Raconteur / Bill Shannon

Bill Shannon

Joining the artistic line up for Dance Integrated Australia’s ‘Raconteurs’ project in Byron Bay, we are proud to announce interdisciplinary artist, Bill Shannon (USA).

As part of this 2-week workshop program Bill will facilitate a series of two differently focused workshops including: ‘Interdisciplinary Art and Public Space: A2B Workshop’, which will enable the participants to work towards a showing of their creative results; and ‘Reverse Engineering The Shannon Technique’ for more experienced dancers and physical performers.

When I was invited to participate in the ‘Raconteurs’ research I jumped at the chance at sharing my conceptual approach to making work and finding creative sources in a supportive environment. I am eagerly looking forward to meaningful engagements with all of the participants in the workshops I am facilitating and also hoping to connect to the people and region at large as well. Bill Shannon

Bill 3Photo: Charles Samuels

Interdisciplinary Art and Public Space: A2B Workshop

Bill Shannon will bring his twenty years of widely varied street performance art and public works experience to bear on this workshop that questions everything that happens between point A and point B in our lives. We often take for granted the variability of the spaces and places we traverse as they become increasingly predictable and a known quantity. This workshops seeks to shift focus from the departure points and destinations of our lives to the spaces in between. For the purposes of the workshop, interdisciplinary methods of creative exploration are encouraged. Participants are coached on accessing their own creative sources from their own life experience to build up a conceptual re-framing of the interactions, locations and landscapes they are familiar with. All form of creative expression are valid responses to the process and a combination of at least three forms is the goal of the final product. Media combinations could include drawings, video, performance art, poetry, sound, sculpture, dance, music, fiber art, stenciling etc. Some tools and materials provided including recording and editing equipment for audio and video.

Join us – Expressions of interest are now open!

More details

When: 5:30 – 8:30pm Thursdays 16 & 23 Nov and Fridays 17 & 24 Nov 2017.

Where: Meet @ The Raconteurs Hub | Byron Bay Scout Hall, 28 Tennyson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481.

This is an accessible venue for people with mobility impairment.

Google Map of the Byron Bay Scout Hall location

Who: This workshop series is open to anyone of any age and life experience interested in multidisciplinary practice.

Places limited to 10 people.

Workshop Pass (Green): $120 full | $100 concession. (12 hrs contact)


Bill 2Photo: Bill Shannon

Reverse Engineering The Shannon Technique

In this high energy workshop Bill Shannon will teach rhythm, holding patterns and body positions invented over his life of dance and play on crutches. Workshop participants will be mentally and physically challenged to improvise ways of recreating Bill’s dance on crutches in real time without their own use of crutches. This workshop offers able-bodied dancers an opportunity to experience the challenges of a physical translation process of an existing dance technique that is not based in the assumption or patterns of an able body. Participants will work in the way that disabled dancers have historically worked, by a inventing a translation of the form that adopts the aesthetic from the standpoint of an alternate physicality than the one the from is based in.

Join us – Expressions of interest are now open!

More details

When: 1:30 – 4:30pm Fridays 17 & 24 Nov and 12:30 – 4:30pm Monday 20 Nov 2017.

Where: The Raconteurs Hub | Byron Bay Scout Hall, 28 Tennyson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481.

This is an accessible venue for people with mobility impairment.

Google Map of the Byron Bay Scout Hall location

Who: This workshop series is designed for more experienced dancers, actors, circus artists and physical theatre performers.

Places limited to 10 people.

Workshop Pass (Orange): $90 full | $75 concession. (11 hours contact)

_MG_5620-1Photo: Brian Cummings


Bill Shannon is an interdisciplinary artist and maker who explores body-centric work through video installation, sculpture, linguistics, sociology, choreography, dance and politics. Bill has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography, a Foundation For Contemporary Art Fellowship in Performance Art, and has worked as a choreographer and performer for Cirque Du Soleil.

Bill’s contributions to dance include a very specific movement vocabulary evolved through his creative use of crutches as a child after the discovery of a physical disability that effected his ability to bear weight in his hips. Bill’s subsequent immersion in the emergent youth cultures of hip-hop and skateboarding further contributed to his autodidactic form on crutches. Shannon eventually moved to New York City and became a fixture at underground dance clubs, where he fused his history of childhood play on crutches with his contemporary kinetic expressions of hip-hop and skateboarding. The result of this fusion was a singular style of mobility, performance art and dance that required multiple new designs and fabrications of modified crutches to sustain technical advances in his movement practices.

While in New York, Bill’s interdisciplinary dance works focused on translating “street dance” into the proscenium context were presented at PS122, Dance Theater Workshop, and The Kitchen, among others in NYC and globally. The New York Times hailed Shannon’s form of movement on crutches as “defying gravity” as his name grew in underground street dance battles including the Rocksteady Crew Anniversary Battle and Seattle’s Freestyle Sessions. Over the period of a decade Bill became a fixture at NYC’s famed Club Shelter, and a lifetime member of the internationally renowned StepFēnz Crew.

In 2001 Bill was offered a starring role as a performer in a Cirque Du Soleil production, Varekai, but opted to become part of the creative team, performing at special events and training an understudy to tour with the show. In 2004, expecting their second child, Bill and his family relocated to Pittsburgh, where he continues to work in performance, utilizing video installation and metal sculpture in solo works for the stage and street. In addition to his work as a performer, Bill frequently lectures on his performance practice and the phenomenological and linguistic framing he has created around his street practice globally. Shannon’s life and creative work are currently the subject of a documentary film in progress, The Art of Weightlessness.

In 2016 Bill was awarded a National Dance Project Production Award from New England Foundation for the Arts, a Heinz Endowment Small Arts Award to support the development of his latest work, Touch Update. Currently Bill Shannon is a Fellow of the Frank-Ratchye Studio For Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh and the Penn Avenue Creative Artist in Residence at Kelly Strayhdorn Theater. Bill’s work, Touch Update is being created in collaboration with dancers Slow Danger and Get Down Gang and VJ / Mapper Projectile Objects. Touch Update will premiere at Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival in Pittsburgh May 11 and 12, 2018.

More about ‘Raconteurs’

Led by Dance Integrated Australia’s Philip Channells, the ‘Raconteurs’ project is a series of skills development workshops spanning across art-forms including: writing for the theatre, dance & movement, story telling & journeying, sound design & DJing and interdisciplinary practice.

Bill Shannon joins local artists including: Bere, Kimberley McIntyre, Alona Rosenberg and Mark Swivel (Mullumbimby), Philip Channells (Clunes) and Pob Sellors aka ‘DJ Pob’ (Federal).

Contact & Registration

Register for Raconteurs and Bill’s workshops, or for more information telephone / text Dance Integrated Australia’s Creative Director / Producer, Philip Channells on +61 432 073 304 or email.

For media inquiries, telephone / text Dance Integrated Australia’s Project & Communications Manager, Sean Campbell on +61 432 714 534 or email.

raconteurs logo bannerThe Raconteurs project was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, provided through Regional Arts Australia and is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, Critical Path, Arts Northern Rivers and Byron Bay Scouts. Dance Integrated Australia is an Associate Organisation of Ausdance NSW 2016 – 2018.

Main Photo: Jim Carmody