National Endowment for the Arts: “Art at the Intersection: Allison Orr”

Founder and Artistic Director of Forklift Danceworks
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EASTside Magazine: “A Dance Fusion {Forklift Dancers}”

Reimagining Performative Dance with a Sprinkle of Manual Labor
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Mills Quarterly: “And the Show Goes On…”

Graduates of the Mills dance program continue creating unique companies and work that celebrates social justice.
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Texas Monthly: “A Sanitation Worker, a Climate Scientist, and a Modern Dancer Walk Onto a Stage . . .”

. . . and Allison Orr, the founder of Forklift Danceworks, helps them turn their everyday movements into choreography with a mission.
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Next City: “What I Learned Making Dances With Firefighters And Sanitation Workers”

A choreographer works with city employees to create unlikely performances that share the movement and stories of their work and lives.

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The Austin Chronicle: “Choreographer Alison Orr’s New Book Dances Across the Page”

“Dance Works recounts 23 years of Forklift Danceworks as a force for community change”.

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Mid-America Arts Alliance: “50 stories | Funding Arts Innovation”

“Forklift presents site-specific civic spectacles that reveal the beauty of everyday movement. They have the distinction of attaining more Artistic Innovations grants [from M-AAA] than any other organization or individual since the grant’s inception.”

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Austin American-Statesman: “Waller Creek watershed workers turn their work into art”

“So how do choreographers with no experience in watershed management and city employees with no background in dance come together to create a work of art?”

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Sightlines: “Dances with watersheds”

The project will trace the way water moves in Austin, said Krissie Marty, Forklift Associate Artistic Director and Community Collaborations Director. “Through the movement of work and community stories, ‘The Way of Water’ will delve into our deep ties to water — as a resource, recreation, and worksite — in Austin. We look forward to partnering with Austin Watershed Protection and neighborhoods to tell these stories.”

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Culture Map Austin: “Splash Dance”

“’The Way of Water’ brings an opportunity to elevate the work of our Watershed staff,” said assistant director of Austin Watershed Protection Ramesh Swaminathan in a press release. “Revealing the artistry of our field crews’ work, our collaboration with Forklift will help the public understand our staff’s challenges as they serve our community.”

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Arts and Culture Texas: The Way of Water

“How does water move, and who is watching that movement? Who is managing and protecting that? It’s fascinating for me to look at this as a choreographer…Water is a great connector, and the watershed touches so much in our city,” Krissie Marty said.

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Cool It with Art

Forklift’s My Park, My Pool, My City is featured in a new report from Boston’s Metropolitan Area Planning Council that addresses how to tackle rising temperatures through art.

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Sightlines: The Way of Water

“A project exploring water and the work of the people who steward it is next for Forklift Danceworks, Austin’s adventurous and celebrated performance group.”

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Glasstire: Dances for Dogs

“As a dog lover who has recently adopted a new puppy, I found it impossible to keep from smiling while watching Dances for Dogs and People Who Walk Them, a free performance and community event presented by Forklift Danceworks and the Austin Animal Center (AAC). The AAC’s front lawn became a dance floor as dogs and their human partners moved around to a score of jazzy music played by a live band. I wasn’t the only one enjoying the show: a sizable audience of people and pets on picnic blankets were clearly having a good time, too.”

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Austin Woman on Forklift Danceworks

Austin Woman profiles Allison Orr and Krissie Marty in advance of Forklift’s 20th Anniversary Platinum Party.

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Sightlines: Trucks Don’t Dance

“You can never go wrong with a greatest hits album, especially when its tracks involve trucks. ‘Trucks Don’t Dance’ is a new compilation by composer Graham Reynolds, in collaboration with Forklift Danceworks. It features eight compositions, a host of musicians, and a cause for celebration: Forklift turns 20 this year.”

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KMFA Classical Austin: Forklift Danceworks 20th Anniversary

Dianne Donovan interviews Allison Orr, Founder and Artistic Director of Forklift Danceworks about the company’s 20th Anniversary.

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Dance/USA: “All of Us Are Dancers”

“All three artists are trained dancers who have moved away from the conventional trappings of Western concert dance to explore and revel in the endless possibilities of human and non-human movement. They each challenge the arbitrary division between capital-D Dance and dance embedded in specific communities. They bring a dance mindset to bear on everyday activity and the everyday human body with its specialized knowledge culled from years of habituated movement as a result of work practices, disease, and aging. In so doing, the line between abstract postmodern dance and socially engaged creative practice blurs.”

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Austin Chronicle: On the Job

“In their brisk five-minute Q&A sessions, Orr and Marty manage not only to reconnect with these workers, but also to advocate for them by making those of us who benefit from city services aware of the added load employees are shouldering because of the coronavirus shutdown.”

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KUT Arts Eclectic: On the Job

“That realization inspired Forklift’s latest project, On the Job, which this time isn’t a dance at all but rather a document – comprising interviews and photographs – of the day-to-day lives of their collaborators, many of whom are considered essential workers and still doing their jobs every day.”

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Bloomberg Philanthropies Newsletter: On the Job

Bloomberg Philanthropies featured On the Job as the “Daily Inspiration” in their recent newsletter.

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MacDowell Colony Awards Fellowships

The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, has named the eighty-seven artists who will receive fellowships for the organization’s upcoming winter and spring residency program.

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Wake Forest Magazine: Under Her Spell

“After a rousing first blast by the eight-piece band of Austin, Wake Forest and Winston-Salem musicians, the carillon tolls a solemn welcome. Matthew Bennett walks the ground to locate underground wires. Tommy Crews and Ron Whitlock explain the ubiquitous cables and pipes running underneath campus. “Everybody’s walking on something. You’re walking on power,” the voice-over booms from loudspeakers on the Quad. The metaphor is apt; facilities staff are as critical, and often as invisible, as this grid.”

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Harvard Business Review

“The show, called ‘From the Ground Up,‘ was as colorful as it was unusual: Folks who do some of the least glamorous work (and least visible) on campus showcased their skills, creativity, and humor to the delight of the community.”

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Winston-Salem Monthly on From the Ground Up

“Synchronized mowing and a sweepers’ quintet are among the planned segments of the October performance on Hearn Plaza, and Orr expects an audience of more than 1,000 people to attend. And while the public performance is the grand finale of a yearlong project, Orr returns to the long-term impact of dance as a conversation starter and community builder.”

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Sightlines: Givens Swims Dives Deep Into a Community

“A faint violet crown rose in the east and the pool glimmered in blue light as Austin rap artist Nook Turner kicked things off straight into high gear with his anthem, ‘The A.’ The program swung between pounding energy and thoughtful reminiscence as the story of Givens unfolded. Turner is himself a community activist, engaged with reclaiming public space in East Austin.”

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KVUE on Givens Swims

“Forklift Danceworks put on a big show at Givens Pool for the ‘My Park, My Pool, My City’ project.”

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Decibel: A Pool Party for the People

Hear from community collaborators, performers, and Forklift’s Artistic Director Allison Orr in Decibel’s recent profile of Givens Swims.

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SoulCiti on Givens Swims

“Grooving in Givens Pool with [Jonathan] Tapscott and his fellow aquatics division crew during the performances you’ll see, and hopefully meet, people who have been helping shape the image of East Austin for decades. ‘This is necessary to showcase not only the need for the repair of the pools, but it’s also a chance to showcase the beauty of East Austin—what was, what is, and what can be’ says lap swimmer and local business and communications consultant Arlene Youngblood.”

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Spectrum News: Show Celebrates History of Givens District Pool

“Local performance group Forklift Danceworks and members of the East Austin community are celebrating the history of the Givens District Pool with a special performance. ‘This pool has a lot of history and a lot of great stories.’ – Pearl Cox, East Austin native and performer.”

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KUT Arts Eclectic on Givens Swims

Givens Swims collaborators share stories from the creative process with Arts Eclectic host Michael Lee.

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Wesleyan Students Partner with Employees

This Fall, Forklift artists supported six students at Wesleyan University to embed with Physical Plant employees, working alongside plumbers, movers, HVAC mechanics, and energy managers. The semester culminated in shared creative presentations for the students’ Environmental Studies class.

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Austin Chronicle Readers’ Poll 2018

Forklift Danceworks is thrilled to receive Best Choreographer for the third year running, as well as a Critics Pick Award for Best Efforts to Save Our Pools alongside our friends at Love Austin Pools!  Thank you to the Austin Chronicle, readers, and all our fans — we love you!

Austin American Statesman

Forklift Danceworks is one of 26 cultural organizations in Austin, TX to have received an unrestricted grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of the Arts and Innovation in Management Program.

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Forklift Danceworks is honored to have been awarded “Special Recognition” in Preservation Austin’s Merit Awards for My Park, My Pool, My City.

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“True inclusion means surrendering some artistic authority. It can also mean creating something that unabashedly trades on emotions rather than the heady conceptualism that’s crafted for only a few to understand. And none of that is easy for an arts world that — however liberal its veneer — ultimately equates artistic excellence with exclusivity. What’s still prized by the cultural establishment is the art work and the performance piece that obfuscates its own meaning and buries its emotion.” – Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

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“Still, this pool trilogy is different, connected directly to a civic crisis and the communities it affects, bringing that community into the process, listening, providing a forum for expression, and increasing visibility. And it’s done in the most artful way imaginable.” –Cindy Widner, Curbed

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The Creative Independent

“It was good for us all to be reminded that even though we might not think we’re using our imagination every day, it’s still there, and we don’t have to give up our creativity. We can still access it, even if it’s something that feels hard to do.” –Allison Orr, interviewed by T. Cole Rachel

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Arts and Culture Texas – July 2017

“It’s this call to action that makes Bartholomew Swims different from any prior Forklift work. In past projects…the goal was to reveal the hidden figures that keep Austin operational, highlighting their hard work. Bartholomew Swims, on the other hand, is intended as a ‘catalyst for moving people forward in a direction on something that matters to them,’ said [Forklift Associate Artistic Director Krissie] Marty.” – Claire Christine Spera

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Arts and Culture Texas

“Convention is not a part of Allison Orr’s vocabulary. The Forklift Danceworks artistic director has carved out a particular niche in the site-specific performance world of Texas—one that draws attention to the people and systems that keep our communities ticking, often without thanks or notice. This is Orr’s specialty: bringing the invisible to the forefront.” -Claire Christine Spera, Arts and Cuture Texas

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Austin Woman Magazine

“… Austin choreographer Allison Orr has persuaded the unlikeliest of folks to collaborate with her. Now Orr’s back at it again with another concept-busting dance performance. This time, the founder and artistic director of Forklift Danceworks has enlisted the people that keep our lights on and our AC running—the employees of Austin Energy.” – Julie Tereshchuk, Austin Woman Magazine

KUT 90.5

“In the face of disheartening news, Orr offers a chance to dance.” – Audrey McGlinchy, KUT (June 2017)

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Engaging Matters

“The [Trash Project] took the day-to-day work of an unappreciated and unrecognized city department and made it into an art form that won several awards. As the men and women in collections now pick up trash, recycling, brush and bulky items, and clean the streets we have a sense of pride. The public now comes up, saying they saw The Trash Project, and asks our employees for autographs.”  – Jermaine Defreeze, a Maintenance Worker Leader

“These “ordinary” people are important contributors to our society and important to our well-being. (Remember why Dr. King was in Memphis when he was assassinated?) For the arts to make a contribution to their sense of well-being and to the wider community’s appreciation of them is a powerful, important thing to do.”  – Doug Borwick, Engaging Matters, Arts Journal Blog

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The Austin Chronicle on “Solo Symphony”

“Man, you think you know an artist. Then along comes a project in which this artist takes you somewhere you didn’t expect to go, reveals a side you hadn’t seen before.”  – Robert Faires, The Austin Chronicle

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Il Nuovo Venezia on “The Gondola Project”

“Delizioso.” – Il Nuovo Venezia

KLRU Collective

“Allison Orr, with Forklift Danceworks, produced a creative ballet on a grand scale that introduced the audience to the real beauty in the work of our Solid Waste Services employees.” – Austin City Council Member Laura Morrison, KRLU Collective


“With her transformative, visionary power to see beauty, grace and elegance in the most unlikely places, Orr has reimagined the way we think about dance.” – Lisa Siva, Tribeza

Texas Monthly

“…[The King & I] manages to capture both the tragic and humorous facets of the legend’s legacy.”- Texas Monthly

Dance Magazine

“We are thrilled that the story behind dancemaker Allison Orr’s jarringly visceral The Trash Project—in which 24 employees of Austin’s Solid Waste Services Department animate the cranes, lights, and other features of 16 trucks on an old airport tarmac—has been captured in a documentary film.” – Kina Poon, Dance Magazine

The New York Times

“Garbage becomes art. Its primary subject is Allison Orr, a choreographer who sees elements of dance in unlikely places.  Ms. Orr’s project creates a way to both honor and celebrate the employees’ efforts.”  – New York Times, Arts Beat

The Austin Chronicle

“With Orr setting work on living creatures, the sense of community her productions invoke expanded beyond the civic, beyond even the human, to encompass the natural world.”-The Austin Chronicle

District Days at Historic Down FIeld and ‘Play Ball’

“He and his players performed the centerpiece entertainment created by Allison Orr, who has previously worked wonders with sanitation and utility workers. Prolific genius Graham Reynolds provided the ballpark musical score as the players emerged from the dark like so many ghosts from “Field of Dreams.”-Michael Barnes, Out and About

Texas Highways

“Award-winning Austin choreographer Allison Orr is lifting the old Texas saying—dance with the one that brung ya—to new heights.”- Texas Highways feature on Allison Orr as an extraordinary Texan

Scene in Austin

“She says people who haven’t performed before often don’t believe the public will show up to the performance, care about it, or think it will be any good. But Allison knows their fears will ultimately prove to be unfounded.” – Jamie Twitchel, Scene in Austin