AUSTIN, Texas -- Local performance group, Forklift Danceworks, and members of the East Austin community are celebrating the history of the Givens District Pool with a special performance. 

  • Performers celebrate Givens District Pool history
  • Dance, music, and synchronized swimming
  • Pool was built in 1958

The groups used dance, music, and synchronized swimming to illustrate the impact the pool has had on the community in the event known as “Givens Swims.”

“This pool has a lot of history and a lot of great stories." -- Pearl Cox, East Austin native and performer.

Since it was built in 1958, the Givens District pool has been a hub for the community. 

“I raised my three, four kids right across the street there. And when the pool came in and the park came here it was like a babysitting place for my kids. And they loved it and they still talk about it,” said Ada Harden, East Austin native and performer. 

It was the second public pool built in historic black East Austin and was named after Dr. Everett Humble Givens, who was one of the only African-American dentists working in Austin at the time. 

“The goal is just to highlight the beauty of this space, of Givens pool, and the history that surrounds it, the stories of the people who have been coming to this pool for years, and to get people interested in the redevelopment process for when they do redesign the pool," said Manuel Flores, Forklift Danceworks board member. 


It includes a performance re-creating the Miss East Austin swimsuit competition that took place at the pool, with many of its original participants. The show also showcases the day-to-day stories of the lifeguards and maintenance employees who work there. 

“There’s really this beauty in the things that we do on a daily basis. And the stories around that type of movement, really begin to bring out stories about other issues in the community," said Flores.

Givens Swims also raises awareness about the work that needs to be done to fix and upgrade the pool. 

“A lot of the time people think when you have a pool you just fill it, and you walk off and that’s it. And we have a lot of old pools in Austin and they brought a light to that," said Jonathon Tapscott, an Austin Parks and Recreation employee. 

Ultimately, the show is about telling the inter-generational story of the Givens Pool and the role it has had in the lives of East Austinites over its 61 years. 

“We have kids now. Those of us who have grown up down here," said Cox, "And we’ll be able to share that with our kids. And they’ll get a chance to tell their story, hopefully the next time around.”

Show information:

  • July 27 and July 28
  • 8:30 p.m.
  • 3811 E 12th St.

For more information about the project, you can visit the My Park, My Pool, My City website