Skip to main content

This is your Donation message.

MANCC Welcomes Visiting Artist Bill Shannon

Published March 31, 2017

April 3 – 14, 2017

bill shannon headshotBill Shannon comes to MANCC as a Visiting Artist for his first residency to develop Touch Update, which combines movement, wearable projection technology and video installation to explore the significant and often subtle implications of physical human contact in the digital era. The project dissects and dismantles the multiple online identities we create in order to offer the world a curated window into our lives—a version that masks and manipulates our lived experience.

As part of the creation process, Shannon stages performances in public spaces that are observed by a handful of “artist witnesses” who then document the experience through their creative lenses. These responses are shared as unique documents that replace the ubiquitous “proof” of digital photography and disrupt the primacy of video as an immutable form of record.

On stage, dancers inhabit sculptural fragmentations of themselves, breaking out via text messages and emoticons in search of an exquisite embrace. Cubist-inspired wearable video masks present the performers’ pre-recorded and scripted faces, as real emotions are expressed beneath—digital identities overlaid on “real” life. Embedded in technology, the performers reveal their yearning to connect, as a choreography emerges in which bodies learn to navigate mobility in the absence of apparatus.

For over 27 years, Shannon has been creating groundbreaking choreographies of personal, political and cultural significance by exploring the social constructions that surround disabled bodies, and developing movement techniques that formulate virtuosic new mobilities. He also has a noted history of examining and experimenting with urban art forms through translating them into theatrical contexts, inventing audience solutions to protect them in their naturally occurring street environs and mixing them with circus arts.

While at MANCC, Shannon and his collaborators will interact with several FSU scholars as research for the work. Dr. Wen Li, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, will discuss her work on human emotional processing through the lens of neuroscience. Associate Professor in the Department of Art, Rob Duarte, will facilitate the fabrication of the scenic elements by granting access to the FSU sculpture lab, and will act as an artist of witness to Shannon’s process. Also, Dr. Patrick McKelvey, Professor of Theatre Studies, will discuss his work as theorist and historian who explores disability, sexuality and race in performance. Shannon will also work with an FSU School of Dance student to fill in as a third member of a trio he will continue to develop at MANCC.

Touch Update will premiere at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh, PA in 2018.

Work-in-Progress Showing

Thursday, April 13 @ 6:00pm
Black Box Studio
FSU School of Dance

This showing is open to the public, community members are encourage to attend.

Scholarly Entrypoints

Rob Duarte – Associate Professor of Art
Dr. Wen Li – Associate Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience
Dr. Patrick McKelvey – Visiting Associate Professor in Theatre Studies

See more of Shannon’s work

Trailer for upcoming documentary CRUTCH
Solo Performance from Closing Act of Spatial Theory
New York Times Profile: Have Crutches, Will Choreograph (2003)

To reserve a seat for the showing anf for more information please email

The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), at the FSU School of Dance, is a choreographic research and development center whose mission is to raise the value of the creative process in dance.