Allison Orr
Austin, TX
2018 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.


Allison Orr creates award-winning choreography with unlikely performers—from sanitation workers to firefighters, Venetian gondoliers to power linemen. Orr’s dances feature the often-overlooked choreography of work that sustains our everyday lives, inspired by the beauty and virtuosity in the practiced, habitual movement of labor. Building on her background in anthropology and social work, over the past 20 years, Orr hones a methodology of ethnographic choreography that engages community members as coauthors and performers in the creation of large-scale civic spectacles.

Presented to audiences ranging from as small as sixty people to over six thousand, Orr’s works have been commissioned and supported by various presenters and funders including the Fusebox Festival, the Kyoto Arts Center, the MAP Fund, New England Foundation for the Arts, Engaging Dance Audiences/Dance USA, the NEA, the City of Austin, TX, and the City of Venice, Italy. Orr received an MFA in Choreography, studied with mentors Deborah Hay and Liz Lerman, and was recently named a Distinguished Fellow at Wesleyan University. She is the founder and artistic director of Austin-based Forklift Danceworks, where she collaborates with a team of artists including fellow choreographer Krissie Marty, designer Stephen Pruitt, and composer Graham Reynolds.

Photo by the artist.