Lecture? Book It Here


WhatIsWhat 1.0 2003


Bill Shannon was born in 1970. In 1975 he was diagnosed with Perthes disease requiring crutches for mobility. Bill evolved a creative movement vocabulary on crutches based in peer survival and play on the streets of Pittsburgh. In the eighties as a teenager Perthes had run its course and Bill became immersed in the emergent youth cultures of hip-hop and skateboarding. In 1990 Bill won a full scholarship to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and got credit for his earliest professional work at the Cleveland Performance Art Festival. While in Chicago symptoms of his disability emerged requiring crutches again. In 1996 Bill left Chicago and moved to NY where he fused his physical history of play on crutches with his knowledge of hip-hop and skateboarding flow into a singular style of performance art, dance and mobility. In 2000 the kinetic demands of his movements led him to designing and fabricating a modified crutch for dance. Bill lived in NYC for a decade into his mid-thirties creating nine interdisciplinary dance works and showing at PS122. DTW and The Kitchen while also competing in street dance battles and becoming a fixture at NYC’s Club Shelter. In 2001 Bill was offered a starring role in a Cirque Du Soleil production, which he turned down in favor of training an understudy to tour with the show. In 2005 Bill and his partner expecting a second child made the economic and lifetyle choice to leave NYC for his family’s small Urban Farm in the heart of Pittsburgh. Since leaving NYC for Pittsburgh Bill has toured solo dance and performance works around the world while also developing his work as a street busking clown and video artist.

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