Bill Shannon, aka CrutchMaster, creates work rooted in urban street kinetics involving freestyle breakdancing, skateboarding, contemporary music and visual imagery, blended with a rhythmically expressive form of complex weight sharing between arms, legs, and customized rocker bottom crutches. Diagnosed at an early age with a disability in his hip joints that inspired him to use crutches and a skateboard for mobility, the Brooklyn-based performance artist has developed a truly unique dance language. Informed by hip-hop culture and pedestrian utilitarian movement, Shannon’s movement style is accented by his sharp sense of timing, preternatural fluidity, grace and elegance. For TBA, Shannon will present a series of impromptu street and club performances around downtown Portland, followed by Spatial Theory, a provocative solo work with a live DJ, integrating his unique hybrid movement with videos of his street performance explorations.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Shannon studied at the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to New York, where he is now widely recognized in the underground performance art scene, hip hop dance scene, and disabled artist community. Shannon was named a 2003 Guggenheim Fellow and is also a recipient of a Foundation for Contemporary Performance Art Award and a Colbert Award for Excellence: The Downtown Arts Projects Emerging Arts Award. Shannon recently completed a project with Cirque du Soleil, where he choreographed specific elements for their production Varekai, which premiered in April 2002 and is currently on tour. His work has been presented at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Performance Space 122 in New York, the Athenaeum Theater in Chicago, The Holland Festival in Amsterdam, International Festival of Independent Theater in Amman, Jordan, the Exit Festival in France, and in streets throughout Novgorod, Russia.