We start the last month of an eventful year with an event December 1-4 th with the amazing organization Native Wellness Institute. Ten of our dancers joined their annual Native youth leadership conference. This year the theme “Honor the Earth” was opened with a ceremony by Charlie Tailfeathers, and featured guest speakers and activities to heighten Native youth awareness of environmental issues in their communities, awarding mini-grants for them to implement projects when they return home. DANCING EARTH led 8 am movement workshops, and at the Healing evening village led many workshops including Improvisational Dance ( led by CJ Bernal); Guided Relaxation ( Deollo Johnson), Acting ( Eagle Young assisted by Cina Littlebird), Dance (Nichole Salazar) , Environmentally themed spoken word poetry ( Alyxis Trujillo with Deollo Johnson) , brBeakdance circle ( Eric Lopez) Sound Exploration ( Ehren Natay with Serena Rascon). Some of these were shared at the Talent Night, with Ehren conducting the whole audience to participate in making an unforgettable soundscape of a storm, using body percussion rhythm and vocals. Thank you Jillene, Regina, Charlie, Robert, Jay, Amanda, and Kim for welcoming us into your healing circle to work with these young people !
Our “Of Bodies of Elements” was shared on the closing night, in perfect illustration of the conference theme, with 8 narrators chosen from the youth to describe the cultural/ecological themes of the dances .
On the last evening of cultural sharing , Ehren Natay received the highest honor and blessing at the Closing Ceremony, by being selected by Charlie Tailfeather to receive an eagle feather in recognition in his work with youth on the extraordinary “Rainmaker” exercise.
We end this year, poised towards solstice with profound gratitude for staying so busy sharing our vision with so many people. Thank you to all the dancers, collaborating artists, students, funders, presenters, theaters, universities, and friends who have made this our most brilliant year yet !