Get To Know The Earth Day 2022 Performers

Drummers, dancers, and drag queens, oh my!

The excitement around The Environmental Center office lately has been palpable, and we all know why: our Earth Day Fair and Parade planning is coming along and seemingly every day brings in news of a confirmed performer for the event. Not only are these performers going to join us in person for the first time in two years, they are incredibly talented. A world-renowned Native flutist, drumming and dancing from west Africa, traditional Latinx folk dances from different regions? If you don’t have goosebumps already, get ready.

Here, we are honored to introduce you to some of the performers and artists that are sure to make this year’s Earth Day Fair and Parade unforgettable.

James Edmund Greeley – Native American flute music
When & where: on the main stage from 12:15-1:15

James is proud of his Warm Springs, Wasco, and Hopi heritage. He has spent most of his life in Warm Springs, OR on the reservation. As a Native American, he identifies strongly with his Mother’s Hopi ties. He admires Hopi resistance to European assimilation and feels a strong affinity to one of the legendary forefathers, the flutist Kokopelli, whose image is found in 3000 year old petroglyphs. The notes that flow from James’ flute evoking timeless themes of earth and man could well be those of his ancestor, so universal they are in their call to spirituality and serenity.

James had planned to write stories or poetry. However his uncle gave him a flute, and James found his life. He realized that his talent brought spiritual solace, not only to himself but to others as well. At a funeral, he began an unrehearsed, spontaneous composition. He instinctively knew where the beginning, midding, and ending were. His music continues to be unplanned; neither written nor rehearsed. The music he presents comes from the soul and the inspiration of the moment. As a fellow artist once advised, “Don’t play like anyone else. Play from your heart.”

After regaining consciousness from a 1991 motorcycle accident, he opened his eyes and saw the three stars in the belt of the constellation Orion. After six years, he connected with the flute and recalled the stars that gave him inspiration. “Was I here to share music?” The answer to his own question is a resounding, “yes.”

Danza Libelula – ballet folklórico
When & where: on the main stage from 1:30-2:30

Show will include an indigenous four direction greeting with a conch and copal, 3 dancers performing interpretations of Aztec, State of Tabasco, State of Sinaloa, and State of Jalisco, and an international audience participation dance. Between each region a historical lesson will be presented.

About the performers:
Director and Choreographer-Renee Gonzalez: My name is Renee Gonzalez and I have loved Ballet Folklorico from the very first day I took lessons at California State University at Humboldt. Danza Libelula /lee-beh-loo-lah/ performers are intermediate to advanced dancers who are ready to continue their dance careers and I want to empower their goals and visions. Danza Libelula currently practices at Latino Community Association in Bend, LCA’s new Empowerment Center. I’ve studied dance, performed with three troupes and have been fortunate to have been creative director for two after school programs at two elementary schools. Learning from many teachers in California, Mexico and Oregon has been inspirational for my metamorphosis. I want to continue to share what I know and storytell through dance. Danza Libelula symbolizes the essence of the winds of change, transformation and respect for the elements of plants, air, earth, fire and water.

Dancer Carolina: My name is Carolina and I am 14 years old. I’m in the eighth grade going into the ninth grade. Dance makes me feel alive, happy and free. I was in second grade when I started dancing with Bear Creek Ballet Folklorico. I joined Dragonfly Dance because it takes me away from reality and dancing makes me feel happy and fulfilled. I like playing with skirtwork! The dances make me feel alive, and ready to show people what we have learned. It makes me want to do it even more. My goals for dancing are to get better, hoping to be able to show other people the dances I have learned from my special teacher.

Dancer Arleth: Hi my name is Arleth. I used to dance with Bear Creek Elementary’s Ballet Folklorico when I was in fourth grade. I was so excited to go to school when I made it into the group! I was always looking forward to dancing with my friends with long purple skirts and high heels. I felt really happy to dance Ballet Folklorico thanks to Maestra Gonzalez-Sanchez for always believing in us and giving us a chance to dance with her and others. Without her I would’ve never known about this dance, so I am very thankful for her and my other teachers. Every time I walk into LCA studio, I feel that I belong. I don’t have to be perfect to dance. Ballet folklorico is very important to me because my parents come from Guadalajara,Jalisco and learning about their culture is an amazing feeling. It makes me connect more with my mother.

Fodé Sylla and students

When & where: leading the parade from 11:30-12:00

Fodé Sylla is a dynamic acrobat, drummer, dancer and performance artist from Conakry, Guinea, West Africa who specializes in traditional West African drum and dance. Sylla received circus arts training at the esteemed Centre d’art acrobatique KEITA Fodéba (TINAFAN) from 2005-2007. He is a master of West African Rhythms, having performed with the nationally renowned Ballet Mervielle de Guinea as well as Amoussou, an Ivory Coast dance troupe. Sylla was recognized for his talents in 2007 and recruited to perform in the United States with UniverSoul Circus, America’s premiere multicultural circus. Sylla thrilled thousands in the U.S. and abroad with his dynamic and explosive acrobatic breakdancing and aerialist routines. In 2010, he joined Canadian-based circus Cavalia Odysseo and performed at large arenas in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Over the past 7 years, Fodé has performed in many festivals including the Oregon Country Fair as well as offering demonstrations and audience participation events coast to coast and in Hawaii. In 2017, Fodé traveled to the University of Rochester in New York to perform with Mounafanyi’s percussion and dance ensemble sponsored by the Humanities Project. For the past 7 1/2 years Fodé has taught dance and drum classes for adults and youth nationwide. He is a standing guest artist at MiniGuinea Dance and Drum Camp on Vashon Island, Camp Fareta in California, and Camp Saamato in Seattle where he also performs with the African Allstars. In addition in 2018 he became a member of Bolokada Conde’s Ballet Manden in North Carolina. While living in Eugene Fodé was performing regularly and teaching weekly acrobatics, dance and drum classes for students of all ages and levels at various locations including WOW Hall, Excape Studio, Denbaya Studio and Flex Studio. Fodé has a dedicated family of students and he is a gifted musician, dancer, choreographer and teacher. Having recently returned from 10 months in Guinea where he taught, performed and rehearsed with artists from around the world he is fresh and ready to begin teaching students in his new home town of Bend, Oregon.

Open Hub Singing Club
When & where: time TBD, on Troy Field

Open Hub’s mission is Re-invigorating our culture with singing for a kinder, more honest, more courageous world. Research suggests that our ancient ancestors who sang together, survived together. Group singing fills our brains and bodies with oxytocin, endorphins and other trust- and bonding-related hormones. At Open Hub Singing we believe that singing together is a vital technology of belonging and a human birthright.

Join us on Earth day to lift up our voices in gratitude and celebration of the beautiful planet with which we share our existence. All voices wanted and welcome! You’re invited, but not expected, to listen to, enjoy, and learn a few songs ahead of time for a taste of what we do.

Open Hub’s founder/director Ian Carrick regularly leads singing with elementary and middle school students in Bend. He brings silly songs that incorporate movement, goofy noises, as well as lessons like gratitude, sharing, and opportunities to co-create together.

Singing for all ages: Earth People Sing! (minimum 30 minutes up to an hour)
singing for people 15 and up

Songs you can learn in advance:

Singing for youngsters: Little Voices Can Be Mighty (minimum 20 minutes, up to 45 minutes)
singing for kiddos under 14 and their caretakers

We are also very excited to be joined by Jaime and the Eagle Thunder Singers dance group, and by local celebrity, environmental activist, and drag queen Pattie Gonia and friends!