Shannon Gillen

August 15, 2019


Shannon Gillen is the founder, artistic director and choreographer of New York’s visionary new dance company VIM VIGOR. Gillen is one of NYC’s most sought after choreographers with an established and passionate audience following and commissions at prestigious national and international venues. Through a prolific body of work that galvanizes the body’s potential to express intellectual and emotional concepts, Gillen has pioneered a recognizable artistic language that possesses heroic physicality, electric emotional life, and cinematic imagery that illuminates and heightens the narrative imagination. Gillen was recently championed by Deborah Jowitt as ‘vastly gifted’ and VOGUE Magazine called her work ‘mesmerizing’. Coming off the company’s sold out debut at GK Arts Center in NYC, VIM VIGOR is preparing for several upcoming creation and educational commissions from The Juilliard School, Lines Training Program, B12 Workshops in Berlin, Springboard Danse Montreal – where the company will be returning as a Principal, VIM VIGOR’s summer program in August, an upcoming residency with DANCEworks at the historic Lobero Theatre for the incubation of VIM VIGOR’s next evening length work, and a tour of VIM VIGOR’s seminal work ‘SEPARATI’ to the PRISMA Festival in Panama. 


Gillen danced with the Johannes Wieland Company at the Staatstheater Kassel, Germany as a full time company member. She danced in 56 international performances and was singled out in the press for being ‘in top form, a feat of strength’ (HNA, German News). While dancing in Germany, Gillen burst into the choreographic scene receiving 3rd Prize at the International Solo-Tanz Competition in Stuttgart and commissions at the Mainfranken Theater Würzburg and the TIF Theater in Kassel. She was also selected as a THINK BIG choreographer in residence with the Staatsoper in Hannover, creating a piece that premiered at the TANZ Theater International Festival. In Fall 2014 she returned to the United States where she was noted in The Brooklyn Rail for her ‘fierce physicality and rigorous inquisitiveness in her work.’ She was commissioned by two of New York State’s most distinguished dance colleges: New York University’s Second Avenue Dance Company and the Purchase Dance Company at SUNY, with performances at New York Live Arts where her creation premiered alongside works by Aszure Barton and Doug Varone. Additionally Gillen was selected for the International Commissioning Project for Hubbard Street. HB2 recently premiered her piece in Switzerland, with upcoming performances planned across the US and in Germany.


An insatiable creator, Gillen has choreographed 26 new works since 2010 with notable commissions at Treffpunkt-Rotebuehlplatz, Springboard Danse Festival, Dance Theater Workshop, Dance New Amsterdam, HERE Arts Center, Judson Church, Tangente Theater with the Montreal Fringe Festival, PULSE Art Fair as part of Art Basel in Miami, with LMCC’s Sitelines Series as part of NYC’s River to River Festival, Bryant Park Presents, Festival Oltre Passo in Italy, BEACH SESSIONS and Steps Repertory Company for the The Joyce Theater and Jacob’s Pillow, among others.


Gillen’s awards and honors include:* selected by Hubbard Street’s International Commissioning Competition (2015/2016)

* selected as a Principal Company to the prestigious Springboard Danse Festival in Montreal (2015/2016)

* the THINK BIG residency fellowship in Hannover (2014)

* 3rd Prize in dance at the Solo-Tanz Festival in Stuttgart with Germany tour (2014)

* special mention as a choreographer of note in The Brooklyn Rail (2014)

* recognition as one of the top 20 artists in Brooklyn Magazine (2013)

* Residency with Random Collision/Grand Theater in Groningen, NL (2013)

* awarded the Dean’s Fellowship at Tisch School of the Arts/NYU (2012/2013)

* the first emerging artist selected by Christopher Wheeldon for the Steps Repertory Company (2012/2013)

* commissions for PULSE Art Fair in NYC and Miami as part of Art Basel (2011/2012)

* Artist in Residence with The Stella Adler School of Acting (2011)

* Swing Space Artist with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2010)

* Finalist in the A.W.A.R.D.S. Show! at Joyce SoHo (2010)

* Artist in Residence at LMCC’s Swing Space (2009)

* Artist in Residence at Dance New Amsterdam (2009)

* Fresh Tracks Artist with Dance Theater Workshop (2009)


Gillen graduated from The Juilliard School with her BFA (2003) and from Tisch School of the Arts/NYU (2013), where she was awarded a full fellowship to obtain her MFA. Dedicated to the advancement of movement based education, Gillen is a leading contemporary dance teacher with a large following of dancers in both the professional and higher education arenas. She holds faculty teaching positions at SUNY Purchase College, Mark Morris Dance Center, Peridance Capezio Center and Gibney Dance, and is a regular guest teaching artist at The Juilliard School, The Hartt School, and New York University/Tisch School of the Arts. And with VIM VIGOR, Gillen has established a new platform for contemporary dance-theater education in NYC through company workshops and intensives.