I make dances with all kinds of people—from maintenance men to firefighters, Elvis impersonators to people and their guide dogs.
In 2009, I choreographed the biggest dance of my life—a trash truck ballet featuring 24 employees and 16 large sanitation vehicles from Austin’s Solid Waste Services Department.
I spent a year creating the dance, starting by riding out with employees. I went on 6am trash and recycling routes, helped collect dead animals, went with the overnight crew to clean downtown at 4am on New Year's day, rode to the landfill more times than I can count—all to learn about the day-to-day work of Austin's unsung heroes—the men and women who keep our city clean.
Now I want to do the dance one more time—well twice, actually. In 2009, we could afford to provide 700 seats. Somehow nearly 2,000 crammed in to see the show. We turned hundreds of people away at the gate. The Trash Project became one of the most talked about events in Austin—winning numerous awards including #1 Arts Event by The Austin American Statesman and #1 Dance Event by the Austin Chronicle. As soon as the show was over, I knew we had to do it one more time.
Since 2009, I have been strategizing about how to do it again, particularly how to accommodate more people. I received the go-ahead from Solid Waste Services last fall to move forward, and now we have one last shot!
On August 27th and 28th we will present two final encore performances of The Trash Project. The retired airport tarmac where the show takes place (the only space big enough within the Austin city limits) will become a grocery store soon. So this is really it.
For these August shows, I want to have 2,000 seats per show, allowing 4,000 people to see this remarkable dance one last time. But seats cost money—about $10 per person. We need to raise $20,000 just to cover the cost of the bleachers. The total production costs of the show are much higher.
THE SHOW WILL BE FREE, which is very important to me. I don’t want there to be any financial reason that someone can’t see the show. But to keep it free, we have to call on generous folks like yourselves to help us make it happen.
The Trash Project is not only an amazing performance to witness, it has had a real impact on the Solid Waste employees and the public. The employees were treated like rock stars after the show—people asking to have their autographs and photos taken with them. Even weeks later, people came up to performers on route or even in the grocery store thanking them for their work. And, nearly every week someone tells me how the dance really changed the way they think about the people who pick up our trash.
The process of making The Trash Project was such a gift for me. I made friends with the Solid Waste employees and got to know people I would never have met any other way. And then the show—the show was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The whole time I was watching it, all I could think was "I can’t believe I am seeing this!" And, "Wait it's going by too fast!"
Please help me put on The Trash Project one more time. This is the biggest thing I have ever taken on as an artist. With your help, I can do it one more time.