Ride along with choreographer Allison Orr and her civic collaborators as they reflect on their dances together
In 2001, Allison Orr made a dance with 13 City of Austin firefighters. Over the next 20 years, her unique practice of collaborating with city employees flowered into civic storytelling through movement at public pools, tableaus of power line workers shimmying up 40' poles in front of 5000 people, and intricate choreography of trash trucks on a misty tarmac. Part memoir, part guide, the artist reflects on her major collaborations and shares interviews with people she's made dances with over the past two decades. Power line workers, sanitation workers, and firefighters reflect on their memories of performing with Forklift and the lasting impact those dances made. Alongside larger conversations in the arts, Orr offers a look at how to create community-based art projects, how the creative process can bring people together to address civic issues, and the beauty of choreographing the day to day. An appendix and online companion include budget information, full cast and crew lists, participant survey results, and more.
Acknowledgements • Foreword, Liz Lerman •Beginnings • Chapter 1: Dances with firefighters, Venetian gondoliers, people and their dogs, and Elvis impersonators (1999-2004) • Chapter 2: Trucks don't dance (2005-2009) • Chapter 3: The employees of electric service delivery (2010-2013) • Chapter 4: Dances for a historic baseball field, city trees, neighborhood pools, zoom rooms and more (2014-2021) • Appendix One: The Steps: A Review of Forklift's practices for collaborative performance • Appendix Two: Major Works
"A spellbinding story of an artist's journey to inspiring and facilitating creativity in 'ordinary' people. If more firefighters, sanitation workers, and electrical grid professionals were involved in 'doing' art as described here, the arts—and our communities—would be far healthier. Dance Works is an extremely important contribution to the field. -Doug Borwick, author of Building Communities, Not Audiences"
"The book aims to be accessible and relatable, offering guidance to artists, organizers, and individuals on how to bring diverse people together through inclusive artmaking processes....[Orr's] incredible journey, belief in the power of art, and dedication to community engagement serve as inspirations for artists and individuals to come together, celebrate the contributions of diverse communities, and strive for positive change."~Shanon Weaver, The Austin Chronicle
"Dance Works demonstrates how live community performance can help us appreciate each other more. The spectacle reaches people in a memorable and emotional way that educational pamphlets or lectures simply can't."~Kristen Lawson, Dance International