Discipline: Interdisciplinary Art – movement

Allison Orr

Discipline: Interdisciplinary Art – movement
Region: Austin, TX
MacDowell Fellowships: 2021

From sanitation workers to firefighters, Venetian gondoliers to professional baseball players, power linemen to forestry technicians, Allison Orr creates award-winning choreography with unlikely performers. Inspired by the beauty and virtuosity in the practiced movement of labor, Allison’s dances feature the often-overlooked choreography of work that sustains our everyday lives. Building on her background in anthropology and social work, over the past 20 years Allison has honed a method of ethnographic choreography that engages community members as co-authors in the creation of large-scale civic spectacle.

At MacDowell, she was working on a book about her dancemaking process, which uses interviews with dozens of past collaborators to tell the story of just how these dances are made.

Portrait by Sarah Bork



Allison Orr worked in the Eastman studio.

Thanks to the generous support of MacDowell Fellow and board member Louise Eastman, this century-old farm building was reinvented as a modern, energy efficient live and workspace for visual artists. Originally built in 1915 to house a forge and provide storage when the residency program was expanding, this small barn was simply converted for…

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