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Last year something miraculous happened in Austin. Choreographer Allison Orr's performance piece "The Trash Project" came to fruition. It felt as though the entire city gathered to watch as municipal waste employees danced with garbage trucks, showing the grace and skill that comes with their job's territory.
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It was remarkable. Rarely do we see, or even acknowledge those who quietly fill the gaps in our daily life -- removing our waste or paving our streets as we drive by, mindlessly going about our routines. But Orr sees all, and she understands the subtle choreography that accompanies labor. She spent six months with the workers, going out on shifts and lifting dumpsters alongside them. All the while explaining that there is art in their struggle, and that what they do is beautiful.
Finally, dozens of trash collectors volunteered to participate in the dance. Some operated cranes, slowly turning them in time to classical music, while others leapt from the backs of moving vehicles or played the harmonica. The show brought tenderness to otherwise intimidatingly large trucks which slowly pirouetted across the asphalt.
Graham Reynolds, Austin's eccentric genius composer and pianist, scored the production and played it live with his hand-chosen ensemble of avant-garde musicians. The show became a community rallying point and also the subject of a documentary called Trash Dance, we'll get to see the project unfold through the lens of filmmaker Andrew Garrison during VideoFest's Dallas premiere screening.
It's one of roughly twenty movies filling out the documentary category of the Dallas VideoFest, which is also showing a strong collection of narrative works, experimental media art, Q&A's with directors, workshops and more. Basically, it's where you'll see culturally significant cinematic work that you can't experience anywhere else, and it's all happening at the Dallas Museum of Art from September 27 to 30. Get more information on the fest's line up here.