The initiator and director of Shimmy Shake, Gail Pilgrim, has 45 years of experience in starting up new initiatives and leading them to fruition. She is well known for recognizing needs or gaps in contemporary culture, translating this information into action by organizing projects, workshops, debates, talent development and festivals. She is known for her ability to recognize quality.
Some of her initiatives include: 5 Spices - a series of multidisciplinary interactive artists co-operations in a lounge setting, congratulated by the AFK for innovation in the Amsterdam performance world, Hammam Verhalen - women’s stories told in 5 cities during the cleansing ritual in the Hammam, WoordWapen - top authors participated in a series of mixed programs of poetry, spoken word, readings and stand-up comedy, and Power to the Streets – a visual art project with Mohammed Ali (UK Sacred Art) in 4 different areas of Amsterdam with young budding graffiti artists to teach aesthetic beauty and responsibility in their work. The project Spin Off, which introduced Break dance to a larger public and has united the various crews in Holland since 1989, is still an important event. The (inter)national Shimmy Shake Talent development project has, since 2013 been the main focus of her work, featuring a yearly international Festival in Rotterdam.