Forklift Danceworks

Programs and Services: 

Our Mission

Forklift Danceworks celebrates the extraordinary in the ordinary by creating original performances inspired by the movement of everyday life. By engaging a diverse body of participants and audience through its performances, outreach programs, classes, and workshops, the company empowers all people to be actively engaged in the creative process.


Forklift values creativity, diversity, inclusivity, excellence and empowerment. The work produced by the company demonstrates its core belief that all people are inherently creative.


Forklift Danceworks envisions a world where art, movement and creativity are at the core of everyone’s daily life.

Brief Company History

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 steppers on the steps of the Texas Capitol, guide dogs and their owners, Austin Symphony Conductor Peter Bay, and most recently linemen and electrical technicians from Austin Energy. With a focus on relationship building, our community-engagement process aims to keep the community at the center of our art-making while creating innovative and award-winning art projects.

The Trash Project, the company's large scale-production with the City of Austin Sanitation Department, was named the #1 Arts Event of 2009 by the Austin-American Statesman, the #1 Dance Event by The Austin Chronicle, Most Outstanding Dance Concert by the Austin Critics Table, and is the subject of a feature-length documentary film entitled “Trash Dance” which received Audience Awards at Full Frame and Silverdocs Documentary Film Festivals and Special Jury Recognition at SXSW Film Festival. The company’s work has been recognized for numerous years as The Austin Chronicle’s top Dance and Theater events. Allison Orr has thrice been named the year’s most outstanding choreographer by The Austin Critics Table and as The Austin Chronicle’s “Best Movement Illuminator” in 2012. Forklift has garnered national attention with features in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Dance Magazine, Texas Monthly, BBC Radio, The National Geographic Channel and NPR.

Forklift’s ongoing community-based educational programs serve people who may not have access to dance any other way. Body Shift, in collaboration with VSA Texas, is currently the nation’s only ongoing program in mixed-ability dance. Leaps and Bounds provides free creative movement classes to children from low-income backgrounds and has served more than 5,000 people since its inception in 2001. Through our unique style of community-based dance making, Forklift seeks to broaden access to contemporary dance, engage wide and diverse communities, and spark the creative spirit.