ries for giving us the idea to have Jet Metier interview select contributors of Best Places who enliven our pages with their experiences and revelations.  The conversation began with Daryl talking about a real estate expo she had attended just prior to their scheduled talk, and then continued with Daryl reviewing her life on four continents.  In a chronological sleight of hand, we present the second part of the interview first, where Daryl speaks of her accomplishments and fascinating lifestyle.  
Jet Metier: Hi, Daryl, now that I have reviewed our first interview, there are many things I want to ask you about your life abroad. Why were you living in all those many different and diverse countries?
Daryl Ries: I left New York City in my 20's, soon after graduating from New York University (spending those college years, and after, teaching dance at city schools and performing on and off Broadway). I signed on for a SA tour of Hair, to Buenos Aires and Rio de Janiero, Argentina, and ended up teaching dance at the University of Bahia, Brazil. I signed up for another tour to Europe, and worked in the best theatres in Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid. I stayed in Madrid and did TV choreography for the Juilo Iglesias show.
The show went to Tokyo, and after 6 months there and in Singapore, I moved to Hong Kong with another TV show. I immediately fell in love with HK and stayed 23 years. I married, and my daughter was born there. She was 18 when we left. She went to London for university, and as for me, I went back to NYC after 35 years abroad.
While in Hong Kong, I founded and directed the first contemporary dance school and company in Hong Kong, from 1977 to 1983. I had a byline in the South China Morning Post, and wrote articles for Dance Magazine, AWSJ, etc. about the reinstatement of the ballet in China and contemporary development of dance in Asia. I interviewed many guest performers coming to the famous Hong Kong Arts Festival, all between 1983 to 1995.  In 1990, I began the cultural exchange performances of ballet and modern dance companies from West to East, leading to the big Asian tours of the New York City Ballet, Monte Carlo Ballet and many more until 2000. I travelled extensively in Asia and Australia with my work. Returning to NYC, I organized more tours to NYC and Europe for Asian dance groups. I am still involved with that, but less and less now. Better to do this in Asia where the financial support is better.
Jet Metier: I understand that you travel by yourself from the airport to Coronado, and from Coronado to Panama City by yourself on a bus; that to me, is extraordinary. What other things have you had to do that mark you as a woman with ingenuity, drive and courage? 
Daryl Ries: Public transportation is the mode of travel in most cities, and I’ve lived only in cities. I do not drive, and with buses from Coronado to Panama taking only one hour or so, and for only $2 for seniors, it’s an air conditioned convenience; better than driving. Taxis are everywhere, and cost $1.50, shared or not. So to me, it’s a “no brainer.”  Not enough expats try it, but most expats are drivers, or do not go often to Panama City. Panama is a great place. I’m here because of the proximity of a cosmopolitan city and to the beach at Coronado. I’m back and forth every week. 
Jet Metier: Daryl, give us a timeline of a typical day off. Please describe the things you see, the activities you have, the places you go, the people you meet.
Daryl Ries: In Coronado, I have two priorities: walk 30-60 minutes on the beach and swim in the pool 30-60 minutes every day; and meet friends for dinner and/or go to a social gathering, that is usually a community mixer or Happy Hour at a designated place in or near Coronado, and on Saturday morning until noon, I shop the organic vendors at the corner restaurant Picasso.
If I have clients or guests with rented cars, I will accompany them on a property tour, or to one of a number of beaches and resorts/restaurants in the area, anywhere from 10-60 minutes up the highway. And I try not to miss the outdoor cultural events, like youth orchestras, folkloric groups, live dance music and horse shows. 
If I am in the city, I will be attend a cultural event, art opening, or an organization's social event. There are a lot of these. I see films, the latest run from USA or Europe in the upmarket malls for only $2, the senior price.
And, I love sitting on my terrace over the Pacific, seeing the sea and mountains, (and the moon); and listening to the waves and birds. 
Jet Metier: From the first part of the interview, you showed us you are very much a career woman. I am assuming you give as much to your other endeavors.  I heard that you are part of the opera community in Panama City. Tell us about your involvement and your best memories.
Daryl Ries: Opera Panama was founded by an American opera singer that came to Panama 10 years go with her husband, having bought a large tract of land in Pedasi and an apartment in Paitilla. I was co-opted to do the opera's marketing by a patron, who had known of my background. It was a great boost into the cultural scene of Panama City with those who live there and teach, perform or support the arts. This includes a great many people I would not have had the pleasure to know perhaps otherwise in helping to expand the opera's audience. I’ve brought opera to the coast, expats to the city's Opera House, and new and old fans to fundraisers, and not least, I’ve to been able to see Opera Panama grow, and enjoy the magnificence of talent onstage. 
Jet Metier: You live your life so fully; you must have very valuable tips on how to live abroad as a woman alone (in your case, part of the year.) Please give us a list of encouragement and lessons for people who do not have partners.  Some singles only dream of living abroad. But you not only do it, you thrive and you contribute to your community.
Daryl Ries: The world is your oyster. Do not be afraid of it. Your guide is you. Follow your compass. Have a compass, because you will need it.
  1. Have a career or job plan.
  2. Know where you can be employed or build a business.
  3. Go where you are interested in the culture, and can do and be what you are best suited for.
  4. Map out time-goals and get the right info from Google, etc.
  5. Romance can find you anywhere, if you want... but do not forget your goals, and be open to the possibilities of new found ones. These can be the best. But always assert a healthy dose of due diligence.
Within the right parameters, adventure, joy and accomplishment can be yours.
Jet Metier:  Daryl, tell me about the pictures you sent.  Many are at parties. You look like you are having a lot of fun.
Daryl Ries: The pictures I sent were taken with my husband and friends in both of the communities I frequent.
Daryl Ries and husband Howard at the Buenaventura Hotel Coronado Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingPicture 1. Howard, my husband, and I visiting the beautiful Buenaventura Hotel, which is a destination resort along the Pacific Coast, a few hours away from Panama City.
President Matinelli at the Jazz Festival in Cosco Viejo Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingPicture 2. A Jazz Festival party in Casco Viejo attended by the president of Panama, President Martinelli. (My friend with me in the picture with me on the terrace, overlooking the plaza, is from NY also, and she really missed the opportunity to be in a really good picture of me and President Martinelli.)Daryl Ries at the Jazz Festival in Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama with friend – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
The Jazz Festival is a major international event in Panama every January. Ruben Blades does a free concert every year. Thousands attend. These pictures were from two years ago, while attending a festival party by Oferta Simple, the Groupon of Panama. It was informal and a big mix of mostly young expats and Panamanians, and yes, the President of Panama, Martinelli was there sporting a Panama hat, and in passing, we tipped our hats.
Daryl Ries and friends at Panama City Panama mixer for proffesional women – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingPicture 3. This is the birthday party of the hostess, Sandie Davis, an American. This was not a smoking party. The cigars were just for fun for this photo, although they were Havana cigars brought from a recent trip to Cuba from the hostess, for her friends and colleagues, at her big apartment in Panama City. She is from Seattle, has been working here in real estate for the past two to three years, and has now started her own relocation company. Her company is called Life Road. 
She organizes a women's chat group each month at her apartment, and we all enjoy getting together to update each other on our activities. This group includes expat and local women, mostly working in some capacity in Panama. The group has not met in the past few months, and I will need an update for any future meetings.
Daryl Ries at Panana City, Panama birthday party for Sadie Davis, relocation specialist owner of Life Road – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingJet Metier: What about Panamanian culture makes you happy you live there?
Daryl Ries: These were memorable for the events, the people and the locations in Panama. There are many wonderful places to go, many events to enjoy and many people to meet and friends to make in the easy and open way of Panama. There is no doubt that Panama has very friendly and good-natured people, and there is a lot to be learned from them: not to take yourself so seriously, and think more about smiling and being in tune with others. This usually creates an ambiance that enhances one's life.
Jet Metier: Thank-you Daryl. You are certainly living a dream.
I think I will publish the first half of your interview at a later time. I think our readers will also be very interested to learn about and your experiences living in Coronado and what this real estate expo was all about.
Daryl: Okay. That will be fine. Contact me if you need anything more. Ciao.
Look for the first interview in with Daryl in Expat Stories in the coming weeks.

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