A DANCE WITH AUSTIN’S URBAN FORESTRY DIVISION & THE TREES OF GOVALLE PARK
April 11 – 12, 2015 at Govalle Park
“And the more we watched and listened, the more powerfully we felt that immense pecan tree as a living creature, something with its own vitality and drive”
— Robert Faires of the Austin Chronicle in his review of The Trees of Govalle
On April 11th and 12th 2015, under the canopy of a grand heritage pecan tree, Forklift premiered The Trees of Govalle—a dance featuring City of Austin employees from the Urban Forestry Program. Presented as part of the Fusebox Festival as part of the thinkEAST Living Charrette Project and named one of the Top 10 Dance Events of 2015 by the Austin Chronicle, The Trees of Govalle premiered for over 2,000 people and was accompanied by original music directed by Graham Reynolds and production design by Stephen Pruitt.
Featuring the trees of East Austin’s Govalle park and the hardworking Urban Forestry employees who care for them, The Trees of Govalle highlighted the care and dedication that goes into maintaining some of our city’s oldest and tallest organisms. Rooted in one of Austin’s oldest neighborhoods, the dance also incorporated the Govalle-Johnston Terrace neighborhood’s rich history and celebrated some of Austin’s longest-standing families—the Donley, Limón, and Rivera families.
Working closely with Urban Forestry employees, choreographers Allison Orr and Krissie Marty utilized the movement and finesse of the arborists and their machinery to create a dance highlighting the skill, commitment, and elegance that is needed to keep our city’s green space healthy. During the dance, audience members also learned about how to care for our urban forests, and upon arrival audience members walked along a wooded path. During this walk, local arborists and volunteers from TreeFolks offered audience members information about how to care for and maintain a healthy and vibrant urban forest.
2014 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow Manuel “Cowboy” Donley was a featured musician in The Trees of Govalle. Manuel “Cowboy” Donley is a Mexican-American singer, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, and arranger. Donley grew up in the Govalle neighborhood and got his start playing in East Austin. Today, he is credited as pioneer of Tejano music and is known both as a bandleader in the orquesta (Tejano) style as well as the trío romántico style. In addition to being a NEA National Heritage Fellow, Manuel Donley has been inducted in the Tejano Music Hall of Fame, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center in 2012, and has been honored with a community park dedication by the Austin Latino Music Association.
Many thanks to our 236 Kickstarter backers and the following project sponsors and partners!
Project Partners and Funders
Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Forestry Division
Austin Urban Forest Grant Program
The Texas Commission on the Arts
The Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department