The MCA continues its participation in the Bodies of Work disability arts festival with a performance by School of the Art Institute alum Bill Shannon. Shannon has used crutches since childhood on account of a congenital joint disorder. Over the past decade, he’s invented his own multidisciplinary dance style, the Shannon Technique, using his crutches variously as ski poles, parallel bars and supports for striking hip-hop poses. Shannon’s virtuosic movement transforms the idea of disability; his athleticism and skateboarder’s flashy style allows him to move in a way utterly his own, beyond the capacities of any unassisted pedestrian. This boundary-breaking work has won him awards including a Guggenheim and work as a choreographer with Cirque du Soleil. Shannon is debuting a new piece for the MCA: the audience for “Traffic” will follow his travels through Chicago’s urban environment from a bus. DJ Express will create a real-time soundtrack for Shannon’s peregrinations. Shannon’s distinctive form of public art, kinesthetically opening up the experience of the street at the same time as it invites revision of ideas about mobility, offers an exhilarating challenge to its viewers. (John Beer)
“Bill Shannon: Traffic” plays at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago, (312)397-4010 through April 28.