Choreographers Corner- Trolley Dances 2016- Bill Shannon

Dance artist Bill Shannon will be venturing from Pittsburgh for Trolley Dances 2016 as a solo performance. Bill is well known for his fusion of dance, skate culture and art installation- all performed with crutches. “Over the past two decades Shannon’s installations, performances, choreography and video work have been presented nationally and internationally at numerous venues, festivals and events including, Sydney Opera House, Tate Liverpool Museum, NYC Town Hall, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, The Holland Festival, Amsterdam, Temple Bar Dublin, Kiasma Museum Finland, Hirshhorn Museum and many more.” (from his website bio). San Diego Dance Theater is thrilled to have Bill as part of Trolley Dances this year and we hop you are too! Here is a bit from Bill about his work and his process that he has shared just with us for the blog:


Tell us a little bit about yourself as a person and/or artist.
I started dancing on the street in 1983 outside of a record shop with my brother. We would dance all day. In 1984 we both started skateboarding on the street. Dancing and moving in public space with random observers is the home of my dance. Every work I have taken into the theater has been a translation from this birthplace of my form as I practice it today.

What would you like the audience to know about your Trolley Dance?

In my work there is no “interruption” of intent, no disruption of the “plan.” The world is full of patterns and waves and my practice as a performing artist and dancer is to navigate that shifting physical, social and psychological landscape with a level of expertise that keeps the central intent of the work intact even as the edges remain amorphous to the possibilities of the world at large.

What other inspirations are informing your Trolley Dance?

billshannonskateclown sm

Clowning and contemporary mime have always been in the back drawer of my repertoire. Part of what has kept them tucked away has been the prevailing trend amongst the general public in the United States of people generally hating or fearing mimes and clowns. Recently I have delved into ways in which my street busking and provocateur performances overlap with these historically significant performance forms. I am currently in a space of searching for a path of humor and pathos between the projected fear and the hate by pushing into directions of skateboarding, breakdancing and slapstick.


Trolley Dances is just around the corner so don’t miss this opportunity to see Bill Shannon and all of the other site-specific dances: 6 shows a day beginning at 10am, September 24-25 and October 1-2.

Top photo by Brian Cummings/ Bottom photo by Garret Jones
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