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WILLOW

 

The film, showcasing an ensemble of dancers moving in unison in a variety of natural settings, finds inspiration from the transformative process of a tree. Filmed last summer, the title of the piece and the nature of it resonates at this time. Trees bloom again and so will we. We may be weeping now, but we will soon bloom flowers! Remaining stationary does not mean we are incapable of growth. There is much beauty in what we can accomplish despite seemingly stagnant positions. We are more than capable of blossoming into magnificent, strong trees. The metaphor reminds that good that can come from reconnecting to one's roots, or from planting new seeds in order to form new roots, or connections, in one's life. An elegy for those that passed from the pandemic, Willow is set to Scott Joplin’s stirring Weeping Willow.

Title: Willow
Choreography: Daniel Gwirtzman
Dancers: Dwayne Brown, Derek Crescenti, Daniel Gwirtzman, Ivy Harbour, Madison Hertel, Kaitlyn Jackson, Lydia Kelly, Usman Ali Ishaq, Vanessa Martínez de Baños, Colin McKechnie, Julia Zoratto
Music: Scott Joplin

Pianists: Joshua Rifkin & Steve Hunter
Camera: Brian Hanshaw & Steven Pisano
Editing: Daniel Gwirtzman

Willow was produced thanks to the generous support of The Treman Center, Newfield, NY.

DISCUSSION OF WILLOW

Hear Daniel speak with a Guest Artist about Willow!
Footage originally captured for the launch of Dance With Us.

Reflections on the Title Willow

 

Trees are great models of the resilience and strength pursued and illustrated by dancers. At first, this

dance, entItled Willow, depicts this strength as the performer’s body seems to be rooted in the ground.

When the dancer’s heels liJ from the ground, however, the tree represented becomes much more

adaptable. The willow tree is thought to be incredibly agile, always sweeping and growing. The concept of

versatility is not only observed in nature – for, as we know, the only constant in life is change – but is a

significant component of dance as well. Even though a dancer may endlessly rehearse for a show, part of

what makes live art so compelling is that no two performances will ever be exactly the same. A willow, with

its branches that create inordinate shapes and poses without snapping, demonstrates a flexibility not

found in other trees. Much like the flexibility of dancers, whose bodies can undergo challenging conditions,

the willow can survive and thrive in harsh weather. The soloist in this dance demonstrates balance, a

symbol represented by the willow, as the limbs stretch and the body’s center of gravity shifts. The spine

rounds like the reeds that spill over themselves; and just before the curtain closes on the Willow dance, we

once again encounter a curtain of branches created by the body as it manifests the tree and comes to rest.

Written by Daisy Rudin, summer writing intern, 2020