May will be a big month for Allison Orr. As she gears up for her dance company’s next project in September, she’ll urge fans of Forklift Danceworks to watch a documentary of the group’s most well-known performance. She’ll also dance under the sparkling glow of a disco ball for Forklift’s annual fundraiser at Zach Theatre’s Nowlin Studio.
“Remember when you would go to dances in middle school and just cut loose? Just not care at all how you looked? This is going to be like that,” Orr said about the May 18 event called Studio 54klift: I Love You But I’ve Chosen Disco.
She said DJ Mahealani — who has been in charge of music at other benefit bashes, including art gallery Women and Their Work’s April gala and past Studio 54klifts — will provide the dance-inducing tunes while Rebecca Havemeyer will act as mistress of ceremonies. Additionally, VIP ticket buyers will enjoy an hour of cocktails and small bites from some of Austin’s popular restaurants and chefs, including Casey Wilcox of Justine’s Brasserie, an East Fifth Street bungalow serving up French cuisine.
Studio 54klift raises money to help sustain Forklift and its future dance projects, which Orr said will continue to be unique by incorporating people not typically found pirouetting across a stage. So far, she has featured employees with the City of Austin’s Solid Waste Services Department in “Trash Project,” Tuesday night regulars at Playland Skate Center, a rink off U.S. 183, in “SKATE!” and, most recently, Austin Symphony conductor Peter Bay in “Solo Symphony,” a three-day show last summer at the Long Center for the Performing Arts.
Perhaps the most memorable one was 2011’s “Trash Project,” in which trash collectors and their trucks gathered on the tarmac of the old Mueller airport to show off the moves involved in the usually unglamorous process of picking up garbage. A documentary called “Trash Dance,” one of the films shown at South by Southwest last year, captured the history and process behind the awe-inspiring performance.
“Trash Dance,” after spending the past year on the festival circuit, will premiere May 3 for a wider audience at Violet Crown Cinema on West Second Street. Though only scheduled there for six days, the film may run longer if reception is good, Orr said— and if audiences who see it agree with her opinion of “Trash Dance,” it just might. “It’s a standalone piece of art on its own,” she said. “It’s not just about the dance. It’s such a beautiful film that tells the story in ways I couldn’t have on my own.”
When Orr isn’t cooking up the choreography behind these unusual shows, she’s a mom to a 2-year-old and a 7-year-old, so she certainly has her hands full. “We love going out to eat, and it’s pretty much a tour of South Congress,” she said, listing off Perla’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, Lucky Robot Japanese Kitchen and Guero’s Taco Bar as some of their favorites.
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