Do you always wonder how stilt walkers do what they do? Or have you always wanted to practise the art of stilt walking yourself? Well, now is your chance. Funtopia's Youth Initiative (FYI) has set out to revive the art of stilt waking in St. Maarten and will be offering training for interested persons.
Stilt walking is a skill that dates back to 6th century ancient Greece, where persons would use the stilts to walk across marshy lands that were difficult to walk. Over the years, the skill or art form has been transformed as stilt walkers are seen as entertainment attractions at different types of functions and events.
In the Caribbean, stilt walking is performed at popular cultural events in destinations such as Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts, Barbados and Guyana.
Stilt walking is not new in St. Maarten as many organisations cultivated the skill in the past; however, the art form somewhat died out in the last decade as Funtopia founding member Lucinda Audain told Out n About. Audain said that stilt walking is part of the country’s culture and is something that existed before and should be preserved for generations to come.
A number of persons got a chance to learn the art of stilt walking in December 2016 when Adrian Young, a renowned stilt walker from Trinidad, hosted his very first “Master Stilt Walkers Workshop” in St Maarten under the auspices of FYI.
FYI is an organisation that focuses on shaping young talents and creating their artistic and cultural skills in St. Maarten. The workshop was held during a weekend in December at St. Dominic High school’s basketball court where a group of 30 persons participated.
Young is the CEO of leading MOKO Jumbie Group in Trinidad “TouchDSky.” An international stilts dancer and performer, he uses his skills to teach young people in Trinidad and Tobago. He incorporates dance techniques from different cultures, while sticking to the organic roots of Trinidad. With 20 years of stilt walking experience, Young has toured all over the world performing with international circus organizations in Europe and America.
The instructor taught the group the spiritual connectivity stilt walkers have with their stilts and encouraged participants to continue progressing in the art form. Though the workshop was short, both the beginner and advance groups learnt how to properly walk on stilts, how to have the right posture and stretching techniques when preparing to do stunts on the stilts.
During a presentation held on the boardwalk, participants demonstrated their skills for the public and received certificates. FYI said it looks forward to having this skill demonstrated during Carnival 2017. “Until then, the community can look forward to seeing the group training in different public areas on the island as they continue to implement the trainings given while spreading the love for the art form.”
Anyone interested in learning the art of stilt walking can contact [email protected] or 1 (1721) 520-2138 for more information.