I am a choreographer who is inspired by the movement of everyday life. With fellow choreographer Krissie Marty, we as Forklift Danceworks have made dances with over 25 groups of people who don’t think of themselves as dancers—from firefighters to baseball players, electric linemen to warehouse employees.
Building upon the success of our past (and Kickstarter funded!) projects The Trash Project (2009/11)—a dance for the employees of Austin’s sanitation department, PowerUP (2013)—a dance for Austin energy technicians and linemen, and The Trees of Govalle (2015)—a dance featuring the City of Austin’s Urban Forestry employees, we are now embarking on our next civic project—My Park, My Pool, My City.
Centered around one of Austin’s greatest treasures—our public pools—this project will feature the dedicated Aquatics lifeguards and staff who keep Austin swimming. This project was created by invitation of Parks & Recreation Director Sara Hensley who asked Krissie and me, “Will you please do pools next?!” Austin is facing an infrastructure crisis with our city pool system, as many of our pools are leaking and desperately need upgrading. Knowing this, My Park, My Pool, My City has been designed to build appreciation for the folks who steward our Aquatics system and create deeper understanding and connection between city staff, neighborhood residents and citizens from all around Austin who now must address one of the most complex issues facing our city—how to solve our city pool crisis.
So, each year for three years, we’ll be focusing on one East Austin neighborhood and bringing residents and city employees together to tell the story of these vital community gathering places. 3 years, 3 pools, 3 dances.
We are beginning at Bartholomew Pool, premiering the first of the three dances July 21-22 & 28-29 of this year. A recently renovated pool, Bartholomew is very popular with families and kids. There are often lines out of the front gate for people to get in. Bartholomew was also the first integrated public pool in Austin, and by working with longstanding neighborhood residents we are eager to tell the story of why this pool means so much to so many in our city.
In the process of making these three dances over three years, we will also explore the histories, stories, and relationships between Austin citizens, Parks employees, and their neighborhood pools. So in addition to creating original performances, we’ll host town hall gatherings, community workshops, documentary film screenings, and—of course—pool parties leading up to and following each show.
My Park, My Pool, My City will be entirely free for audiences to attend--including everything from workshops, to film screenings, to the performances. The dances will be accompanied by original music composed and directed by Graham Reynolds, and production and lighting design by Stephen Pruitt. For an estimated audience of 2,500 people over eight performances, our costs for music, lighting and the set will be $40,000, and we are hoping to raise $15,000 with this Kickstarter.
Join us! Help us create My Park, My Pool, My City. Help us celebrate these vital community gathering places. Help us use dance to activate conversations in our city. Help us show some love for Austin’s pools! Help us make art for EVERYONE!
Much love, Allison and Krissie
Video Credits: Camera, Chris Walker and Christian Remde; Editing, Chris Walker
Video featuring Amanda Weems, Pool Manager at Bartholomew Pool
Project photo by Julian Johnson
Risks and challenges
We are enthusiastically moving forward creating the July premiere of My Park, My Pool, My City. Our biggest challenge, which is always true in our work, is fundraising. We are committed to presenting this dance as a free show, and we are also determined to pay our artists a fair wage for their work. Working on the scale that we do, with large audiences and a commitment to artistic excellence and integrity, means that our performances require funding partners. A successful Kickstarter will help us leverage the positive support for this project, encouraging other backers to come on board.
Making the art is never the hard part—it's the fundraising. The sooner we raise the money, the sooner we can get back to making this the amazing dance we know it can be. Help us make that happen!
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