As the Artistic Director of Forklift Danceworks, I make dances with all kinds of people—from maintenance men to firefighters, rollers skaters to people and their guide dogs. In 2009 and again in 2011 I directed the The Trash Project—a massive dance for the employees and vehicles of Austin's sanitation department. This was the biggest dance of my life, and since its premier I have been searching for what my next project could be. I've decided that all I can do is...go UP!
On September 21st and 22nd I will premier my next production— a FREE performance for 5000 people featuring the employees and machinery of Austin's municipal power company. This dance will be a massive outdoor production—a set of 20 utility poles, bucket trucks weaving in and out, cranes extending 100+ feet into the air, and 50+ linemen climbing and performing aesthetically sculpted choreography that intertwines their physical work—high wire repairs, fixing electrical grids, and responding to power emergencies—with personal narratives of the long process it takes to become an expert at the job.
All of this will be accompanied by original music..and not just any kind of music. A LIVE orchestra performing a score by Austin's celebrated composer Graham Reynolds, conducted by Austin Symphony Conductor Peter Bay! The orchestra and this commissioned score will cost $30,000--think of all the members of the orchestra, the time spent rehearsing...it's a lot, but well worth it. This Kickstarter campaign is specifically focused on covering half of that cost. Having a live orchestra is absolutely essential for this dance, in addition to supporting the hardworking classical musicians of our fair city.
I have been shadowing and getting to know these employees for nearly two years now. These men—and the field crews are all men—are a unique and fascinating group of people. Linemen are true cowboys—people who are willing to do whatever it takes, in all kinds of weather and at great personal risks, to make sure you and I can turn the lights on every day. These men are also big talkers, characters, risk takers, and—believe it or not—dancers. All of their work relies upon highly choreographed movement. One wrong move and someone could die. And they rely upon each other—moving like a highly trained group of dancers—to make sure the work gets done right every day.
The ultimate goal in creating this dance is for the performance to give the audience a deeper appreciation, respect, and understanding for the work of our public power employees—work which supports all of our lives going well on a daily basis. The dance will also show the beauty and artistry inherent in this job, creating a deeper connection to the human being behind the work.
Help us make this dance happen. Help us make this music happen. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us to do this dance right. Help be a part of something epic!
Camera: Olivia DeBeck & Krissie Marty
Editing: Marissa Luna-Padron
Produced by Krissie Marty
Extra-Special Thanks to Humberto A. Perez & Cougar Productions, Connally High School
Trash Project footage courtesy of TRASH DANCE, a documentary directed by Andrew Garrison. TRASH DANCE is coming to Theaters, DVD & Online in Spring 2013. Visit trashdancemovie.com for more information and to learn how to see the film!
Risks and challenges
I began work on this dance in 2011, and this project will be performed on September 21st or 22nd come hell or high water! All of my artistic collaborators are on board, the linemen are willing and ready to go, and the City of Austin is behind this project 100%. The only thing that stands in our way is fundraising! As this is an entirely free show, we have to raise all of the money in advance. This kickstarter is a critical step in our fundraising plan, and a successful kickstarter will show other potential supporter that we have the wide support to make this project happen.
Making the art is never the hard part—it's the fundraising. The sooner we raise the money, the sooner I can get back to making this the amazing dance I know it can be. Help us make that happen!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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