Pew Fellow of the Week: An Interview with Choreographer and Performer Annie Wilson


Annie Wilson, 2017 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

Our “Pew Fellow of the Week” series focuses on the artistic lives of our Pew Fellows: their aspirations, influences, and creative challenges.

This week, we speak to Annie Wilson (2017), a choreographer and performer whose work intertwines experimental dance, humor, feminist practice, and audience interaction. Investigating what she describes as “public vulnerability and intimacy,” Wilson is interested in expanding the definition of dance and drawing from different realms of culture, such as standup comedy, burlesque, viral videos, and DJ remixes. A 2014 Independence Foundation Fellowship recipient, Wilson is currently an “incubated artist” at Headlong and a writer for Thinking Dance. Her most recent work, At Home with the Humorless Bastard (2016)—an exploration of personal and collective grief that shifts the audience’s perspective by bringing them onstage and casting them in a story—will be on stage at JACK in New York City, March 29–31, 2018.

Annie Wilson Q&A: Content Block 1

Annie Wilson Q&A: Content Block 2

If you could collaborate with anyone alive today, who would it be?

There are many artists I don’t know personally whose work I admire very much. More importantly, I love my current collaborators. The relationships I have with my network of collaborators have been cultivated over many years of experiments, playdates, failures, mistakes, boring rehearsals, shared meals, fights, and small opening-night gifts. Those relationships mean unimaginably more to me than my admiration for any stranger’s artwork. I am sure as I work on new projects I will engage with new collaborators, but to answer the question, no, I don’t have a collaborative fantasy because my collaborative real-life kicks such butt.

What music are you listening to and/or which books are on your bedside table?

Parable of the Sower, The Spell of the Sensuous, Precarious Life, and The Tin Drum. I saw Thee Oh Sees live in September in Philadelphia and it was sublime.

What is your biggest motivator as an artist? What is your biggest fear?

Biggest motivator and fear: fear of death. Also a life-long social anxiety that drives me to create entire worlds where I call the shots.

Why do you choose to work and live in Philadelphia? In your experience, what makes this arts scene distinctive?

I moved to Philadelphia to go to school because I wanted to learn a variety of dance styles and live in a city with a diversity of people. I stayed in Philadelphia because the small companies and independent artists living here were so inspiring, talented, thoughtful, creative, and driven. What definitely made the arts scene distinctive then was the broad support for artists at all levels—from the large arts institutions down to emerging, or even established, independent artists.

Explore More