Forklift Danceworks

Forklift Danceworks


We are so excited to announce "Dances for Dogs And The People Who Walk Them," a day-long community celebration on April 23 in partnership with Forklift Danceworks!

The day will feature an adoption event, shelter tours, and activity booths with local pet vendors and community partners.

Forklift Danceworks will choreograph a short performance at 2 pm that will feature the movement and stories of our staff, local dog lovers, and their dogs. For the finale, we invite you and your pup to join in for the Insta-Dog Dance!

A local community-based dance company, Forklift has collaboratively made performances with sanitation workers, power linemen, warehouse employees and more to show the movement and share the stories of the people that work to sustain our city. Swipe through to see some of their performances in Austin over the past 20 years.

We can't wait to show y'all what we've been working on together--stay tuned here and on Forklift's social media for more about the event!
Forklift Danceworks was founded by ACC graduate Allison Orr with the mission to activate communities through a collaborative creative process through dance and performance. Alexis, an ACC Dance student, recently got to attend their 20th anniversary gala! Follow along to meet some of the performers and make sure you watch until the end to see if they raise their $100,000 fundraising goal! 👀
Verde! Had an amazing time last week at the Austin FC game where we got to watch the premiere of this Forklift Danceworks video celebrating the behind the scenes stadium staff, which I got to score.

Thank you to Forklift Danceworks, Allison Orr, Andre Hayward, Jeremy Bruch, Ephraim Owens Music, and Alexis Ebbets Buffum
Amazing week at Wesleyan University with Forklift Danceworks! Playing squash with a professional (who also happened to be the bassoonist in our band), hiking in the Connecticut woods with the leaves in their fall colors, improvising with a fantastic steel pan player from Trinidad, homemade grappa from Montenegro, and so much more! Thank you to everyone at Forklift and Wesleyan for making this happen.

Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts
Wesleyan University College of the Environment
#WesCreative Wesleyan University Wesleyan University College of the Environment Forklift Danceworks Wesleyan University Alumni
Via The Middletown Press: "New multi-site outdoor play celebrates Wesleyan University facilities workers." Don't miss Forklift Danceworks: "WesWorks"—A Performance with Wesleyan University Facilities Staff this weekend. #WesCreative Forklift Danceworks Wesleyan University College of the Environment Wesleyan University Alumni
#WesCreative Wesleyan University Forklift Danceworks Wesleyan University College of the Environment Wesleyan University Alumni Forklift Danceworks: "WesWorks"—A Performance with Wesleyan University Facilities Staff
Next weekend are the three free outdoor performances of Forklift Danceworks: "WesWorks"—A Performance with Wesleyan University Facilities Staff. Go behind the scenes of the performance on the blog here: #WesCreative Wesleyan University Forklift Danceworks Wesleyan University College of the Environment Wesleyan University Alumni
Hi friends! We at Forklift Danceworks have our next show coming up in two weeks not far from Williams College!

Forklift Danceworks: "WesWorks"—A Performance with Wesleyan University Facilities Staff will take place Oct 14-16 at Wesleyan University in Middletown.

Come join us for the 7p show and meet your fellow (dancing!) campus staff members. Much love - Allison Orr and the Forklift team. Williams Dining
Today, we were paid a visit from 3rd year, Fontys Academie voor Theater students, who came to join a talk led by ICAF Director, Jasmina on an introduction to community arts.

The talk focussed on what community arts looks like worldwide today, and explored not only the diverse forms and different paths community arts can take, but also the commonalities in the core missions and values that interlink this vast network of people and practices.

Students were then tasked with investigating their own needs and requirements to be able to engage with communities, as well as their position as artists within wider society today.

The talk had an international outlook, in line with ICAF, and included examples of the many incredible collaborations and partnerships we have developed over the years and from across continents, disciplines and contexts, including Drama Box (Singapore), Barrio Comparsa (Colombia), Forklift Danceworks (USA) and BighART (Australia).

Thanks to the students who took part today.
At this time two years ago, Cynthia Wilson, below, team lead on the custodial staff at Wake Forest, was rehearsing like crazy with Allison Orr ('93) for "From the Ground Up," an innovative performance on the Quad to highlight the talents of Facilities & Campus Services. Orr's Forklift Danceworks is featuring profiles of Wilson and other collaborators over the past 20 years at Read Wake Forest Magazine's 2020 story on the performance at Photos by Ken Bennett Forklift Danceworks
Thursday, October 14 through Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 7pm starting at Wesleyan University's Andrus Field, 55 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown, Connecticut: Forklift Danceworks' "WesWorks—A Performance with Wesleyan University Facilities Staff," a multi-site, free outdoor performance that features the movement and stories of Wesleyan University employees as directed by Forklift Danceworks of Austin, Texas. The company is led by Artistic Director Allison Orr, Distinguished Fellow in the College of the Environment and Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies. Read more: FREE! RSVP required. Reservations will be available online starting tomorrow, Wednesday, September 1, 2021 at 11am. #WesCreative Wesleyan University College of the Environment

Activating Communities Through Creative Collaboration Founded in 2001 by Artistic Director Allison Orr, Forklift Danceworks actively engages wide and diverse communities through the creation of unique dance projects featuring all kinds of people.

Using the movement that comes from daily life as the choreographic starting point and casting community members as the primary performers in these projects, Forklift presents dances in intimate theaters to massive outdoor venues. With past projects in over 20 various communities, previous dances have included City of Austin sanitation workers, City of Austin firefighters, Venetian gondoliers, two

Operating as usual


The Forklift fam is growing! We're so excited to announce that Forklift has hired Vanessa Alvarado-Flores as our Senior Development Associate. Say hey to Vanessa in the comments and learn more about her below! 👋💖

Born and raised in deep South Texas - aka the Rio Grande Valley - Vanessa is a proud Fronteriza of Mexican heritage. She lives by Howard Thurman’s quote, “Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

What makes Vanessa come alive is following her heart into uncharted territory - what has been seemingly non-existent or impossible - for someone like her with her type of cultural, social, economic background. For example, saying yes to training in New York City at the Atlantic Acting School - Evening Conservatory and somehow happily surviving in the great big apple for three fabulous years. OR like working at Forklift - a celebrated innovative arts organization - when no one ever told her that working full-time in the arts was an actual thing to want!

She comes alive as an actor, singer/songwriter, cultural worker building community with other artists, and as a performer and producer of dance performances with Frontera Dance Project - a dance collaboration based in the Rio Grande Valley, which she co-founded with Choreographer, Erica Garza, in 2019. Creating, co-creating, and working with humans who love to imagine and make big ideas come true gives her life.

Vanessa graduated with a Master of Liberal Arts from St. Edward’s University and with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a minor in Hispanic Studies from Texas A&M University.


We're blown away by the spirit of generosity that was flowing yesterday, y'all! Thanks to 107 people, we raised $6,105 to support our performances and programs in 2022. Thank you for every like, share, gift--it truly means the world to us at Forklift. 🪐💙✨


We're feeling the love at Forklift--81 shining lights have lifted us to $4,460!

Help us get to $5k by 6pm today by chipping in here:

And, add in the comment box at checkout to get $25 added to your gift!


Austin's pools, baseball fields, and parks are our stage at Forklift.

Our performances take you to the off-the-beaten-path, iconic, and in-between places across Austin.

Help us keep shining on the places that make Austin, well, Austin.

Thanks to our generous donors we've raised $2,330 so far towards our $10,000 goal.

Chip in here to support our work celebrating Austin's favorite places.

Plus, enter in the public message box at check out and Tito’s will add an extra $25 to your donation, free of charge to you.


At Forklift, we believe there are stories in everyone.

Last year, to bring our stories to you, we created audio portraits of 20 people who have danced with Forklift in 20 years. The series took you on the job with a Venetian gondolier, an Italian baker, an HBCU baseball coach, and many more.

Your donation this Amplify Austin helps us lift up stories that connect us to our communities. Make a gift now to help us reach out $10,000 goal and enter as you check out to get an extra $25 added to your donation, free of charge.

Give here:

Donate | Amplify Austin Day 2022 03/02/2022

Donate | Amplify Austin Day 2022

Amplify the Artistry of Work!

The careful sculpture of trimming trees, maneuvering machinery that maintains grass, the swaying of skimming pools. Forklift’s performances show you the deft, daring, and sometimes delicate movement of work.

You can help us shine a spotlight on the artistry of work by giving to Forklift this Amplify Austin. Make a gift now to help us reach our goal of $10,000!

Donate | Amplify Austin Day 2022 Thank you for making a difference in our community!


The Forklift team is growing! Say hello to our new Development Manager Kelly Schaber!

Kelly Schaber has a lifelong passion for filmmaking, art and community. Through her work she seeks to illuminate social causes; weaving themes of access to art, culture, education, mental health resources, and creative storytelling into every project.

Kelly is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘Em!) with a Masters in Human Dimensions of Organizations, a degree that draws on disciplines in the humanities and social and behavioral sciences to understand the behavior and motivations of people.

She has also directed short documentaries to help support the development goals of community organizations and nonprofits, including Inside Books Project, Inspire Austin, and You Are Not Alone Mural Project.

Austin FC Collaboration 02/26/2022

Austin FC Collaboration

Austin FC is back in the Q2 Stadium for their first game of the season! 🌳🤍⚽️💚

We salute the hardworking FC staff as they get Austin match ready:

Austin FC Collaboration A video project focusing on the movement of the workers that support Austin FC and the Q2 Stadium. Produced in partnership with E4Youth, Gensler, and Austin FC.…


Another excellent event coming up this Sunday from Spectrum Theatre Company!

We could not afford to not do something for Black History Month. Please join us as we are "Declaring Black Greatness" on next Sunday, February 27, 2022 at 7 pm CST.

On Facebook Watch and Zoom.


The weather will be warming up this Sunday for a bike and brunch event celebrating the legacy of Black Austin women this .

Presented by Six Square Austin's Black Cultural District and Black History Bike Ride, the event kicks off at Waterloo Greenway and ends with an exclusive walkthrough of the Carver Museum's newest exhibition, and a light brunch.

Buy tickets here at the link below or email [email protected] if you're interested in volunteering to support the event!


Our tails are wagging y'all because we have the date for our first dance in Austin since 2019 ! 🐕‍🦺💃🏼❤️

We've partnered up with the Austin Animal Center to present Dances for Dogs, a day-long community event on April 23 featuring a dog adoption event, shelter tours, and activity booths with local pet vendors and community partners.

A short performance at 2pm will feature the movement and stories of Austin Animal Center workers, local dog lovers, and their dogs. And for the finale, we invite you and your pup to join the Insta-Dog Dance!

Make sure you're subscribed to our email list so you'll be in the loop when we first release free tickets for the event:


“This pool is legendary” – NOOK Turner

Givens District Park was one of three Texas parks to be recently named Lone Star Legacy Park by the Texas Recreation and Parks Society, a designation for iconic gathering spaces that have historic, architectural, and natural significance.

Of course, Givens has always been iconic in East Austin. In summer 2019, Forklift collaborated with the Givens community to present Givens Swims, a performance that told the story of this legendary space through the voices and movements that have long lived, worked, and played here.


It's puppy love whenever Forklift visits the Austin Animal Center. Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!


Happy Birthday to our fabulous founder Allison Orr!✨💖

Photos from Forklift Danceworks's post 02/11/2022

We've had the absolute pleasure at Forklift to dance with more than 1500 people, who in their day jobs are sanitation workers, lifeguards, arborists, Elvis impersonators, and many more.

To commemorate our 20th anniversary last year, we called up 20 people who have danced with Forklift to catch up and share their stories as audio portraits.

Grab a pair of headphones and go On the Job with our collaborators here:


Last but not least, for our 20th portrait for 20 years of Forklift and counting, is Trey Longoria from Austin Energy! 🌟⚡💡

A Distribution Electrician Crew Leader and a third generation lineman, Longoria performed in PowerUP, a dance with the employees and machinery of Austin's public electric utility.

In the show, Longoria played accordion for the "Lineman's Conjunto," accompanying 16 lineman that strung power lines between soaring utility poles.

In this audio portrait, he reflects on what life is like sitting on a 45 foot utility pole and what he remembers about dancing with Forklift.

Check it out here:

For our On The Job project we're profiling 20 collaborators from 20 performances, as we celebrate our 20th year, reflecting on the people we've danced with the the performances we've created together.

Photos from Austin Energy's post 02/04/2022

Thanks to Austin Energy for keeping us all powered up! ⚡ Stay warm, y'all!

Photos from Forklift Danceworks's post 01/30/2022

Wow, are we lucky to have Krissie Marty in our lives! An effervescent presence, a grounded leader, and an incredibly warm human, she sees beauty everywhere and in everyone. Today, she's celebrating a big birthday. Happy 50th Krissie Marty!

Photos from Forklift Danceworks's post 01/27/2022

Meeting our new collaborators at the Austin Animal Center this week! 🐾💙

Yesterday, we visited the center and caught up with our friends on staff, toured the center's medical areas, and met some adorable dogs and cuddly cats as we prepare for "Dances for " in April.

We can't wait to get these doggies dancin'!

Photos from Forklift Danceworks's post 01/26/2022

to when we made a dance with Rotterdam sanitation workers.

Go behind the scenes here:


"After the dance, people are coming together--and are stronger together."

Edwin Turk, functional application manager at Clean City in Rotterdam, reflected on how collaborating with Forklift brought his team together.

Forklift visited Rotterdam in 2017 as part of ICAF, sharing collaborative art-making processes and making connections through art internationally.

For our On The Job project we're profiling 20 collaborators from 20 performances, as we celebrate our 20th year, reflecting on the people we've danced with the the performances we've created together.

Hear from Edwin here:

Videos (show all)

WesWorks: A Performance with Wesleyan University Facilities Staff
Reflect on 20 Years and Toast to Forklift's Future!
Trucks Don't Dance on Vinyl
Texas Playboys x Forklift
"Trash Dance" Trailer
Take Me Out to Downs Field
Mauricio in the Trees


-unforgettable dances with all kinds of peoples, often with performers one might not typically think of as dancers

-community-based performances that educate, provoke thought, and remind us of our connections to each other

-workshops and classes for all kinds of movers- both trained dancers and people completely new to dance



2023 E Cesar Chavez St
Austin, TX

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