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 Post subject: Bill Shannon
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2000 9:17 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
bill shannon at dance umbrella 2000, reviewed by marcia b. siegal:

http://www.bostonphoenix.com:80/archive ... ANNON.html


Last edited by Stuart Sweeney on Sat Dec 31, 2005 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bill Shannon
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2001 9:05 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
More Than a Prop
By Lisa Traiger for The Washington Post

Quote:
IT'S ABOUT THE ART, not about the disability," says dancer, performer, artist and skateboarder Bill Shannon, whose evening-length solo "Spatial Theory" opens at Dance Place on Saturday. He may use crutches to travel significant distances and a skateboard to help him along the way, but he's true to his word....


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Last edited by Stuart Sweeney on Sat Dec 31, 2005 9:23 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bill Shannon
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2002 9:56 am 
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Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
How intriguing:

Quote:
Master of movement

Mary Houlihan, Chicago Sun-Times

Bill "CrutchMaster" Shannon has never been trained in the techniques of dance so it isn't surprising that he's created a class of movement that defies all notions of traditional dance.
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 Post subject: Re: Bill Shannon
PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2002 3:24 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Another interesting review:

Quote:
Dance review, 'AOW: Remix' at the Athenaeum Theatre

Chris Jones, Chicago Metromix

Rarely in dance performance does one find oneself staring almost incessantly at a dancer's armpits. But when it comes to the work of Bill Shannon, a.k.a. Crutchmaster, the body plays a different part.


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 Post subject: Re: Bill Shannon
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2003 3:36 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
A Bronx Tale
Crutchmaster makes kinetic poetry out of hip-hop. By Laura Shapiro for The New York Metro.

As for Crutchmaster, whose disability is the soul of his career, he defies all categories, including the burgeoning one for disabled dancers. At age 5, Bill Shannon was an Easter Seals poster child, diagnosed with a disease of the hip joints that today makes it impossible for him to stand or move on his legs without pain. So he’s developed a version of hip-hop that incorporates his crutches—literally, for they become part of his body. He slips and swirls around the stage with his feet barely skimming the ground, spins on his knees though his knees never touch the floor, uses the crutches as feet, legs, arms, and hands.

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 Post subject: Re: Bill Shannon
PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2003 4:05 pm 
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Location: NYC
I've seen his work and find the below review from the voice to be more accurate than most of the other patronizing, just-because-he-has-a-disability-we-have-to-applaud-his-work "reviews". Fascinating for a moment as a singular work, yes, but it quickly becomes tiresome when extended to an evening length.

Skit Skid

Bill Shannon (a/k/a "CrutchMaster") suffers from a degenerative disease of his hip joints. Brave and ingenious, he's turned his condition into a means of making a spectacle of himself. He performs on the street and in theaters, locomoting on crutches and a skateboard. His moves, though limited, provide an engaging contrast between percussive pacing and lyrical gliding, and they're spiced with sleight-of-hand feats and illusions of flying as his legs swing free. Making a solo contribution to a varied program, he's compelling. But when he takes on a full concert, as he did at DTW in January with the Step Fenz Crew of break-dancers, the challenge is more than his quirky personal art can sustain. He resorts to dopey skits about the dark mean streets, the hospital, war—sites in which even the able-bodied are potential victims. —Tobi Tobias


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 Post subject: Re: Bill Shannon
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 7:15 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Footnotes: When Street Dance Hits the Avant-Garde Stage, the Beat Breaks Down

by CARLEY PETESCH
the Villaeg Voice

When the super-stylish Shannon glided in on his customized crutches to live-mixed beats from DJ Excess, we were hyped for some sweet moves. Instead, we got a verbal spin on the "Shannon technique"...
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 Post subject: Re: Bill Shannon
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:34 am 
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Posts: 4
Location: brooklyn
> epist
> Member
> Member# 1845
> posted 21 March 2003 05:05 PM                   
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I've seen his work and find the below review from the voice to be more
> accurate than most of the other patronizing,
> just-because-he-has-a-disability-we-have-to-applaud-his-work "reviews".
> Fascinating for a moment as a singular work, yes, but it quickly becomes
> tiresome when extended to an evening length.
>
> Skit Skid
> Bill Shannon (a/k/a "CrutchMaster") suffers from a degenerative disease of his
> hip joints. Brave and ingenious, he's turned his condition into a means of
> making a spectacle of himself. He performs on the street and in theaters,
> locomoting on crutches and a skateboard. His moves, though limited, provide an
> engaging contrast between percussive pacing and lyrical gliding, and they're
> spiced with sleight-of-hand feats and illusions of flying as his legs swing
> free. Making a solo contribution to a varied program, he's compelling. But
> when he takes on a full concert, as he did at DTW in January with the Step
> Fenz Crew of break-dancers, the challenge is more than his quirky personal art
> can sustain. He resorts to dopey skits about the dark mean streets, the
> hospital, war—sites in which even the able-bodied are potential victims. —Tobi
> Tobias
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------

terry, i dont know where you have seen my work. getting street dance to work for evening length is a definite challenge and I have asked a lot of my audience over the years. I also have tried to push audiences to understand this invented form of dance on crutches and what it means. despite these challenges in my work it would seem that with all of your dance classes and training that you would have a little more respect for an artist such as myself. I think its relevant that you are an able bodied dancer and that you see praise of my work from critics as based on pity. I find it ironic that you are close in height and weight with a parallel career of sorts as a dancer/model/actor. When a critic writes about your work and praises it you wont have to question whether they pity you which is convenient. But, I guess everybody has a catch somewhere its just not as easy to see and feel sorry for or enshrine. I thought I would share some of what I wrote about your post ( as representative of the thought behind it ) and tobi tobias's review which you posted about.

Terry...I hate to repeat myself but its such a gift.. I cant tell you.. you write that you see the positive side of the reviews I get as given to me because I am disabled and the ugly one that tobias wrote as accurate. Because physical disability is represented through the landscape of the body it is very hard to write about a dancer who shows such a disability without mentioning it. Whether critics like the work or not they always write about the disability. And everytime I talk to them I tell them .. its not about the disability its about the ideas.

From when and where I enter, I would assume that if you see me as a dancer then the fact that I dance on crutches is seen as part of any dance I perform. However, if you see me as someone using the crutches to make an act then you are blinded to me as a person. What blinds you to me is the condition I have (using crutches) causing you to credit the condition with the interest you have or lack thereof in the spectacle and dismiss it or place it on a pedestal. Both of these scenarios are regretable and both are possible but how would I ever know. IN a way its a maddening catch-22 that I will never find an answer to. noone would tell me.. "bill I felt bad about your disability so I will support your work." Just as noone would write "bill, I find the fact that you dance on crutches repulsive becuase you are using your disability to promote you art." neither of these viewpoints are valid.

Tobi Tobias writes of me "he turned his condition into a means of making a spectacle of himself" whereas, I was making a spectacle of myself through performance long before any visible onset of disability and that I continued to make a spectacle of myself after the disability became visible. What Tobi wrote is highly inaccurate and is derogatory to an artist because basically, I use my creativity and my artistic vision when creating spectacle. The disability is a part of who I am when in fact I am a part of the spectacle in question. In short, I am the invisible man cursed by the resolutely honest (how could they not be given my condition) and alternately praised by the generously pitiful. (how could they not be given my condition) This situation is a curse in a way and you have personified that curse in your post in the sense that you have voiced what I have known but never heard. but I will put away my violin and thank you terry dean. thank you for such a gift. I consider it proof.. proof about people in general.. not you specifically.. I know its there. but like a video clip capturing a moment so does your post encapsulate a phenomena I live..

critics do talk about it while I live it.. they can keep writng and I will keep dancing and writing back.

bill shannon

whatiswhat.com


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 Post subject: Re: Bill Shannon
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 4:13 am 
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Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Hi Bill and welcome to CriticalDance and thank you for raising these issues.

Image

I haven't seen your work, except for a brief, intriguing spot on one of Deborah Bull's TV programmes. However, I go to see Candoco whenever I can, to see how this integrated company is developing. The programme they performed in Tallinn, Estonia a couple of years ago makes an interesting example. The work by Fin Walker, which included dancers in wheelchairs remains the strongest I have seen from her and, as well as the interesting movement, there was a humanity that is not always so clear in her hyper-fast output for her own company. From the same programme, the piece by Javier de Frutos was as distinctive as anything I saw that year. More details can be found here:

http://forum.criticaldance.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=5;t=001745

The key point is that this programme had as much interest for a dance audience as most or all of the others we saw from "conventional" companies that year in the UK.

David Toole used to work with Candoco, but now performs in a variety of work by various artists. Simply said this dancer with no legs is one of the most charismatic stage presences I have ever seen, using his unique abilities to delight and intrigue audiences.

You can read more about David Toole on his own website:

http://www.davidtoole.cwc.net

In the UK, we see integrated companies regularly and most, if not all, critics have moved beyond the "how do we review this" stage and I'm sure Candoco would prefer to get poor rather than patronising reviews.

I hope to see your work at some stage, Bill.

<small>[ 23 March 2005, 05:16 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


Last edited by Stuart Sweeney on Sat Dec 31, 2005 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bill Shannon
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:19 pm 
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Posts: 971
Location: Pennsylvania
Bill,

Welcome to Criticaldance.com - glad you're here. Although I haven't seen any of your work for several years (since your couple visits with the Alloy in Pittsburgh) it is not only interesting to read what others are writing about your work, but also to have the artist engaged in a dialog about it.

Welcome!


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 Post subject: Re: Bill Shannon
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 12:52 am 
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Posts: 4
Location: brooklyn
To the people welcoming me to this forum.. thank you. Thank you for noticing that I am raising issues. However I want to stress that I write about ways of seeing.. about context and meaning. issues to me imply an ideological posturing which in the end to me is finite and rote. I do not shy away from raising an issue if I see a clear cut example. but on the whole I find sociological and cultural relationships most fascinating. these pursuits sometimes lead into political territory and become an issue. chekc this out.

here is an exercise...

fill in the blank with the identity of your choice and feel out the implications of what the sentence means.

Brave and ingenious he's turned his _______ into a means of making a spectacle of himself.

-oh! so thats how he did it.

"His moves, though limited, provide an engaging contrast between percussive pacing and lyrical gliding, and they're spiced with sleight-of-hand feats and illusions of flying as his legs swing free."
tobi tobias

-in this passage tobi tobias writes that my moves are "limited" this is just after writing about how I "suffer" from a disease. I find this interesting because tobi implies that the moves are limited by the use of crutches.
I would argue that the moves are no more limited than my mind and body would allow which in the end is the same limitation that any other dancer might experience with their own body and mind. So if this arguement were true then why would she bring up that my moves were limited? I argue that it is because she sees being on crutches as more about limitation than about possibility. That the crutches are a cage rather than a part of any dance I might do. Tobias writes about the possibilities manifested in the dance and credits their source but the limitation she just writes about as a given. Incredibly narrow minded. for dancers.. it is our bodies that ultimately cage the dance of the mind. for tobi tobias, the crutches cage the possibilities of my dancing even as I create illusions and tricks.. what it gets down to is tobi does not look at me as a dancer she looks at me as quirky one off trick. .. dancing on crutches to her is neato.. slick and brave for a suffering dancer... this is acceptable writing about my dancing.. the crutches are not seen as part of the function of my body.. but rather a presence going against my body... This difference in understanding of the body politic of dance in the context of disability is at the heart of the matter for me. I give Tobias all the room in the world to hate the skit based structure of street dance history and to write about it in my work as if I invented it .. she can call it dopey and I will know it as relevant to the form. if you want streetdance to look modern go to Kafig, if you want streetdance to look like ballet go to rubberband dance. what i do follows the form and comments on it without framing through other schools or context. I saw a moderater on critical dance push a post about rennie harris into world dance and found these post about me in modern dance.. Appropriate that there is no category for what I do. in the end I see the dance critics on staff at these major publications as very uninformed as to historical or technical context for streetdance work as concert dance none of the references in my work to other famous street dance hallmarks and icons have been written about by these critics. As an exercise I went back and read these same writers writings on more familiar dance forms. and in these works these same writers write about what the dancers referenced in their dancing, what famous dancer from the past they called up to memory and how certain aspects of the choreography referenced famous moments. these critics dont write about street dance that way whether praising it or panning it they honestly dont know when lookking at a hiphop dancer whether he is new school, circus style, strictly bboy, all toprocking or toprocking mixed with locking and waving.. etc etc etc. the thing about it is they feel they dont have to know historical context or technical delineations because in the end the work and the dance is not.. "important" in the concert dance world. they are like music critics when rap hit the charts in the early eighties.. completely uninformed. no context. all about structure and form and how inadequate it all is. or alternately how cute and slick and neato.. anyway. I could go on and on about this subject and where these critics come from. take gia kourlas .. she is a failed second string martha graham company dancer now writing about dance. her recent article in the new york times was revealing about how she views being a dancer and requiring the use of crutches.

excerpt
THE BODY
Learning to Walk, Hoping for Calluses
By GIA KOURLAS
Published: March 13, 2005

IN January 2004, Jennie Somogyi, one of New York City Ballet's strongest principal dancers, suffered an injury...
Through it all, Ms. Somogyi, 27, has grown emotionally. Once skittish and easily embarrassed, she has emerged with a quick sense of humor and a well-bred poise that puts everyone around her at ease.

Although she is not yet ready to dance again, she is getting closer.

Gia asks Somogyi
Q. What has your recovery been like?

Somogyi answers
A. After the surgery I was in a hard cast and on crutches for about 13 weeks. Then I went into a boot with crutches for another five or six weeks. I didn't walk for a very long time. I had a lot of atrophy to my leg. I lost all my calluses. My toes started to straighten back out, and I had these skinny, tiny legs. I was looking down going, "Whose body is this?"

Gia asks
Q. Didn't you get depressed?

my two cents.. gia thinks it might be depressing to be on crutches for 19 weeks. having weak legs.. and walking on crutches. its enuf to make a grown man cry.. such a path of solitude this lone fallen hero of physical perfection .. almost walks. lets write a little feature about the body with the goal of the featured body being the return to slim ablebodied perfection. only then will she be ready to dance again. in the meantime she will exhibit "well-bred poise" ??. how original. how brave.

a truly interesting question about the dancers understanding of her own body and its ability to dance would be..
If your foot never heals will you ever dance again?

its all about your frame of reference. and its obvious. this question would never come from this writer. .. work those ankles gia.. keep turning.. youll get there someday.. or at least you will write about it.

here are links to my work
whatiswhat.com
http://www.virtualprovocateur.com

here are some other reviews of my work.

NYT GCN VV


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 6:34 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
BBC Radio4's Midweek chat-show featured Bill Shannon, as first of four guests and you can listen to the broadcast this week, here:

BILL SHANNON
Bill Shannon is known as "the Crutchmaster". He is an interdisciplinary artist with a unique fusion of movement developed through his use of crutches and skateboards. He is currently on a UK tour with his new production Sketchy.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/midweek.shtml

After this week it can be heard here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/mid ... 0517.shtml


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 6:50 am 
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Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
BILL SHANNON

ELD and UK Arts International in association with Blue Eyed Soul are delighted to present

Bill Shannon's 'SKETCHY'

With his new production 'SKETCHY', the multi disciplinary artist known as 'CrutchMaster'-joins forces with five performers to create a living documentary of street-inspired movement forms including breaking, popping, housing and freestyling. 'SKETCHY' features highly complex manoeuvres or "trick moves" that are examined through the interactive use of live video projections, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the risk involved when dancers push themselves beyond their known limits.Created by Bill Shannon in collaboration with dancers, Danny Infamous, Cyclone, Mike Stylez, Erika Sato and WildChild.

This 'not to be missed' production takes place on Thursday 18th May*/Friday 19th May at Stratford Circus, show 8pm (doors 7.30pm) £9 / £5 concessions

Tickets can be purchased exclusively via ticket web at www.ticketweb.co.uk or on 08700 600 100 (credit/debit card bookings only, no booking fee) any remaining tickets will be sold on the evening of each performance

*Includes post show Q&A with choreographer/collaborators

*******************************

Albany Stage

Bill Shannon's "Sketchy"

24 May 2006
Times: Wed 20:00
Prices: £4-£9


Box Office: 020 8692 4446
Genre: Dance Subgenre: Contemporary
Age suitability: General

Renowned in the underground hip-hop and club dance scenes as "CrutchMaster", Bill Shannon has invented a unique and vibrant dance technique. With his new production Sketchy, the multidisciplinary artist joins forces with five performers to create a living documentary of street-inspired movement forms including breaking, popping, housing and freestyling.


Author: Bill Shannon; Producer: Uk Arts International in association with Blue Eyed Soul present Crutch Productions.;


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2006 1:07 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Alex R Posted: 24 May 2006 10:38 pm

Straight to the point: Bill Shannon rocks!!

Here's my review:

For me this show started on Monday evening with workshops held by the company. There was a beginners and improvers, and in each one we were taught a short but fun routine. It was a good opportunity to meet the cast, who were all really nice guys who made us feel relaxed and helped us with anything we wanted help with. For not much money at all you got to jam with some of the best b-boys from New York if not the world, money well spent if you ask me.

Sketchy - The Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome, 23rd May

This show is not just a dancers enter, dancers dance, dancers leave-type show. In Sketchy, Bill Shannon and the Step Fénz crew take you on a journey, and the show therefore has a purpose.

The show opens with Shannon, accompanied to the music of DJ Excess and equipped with a headmike, entering the stage on his skateboard with a small suitcase between his legs on the board. In this amusing opening section he explains to us how he keeps getting stopped in airports and told that he can't skateboard, and how he gets around this. Anyone who has seen any clips of Shannon performing will notice that he usually performs in a raincoat with the hood up, as if hiding himself from the camera, but here I was glad to see that he's actually a very outgoing, funny and likeable guy and the audience immediately warms to his presence.

Speaking into a camera which then projects the image onto a big screen at the back of the stage, Shannon then takes us through a brief history of street/breakdancing, which is acted out by members of Step Fénz at the same time. Shannon starts off at 1984, when the "robot" was all the rage, then continues up to the present day, where Shannon points out that street dancing today is found behind big pop stars in the backing dancers. We then get an insight from Shannon about the difficulties of transferring this style of dance from a club onto a stage, and how he gets really annoyed by one thing very common in dance: The Eight Count.
Sketchy is structured as a mixture of workshop and performance, and there are a few routine dances by the company. They were not entirely in time with each other, but we must remember that these guys are freestyle dancers, not theatre dancers. The first routine starts with a solo: Danny "Infamous" Rodriguez entering and twice attempting a complicated move but failing, with Shannon repeating "Dancing is just you versus your own body".

A more workshop section came when Shannon called out each of his crew individually and they each attempted a certian move they had been working on but couldn't yet complete everytime. This night some were successful and others weren't, but even those who failed their move still managed to impress the audience.

Two of my favourite sections in the show were Dave "Cyclone" Fogler coming out and battling against an invisible opponent. This was then played back on the big screen and he then took the role of the other dancer, battling against himself. My other favourite part was Shannon giving us a demonstration of the Shannon Technique, which he of course came up with, and how he teaches it to able-bodied dancers.

The show finished off with the traditional breakdance circle. The only thing that disappointed me about the show was that I would have liked to have seen Shannon dancing with his crew, as even though we did get to see him strut his stuff onstage, he was more of a compére throughout the show. However he told us that a few days ago he had been in a car accident and injured his neck and so couldn't do any power moves. In his place though we had Dergin "Stix" Tokmak, a German dancer who also uses crutches.

Sketchy had me gripped from beginning to end, Step Fénz are some of the best breakdancers you can find and the informal feel to the show meant that you felt like you knew the cast by the end. Sketchy is an excellent production, and even if you're not too familiar with this genre of dance, I still recommend it to everyone.

So, to sum up: Bill Shannon rocks!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 6:16 am 
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Thank you AlexR for a great review. Sounds like it rocked!


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