For seven days, Forklift Danceworks choreographers were in residence with Gemeente Rotterdam and their sanitation department at the invitation of Rotterdam Wijktheater. Big thanks to the Network of Ensemble Theatres, Jasmina Ibrahimovic and the International Community Arts Festival for making this exchange and collaboration possible.
Day 1-Meeting the dancers
Just after checking into their hotel, our artists Allison Orr and Krissie Marty went to meet their dancers– people who clean up the city of Rotterdam in The Netherlands.
Edwin Turk talks us through the many different colored containers used by the city, their purposes and his disbelief that the citizens of Rotterdam actually recycle.
From Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to the streets of Rotterdam, it’s sanitation yard and hotel treats, scroll through Krissie’s Instagram post of their first day.
Allison sits in the driver’s seat of a trash truck.
Day 2-Gettting to work
Our choreographers get outfitted, began their research by job shadowing with a crane operator and the workers who sweep the streets of Rotterdam.
Here is a crane, and some dumpsters, like you’ve never seen before. We don’t have the likes of these in USA.
Marcel and Mabrouk drive street sweepers and work in conjunction with water sprayers and other workers on foot who use pickers, blowers and brooms (scroll through Krissie’s Instagram post below to see more). These drivers navigate space of streets, sidewalks and bike paths masterfully!
Day 3 – Riding out
Another day of research with the big trucks and, believe it or not, a poop machine. Casting and early rehearsals begin.
Joop gives us a demonstration of his poop machine.
How a Forklift show gets cast. We show the amazing work of performers in our previous projects…
…and talk people into joining us!
Allison still has her rear-loading skills from Austin’s Trash Project and a choreography study.
Day 4 – Rehearsals
It’s not a bad day when the Feyenoord Soccer Stadium becomes your dance studio. After a production afternoon of rehearsal (only one of two!), the full cast shared a meal.
Working out the containers with camera by Jeffery.
A glimpse of the cannon of the sweepers’ brooms “out of the boat” first and then “in the boat” both with a great view of our rehearsal studio.
What a crew!
The guys introduce themselves. We are missing Vivian the one female Roteb employee who performed with us and at this dinner Tony arranged for his wife Lillian and dog Kofi to join us for the show too!
Day 5 – Show Day
Wow, what a performance for the International Community Arts Festival audience. After a final rehearsal in the rain, in true Forklift tradition, we had a great (and dry) show. And the guys share some post-show reactions.
On our way to rehearsal, Edwin (Roteb crane operator) has a sweet message to Don Anderson (Crane soloist from Trash Dance):
In the time we have been here with Allison & Krissie I got a lot of respect for the workers in America. Most of you have a second job to make ends meet while we complain about the hard work we have here. In this my sincere apology and I will never complaints can if we have to do some more work. If I ever win a prize then I give it to you so that you may with one orbit around komen. My compliments to you Don you feel so much for your work and your tap is an extension of you body is incredible how you are with your crane can move to the music. Now I hope that we will ever meet and share our experiences.
I think of you all. With all the guys from this side, we wish you all happiness and love.
We have a show order in Dutch!
Scroll through this post to see the pre-show set up!
It’s raining, is there a Forklift dress rehearsal happening?! Why yes.
Containers and the Rear Loaders
The Poop Machine featuring Kofi the dog
The audience loved the Water Sprayer
Edwin on the Crane
Vivian and the Sweepers
Edwin shares his thoughts at the end of the day. ❤
Day 6-ICAF Panel
A big DANK YA WEL (thank you) from the choreographers, ICAF panel and line dancing!
With Edwin and Vivian, we did a panel talking about our work over the past week, our methods and some of the tools we use from the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. Our audience included folks from China, Australia, Europe and Canada!
Y’all there was line dancing!!
Two of Krissie’s favorite choreographers in action! Thanks Jo Parkes for visiting us.
On Monday, the guys and their co-workers got to see some video of the show. Writer/scholar/theatre maker Tania Caña joined us to say goodbye to Roteb.
What an incredible experience it was to share our methods of choreography in such a short time. The Roteb employees were inspiring. The relationships established and nourished by the visionary Rotterdam Wijktheater were amazing. We hope to have the chance to come back and find ways to keep connecting the sanitation workers from Austin and Rotterdam. Dank ya well!!