Singing Tree – History & Impact of Dodoland

“Journey to Dodo Land” (Dodoland)was published by Bird Helmet Productions in LOS ANGLES in 1977. Thanks to Doug Riseborough appreciation and Dr. Richard Mazurek’s vision for the future. ( Other Angels are listed on the web-site) The outstanding large format colorful book won a Printers Institute of America Award in 1978. Della Burford, author and illustrator, created this land where “you can be what you want to be”. Dale Bertrand’s photographs were published to create the Giant Flower Island. Dale has been the greatest support over many years in the development of Dodoland. In Dodoland you will find a Sea of LoveA Dragon ShipLand of FireNight BubbleIsland of Eyes and a Giant Flower Island.

Journey to Dodoland … first edition published in 1977 .. Dodoland Adventure in 2007

Through the years Dodoland creator Della Burford has worked with many others in collaboration. In the winter of 1978 Tedrian Chizik of NEW YORK of cuban descent,who was a dance and movement specialist began to performing as the Elemental Dodo. He directed and produced Journey to Dodoland – Dodo Land ( Dodoland). Della Burford was co-director and assisting were Dale Bertrand ,helping in production. and Merian Soto who performed as the Dancing Flamingo. Julie Lieberman as Cooey and Musical Director. She Directed, played the violin and sang. Jerry Shrair was the first Musical Director and added so much including the Dodoland Song. Larry Karush also was a musical director of Dodoland and the Secrets of the Rainbow when there was a show at the Third Street Music School.

One of the first participatory performances of “Journey to Dodoland” was at ” “The Museum of Natural History” in New York in 1980. One of two places in the world that has a stuffed dodo bird. The show on the poster stated “Journey to Dodoland, On Our Way to Puerto Rico” – A musical drama based on the original story “Journey to Dodoland’ by Della Burford with participation by the children in the audience.

Dodoland at the Museum of Natural History New York City

 In the summer of 1980 a benefit performance was given at the Cuban Refugee Camps in Pennsylvania sponsored by the Red Cross.

Dodoland at the Cuban Refugee Camp in Pennsylvania 1980

The Project “Opportunidad” took the performance in 1982 to East Harlem in New York with sponsorship from the City of New York. Dodoland was performed twice to the schools in East Harlem and Magical Earth also went to these schools.

Children from the Project Opportunidad in New York

Dodoland was also performed at many hospitals including the Sloan Kettering Hospital and Metropolitan Hospital in New York. Carlos Loran from the Hospital wrote, Your show did more than bring smiles of joy and laughter to the faces of the many youngster present. It actually made them forget , if only for a short while, about their handicaps and illnesses.” Della, Dale, Merian , Tedrian, and Alice took Dodoland to all the Schools for the Hearing Impaired in Ontario and Dodoland was translated into sign language. Della also led a project for prisoners at the Metro Toronto Detention Centre 

In the years that Dodoland performed in New York it was adapted for a performance for many different events, building and festivals. It performed at the Native American Indian Community Centre, for the Children’s festival in Remini, Italy and through the sponsorship of the Organization of American States taken to the “Magic in Me” Conference in GUATEMALA in 1983, where 300 teachers from Central and South America attended Dodoland along with many handicapped children in various hospitals. There was a grand finale with DODOLAND and Disney World Characters at the National Theatre. Every special event was attended by handicapped and disabled children.

Imaginations Unlimited performing Dodoland in Guatemala. Burl Ives and Miss Gautemala also here.

In New York City Dodoland performed at the 3rd Street Music School, Museo Del Barrio, Brooklyn Academy of MusicLincoln Center LibraryStaten Island Childrens Museum, and St Peter’s Church adjacent to Citycorp on 54th and Lexington for the United Nations International School and other children.

Dodoland performed for seven years in New York – this is at the CityCorp

Dodoland went to Washington and was performed at the Smithsonian Institute in the Discovery Theatre and at the Pavilion of the old Post Office. On the poster from the show it describes Dodo Land as being In the tradition of children’s stories like the Wizard of Oz” and “Alice in Wonderland”, this is a festival of imagination, music and audience participation.” 

Dodoland performing at the Discovery Theatre of the Smithsonian Institute

Over a seven year period Dodo Land was performed by Imaginations Unlimited for over 100,000 children internationally.

Imaginations Unlimited in New York told “Journey to Dodoland” as a storytelling at the” WNYC Storytelling Festival in Central Park. Over many years”Journey to Dodo Land” (Dodoland) and many other of Della’s stories was done as storytelling by Della in hundreds of schools with the Inner City Angels and 14 thru the Ontario Arts Council.

Author Day

One favourite was working with the children at the Wandering Spirit Survival School.

Della and Dale did many projects at the Wandering Spirit Survival School with Vern Harper and Pauline Shirt.

It was also taken to handicapped children at Sunnyview School. 

Sunnyview School – Ontario Arts Council project.

Della was Director of the children’s part of the Cape Cod Writer’s Conference.

“Magical Earth Secret” was performed for two years in New York by Imaginations Unlimited before being published as a book in 1990. It became a bestseller in Canada.

It has subsequently been storytold in SWEDEN by children at the wonderful Globetree event in the Concert Hall in Stockholm and danced at the Centennial library in Edmonton, Alberta by the Maria Formolo Dance Company at the Celebration of the Environment and by various schools as school performances and Environmental Festivals and Young Author Events.

Performance of Magical Earth Secrets – Edmonton – Maria Formolo Dance Company

1995 the Journey to Dodo Land story (Dodoland) was chosen to be showcased, thanks to Dave Godfrey, in the Swiftsure project in Victoria, British Columbia, underwritten by the British Columbia goverment of Canada, using internet technologies to showcase BC culture. Dave Godfey, and Ivan Sinclair from Softwords and Della Burford, and Dale Bertrand (authors and illustrators) launched the cyberspace playground with stories and interactive activity centres.

Dodoland Online – 26 years – 22 million hits by 2 million individuals.

the Earthchild Environment Foundation collected Peace Wishes that were published in two separate Peace Scroll books. The foreword for the last book was done by the Dalai Lama.. She also participated in a major Artist Residence at Sundance School and showed the students and her Miracle Galaxy and Dale’s Art from his project at the Community Arts Council Gallery. In 2002 Della storytold at the International Children Festival in Vancouver. She finished an “ArtSmart” project at Immaculate Conception School in Vancouver in April of 2003. In 2004 Della facilitated a workshop in Holland on  Creating your own Healing Story– thanks to Marijke Sluijter. In 2004 Della also did a storytelling at the Festival for Children at West Coast Plaza in Newport Beach.

Della storytelling Dodoland and Magical Earth Secrets at West Coast Plaza – Festival of Children – Newport Beach.

Della went to Korea the summer of 2007 and 2009 to storytell and help the children make their own books. This took place in the Dream Center in KYEONGJU and at Gapyeong.

Storytelling in Korea.. assisted by Jacqueline Howardson

In 2009,10 and 11, and in 2021 Della and Dale were travelling to MEXICO

Art project in Mexico 2021

From 2007-18 they travelled to BALI to photograph, film, workshop and paint. This is a videos of one of our “first trips to Bali. In 2011 Della storytold at a school in New York and workshopped “Make an Angel for Japan” in Toronto. She travelled to AUSTRIA in 2012 to study the Mische technique with Philip Rubinov Jacobsen

Through 2013/19 the >Magical Earth Secrets story was performed as a play in JAPAN produced by 100% Parade . Dale and Della met with the Producers Kazuko Asaba and Ruu .

Ruu from Japan in Mexico and have since done lots of future work together. In 2015 Della, Kazuko and Ruu Ruu did a storytelling at the Vancouver Language Centre and at the University in Guadalajara , Mexico with Gloria Arroyo.

Ruu Ruu – Producer, Costume Designer, Della, and Kazuko Asaba – Producer, Artist.
Magical Rainbow – Magical Earth Secrets – Japan

Many times in Bali Della and Dale collaborationed with I Made Sida at his Dance Company Paripurna. Thanks also to SwastiniOne focused on Creativity and Art and Dance.

Many projects have been done with the Paripurna Dance School with Made Sidia in Bali.

The story of Magical Earth was translated in Indonesian in 2018 and a improv preformance done at the school. Thanks to my sister Norah Burford who has been coordinating the events which Feed the Soul in BaliBali Fabrizio Bellardetti did photography for two books and two books were created about the projects in Bali.

Della was honored to be part of the Visionary Alchemy show in New York and also showed her painting in OttawaMontrealPeru and London with the SOCIETY FOR ART of IMAGINATION group. Thanks to Brigid Marlin, France Garrido , Miguel Tio and Olga Spiegal. She also was asked to be a remote speaker at a Visionary Art Conference in MOSCOW. She also felt honored to receive first prize in the Visionary Graphic category.

Visionary Alchemy Show NYC – Shaman’s Eye won first prize – Visionary Graphic in Conference Moscow

Della was interviewed by Joan of Angels on her Angel and mystical experiences. Della and Dale went to see the Kanazawabunko Festival in JAPAN in 2018 where “Majical Rainbow” was featured. Thanks to the people who donated to the the Go Fund me Campaign who helped make the trip possible.

Performers “Magical Earth Secrets”at the Kanazawabunko Festival in Japan

In 2019 and 2021 the story of “Miracle Galaxy”has been made into a storytelling/dance show in JAPAN 

Miracle Galaxy being performed in Japan .. sister story to Star Galaxy for the World. Producer Ruu Ruu

Ruu Ruu has produced and made fantastic costumes. Dodoland was also told in Japan at the Asaba Studio. Paul Vreken with the translation of Marijke Sluitjer has made Magical Earth Secrets into a video storytelling in Holland.

Della has been part of the Design Science Studio program at the Buckminster Fuller Institute for 2021/2022. She has created “Earth Action” with the SpaceCamp program with the Buckminster Fuller Institute. Jon Van Meter has done a video of Earth Action for the final event of Design Science Studio.

Earth Action created at the Space Camp of the Buckminster Fuller Institute.

In the Design Science Studio program she has created a Quilt (Collage) for Humanity with 30 artists from 15 countries. She has held workshops in Holland with participants from Kenya present who she has followed up with mentorship.

She has designed two Topia Worlds for alternative reality immersive experiences. One “Star Galaxy for the World has been created with designer and 3-D artist Julian Ramirez.Dale Bertrand has assisted. Julian has also put Star Galaxy up on the immersive site New Art City and made an animated film.

Della and Julian Ramirez have created Star Galaxy for the World Topia
Julian Ramirez has created a short animated film of Star Galaxy for the World

Della has also created a Topia World for Dodoland.

Map Dodoland for Topia 2021/22


Dragon Ship

Night Bubble

Singing Tree

Giant Flower Island

Island of Eyes

Star Galaxy Casa

Magical Earth Secrets Island

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