Our Mission, Values, and Vision

For over 20 years, Forklift Danceworks has created inclusive, one-of-a-kind performance projects that share stories, build understanding, and create community. With a mission to activate communities through a collaborative creative process, Forklift has reached over 50,000 people with free performances that typically feature the people whose work sustains our everyday lives. Additionally, Forklift Danceworks partners with different communities across the world to train local artists and government staff on the unique Forklift collaborative creative process. Through our artistic programming and coaching, Forklift builds capacity for more informed civic dialogue, greater collaboration between individuals, and stronger connections and leadership across communities. 

Past partners have included the City of Austin’s Aquatics, Fire, Power, Sanitation, Urban Forestry and Watershed Protection Departments. The company has also partnered with Goodwill of Central Texas, Williams College Dining Services, Wake Forest University Facilities Services and Wesleyan University Custodial, Grounds and Physical Plant teams. Internationally, the company has created performances with the Japanese Women’s Professional Baseball League in Kyoto, Japan, ROTEB employees in Rotterdam, Venetian gondoliers, and Barcelona sanitation employees. 

A national leader in community-based art making, the company has been recognized throughout its twenty+ year history for its artistic excellence and innovation. Forklift artists have collectively received 40+ nominations and awards for their work together. The company has been commissioned internationally and featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Dance Magazine, BBC Radio, PBS, and NPR. In recent years, Artistic Director Allison Orr has been named a MacDowell Fellow, a Dance/USA Fellow in Social Change, and a Doris Duke US Artist Fellow, recognizing her as one of the most compelling artists working in the USA today. Orr’s book Dance Works: Stories of Creative Collaboration was published by Wesleyan University Press in 2022.