Interview: Allison Orr of Forklift Danceworks
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Allison Orr, the choreographer whose work was the subject of Andrew Garrison’s fascinating documentary Trash Dance, creates massive-scale dance productions that often involve people with no background in dance movement (such as public power and sanitation workers). On behalf of Forklift Danceworks, where she is artistic director, Allison has run two Kickstarter projects (here and here). We asked her a couple of questions.
When did you start doing public works on a massive scale?
The Trash Project (documented by Andrew Garrison’s Trash Dance) was the first piece that we produced for 1,000+ people. We did The Trash Project for the first time in 2009. Before 2009, I had done large-scale outdoor events, but those dances saw audiences of about 500 or so. So The Trash Project was a huge leap forward in terms of scale.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a series of dances with baseball teams. The first performance goes up in May with the Huston-Tillotson Ram’s on historic Downs Field in Austin, TX, and this dance is exploring Negro League Baseball history in Austin (Downs Field was home to the Austin Black Senators - one of Austin’s Negro League teams). I am also traveling to Kyoto, Japan in September to create a dance with the Women’s Professional Baseball League. I can’t wait!
What’s the next project for Forklift Danceworks?
We are in the planning stages for some really exciting projects with two City of Austin departments (like our previous projects with Austin Energy and Austin Resource Recovery/Sanitation). We are continuing to think and strategize about how to deepen our exploration of community-based dance making. The work never ends!
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