Stilt Courses Goethe-Institut, Amman, Jordania Stilt Courses Goethe-Institut, Alexandria, Egypt Stilt Courses Goethe-Institut, Amman, Jordania Stilt Courses Goethe-Institut, Alexandria, Egypt

Stilts

Origin

Stilts and stilt walking are a thousand-year-old tradition around the world. Stilts were used especially for ritual practices in Africa: the stilt dance symbolizes growth, skill and strength. Masked stilt acrobats are regarded as mediators between the worlds in other rites, and are considered threatening and ominous. Stilt walkers in Trinidad are called “Moko Jumbie” and dance in fantastic stilt costumes at carnivals.
China, India and Malaysia have ancient stilt traditions as well. Stilts were originally used by shepherds in France and Spain, which is where the stilt seat was invented. There are stilt fishers and walkers in flood areas. Since the middle ages, stilt art has been used for entertainment at festivals and carnivals.
Stilts were also used as the medium for political street theater in the 60s.

Types of Stilts

There are various types of stilts:
The handheld stilts known to us as “children' stilts” are used in Flanders as veritable high stilts, and measure up to four meters. Peg stilts are fastened under the knee and can be used for dancing. The stilt artist is constantly in motion with these stilts. Drywall stilts are used for stationary acts; artists can stand still, but movement with these stilts is difficult. Spring stilts have springs with which the artist can jump far and high. We have developed hydraulic stilts, with which the artist can “grow” and “shrink”. Unfortunately, these stilts are very heavy. Stilts can be made of wood, aluminum, fiberglass or carbon.

Stilt Art

Our aesthetic goal is variety and effortlessness when stilt walking. Every stilt has its own possibilities and aesthetics to be explored. Every stilt height has different possibilities and restrictions – our highest are 3.5 meters, and our smallest, 30 cm. Besides the extraordinary spring stilts, called powerSkips, we occasionally use drywall stilts for promotion purposes, but our all-time favorites are the simple peg stilts. With these, we develop specific stilt steps, turns and movements, which in turn develop into stilt dances and entire stilt shows. To develop a feel for the stilt characters, to get in touch with the special stilt costumes, to find the feel for space, energy and charisma – in short, to cultivate an awareness of body, stilt and effect – that should be the goal of good stilt art.

Stilt Theater

There are stilt parades or stilt processions that are performed with set step sequences or improvised, free stilt play, acrobatic stilt intermezzos, stilt dances and jumps, and combinations of all of these. We love the diversity: we do everything that brings good, fresh energy – from simple stilt animation to choreographed walk acts, to open air highlights with light, fire and amazing soundtracks.
We even create stage acts with stilts for galas and events!