Trash Dance tells the story behind a piece by Austin dance instructor Allison Orr in collaboration with the city’s trash collectors — an enormous ballet that sets garbage trucks and other heavy machines into elegant motion. (The Austin American-Statesman named it Austin’s “best art event” of last year.) In the documentary’s project video, we see Orr’s struggles in convincing the city’s sanitation workers to participate — they are dubious, and understandably so.
Over the trailer’s ten minutes (too long under normal circumstances, but here essential viewing), Orr’s plan comes together. Along the way we meet Don Anderson, supervisor of Austin’s Anti-Litter department and maybe our favorite person that we’ve come across in a Kickstarter video.
We first encounter Don at the 5:30 mark. “The idea of dancing with trucks… It just didn’t sink in right away,” he says. A minute later we see him again: “Let it be known, let everyone see, that we’re not just these dirty people that pick up garbage,” he says with conviction. “There’s some grace to what we do.”
He proves it. “It’s this soft, subtle thing, kind of romantic,” he says about the piece’s delicate score. “And I’m thinking to myself, how can I make a big ol’ hunk of machine be romantic?” And then we see him softly swinging the arm of a crane, the movement graceful and evocative. An “aha” moment as beautiful as can be.
Trash Dance (directed by Andrew Garrison) demonstrates how the everyday can be made artistic, that anyone can create. It’s a belief we hold dear at Kickstarter, and this film illustrates it stunningly. Give it a look.