Oh Mother

Dances with child

Allison Orr
Allison Orr

Being with child certainly doesn't deter local choreographers from making dances. If anything, it inspires them to make more dances. Especially dances about being with child. Allison Orr is the latest. The artistic director of Forklift Danceworks, who's expecting her first child in late March, has organized a program of contemporary dance by a half-dozen moms and moms-to-be, including Leslie Dworkin, Michelle Nance, Leticia Rodriguez, Sharon Marroquin, and Caroline Sutton-Clark. The idea was, um, born as Orr contemplated the impact of parenthood on her creative career. She was told she'd have to choose between her art and her kid, that "all you do is your art or you're not a good artist. Or you're not a good parent because you're not with your child." She didn't feel that she had to sacrifice her art for her child, so she turned to some of her colleagues who were also seeking to balance home and studio. In working with them on the aptly titled Oh Mother, Orr has found a welcome sense of mutual support: "As dancers, we really don't talk about our lives that much, and the honesty of talking about what it's like has been really nice for everybody."

Making those dances while pregnant is one thing. Dancing them while pregnant is something else altogether, as Orr has learned working out her own solo and dancing in Sutton-Clark's "Quintet for 10," choreographed for five pregnant women (and performed memorably in Dance Carousel 2004). Breathing is more of a challenge (the baby pressing on the diaphragm), and getting up from the floor isn't exactly elegant. "After my first time in the studio, I realized things were going to have to go a lot slower," says Orr. And as her body has continued to change, her abilities have changed with them. Moves she could do a couple of weeks ago aren't as easy or even possible. It's funny, she says, she typically works with "people who are not your typical dancers." "This is the first time that I'm that person."

Oh Mother runs Feb. 11-19, Saturday, 8pm, Sunday, 5pm, at Cafe Dance, 3307 Hancock. For more information, call 447-6405 or visit www.forkliftdanceworks.org.

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Oh Mother, Allison Orr, Forklift Danceworks, Leslie Dworkin, Michelle Nance, Leticia Rodriguez, Sharon Marroquin, Caroline Sutton-Clark, Quintet for 10, Dance Carousel 2004

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