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50 Years of Northwest Folklife Feature: Radost Folk Ensemble

Northwest Folklife celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021 with a commemorative logo, highlighting the people and the communities who make Northwest Folklife and all of our programs what it is today. This celebratory 50th logo was designed to feature the core of our organization and one that encompasses who we are—and that is YOU, our community.

The illustration just above and to the right in the ‘0’ is derivative of a 2018 Northwest Folklife Festival photo of Radost Folk Ensemble, a cornerstone of the Northwest Folklife Balkan Dance community. The illustration is inspired by a photo of Eric Folkers, a second-generation Radost Dancer.



His mom, Linda, and his two sisters are also dancers. Linda's kids truly grew up in the rehearsal hall. Eric was first onstage with Radost at age two. It's now his little girl who is underfoot, three generations together. If you saw our video submission to CroatiaFest, you'll see the three generations together.
Sidney Deering, Radost Folk Ensemble
Eric Folkers of Radost Folk Ensemble | Photo by April Jingco

Eric Folkers of Radost Folk Ensemble | Photo by April Jingco


Tom Deering of Radost Folk Ensemble

Tom Deering of Radost Folk Ensemble

Balkan Dance has drawn together families like the Deerings and the Folkers for generations, creating lasting bonds that run like ribbons through the community. Sidney tells how Tom Deering, Sidney’s husband and a pinnacle culture bearer of the Balkan community, became a mentor of sorts to Eric. After Tom passed, Eric asked his mom where to get a tapan, the Balkan drum Tom played. Sidney surprised him by passing Tom’s drum down to Eric.

“Eric grew up before our eyes in a new way when Tom got sick. He was already so accomplished, but he began to be more proactive in his mastery. He is now a patient and encouraging teacher, aware of his role as a culture bearer. Tom adored him, loved dancing beside him and was so proud of him.”

In 2019, Radost Folk Ensemble performed at the Northwest Folklife Festival and dedicated their showcase to honor the late Tom Deering.

  • Photo by Christopher Nelson

    Photo by Christopher Nelson

  • Photo by Christopher Nelson

    Photo by Christopher Nelson

  • Photo by Christopher Nelson

    Photo by Christopher Nelson