The name of this project is called ‘Pointe Shoe Stilts”. My friend, Trey Knight in Los Angeles had a stilt company called Stilt World. This company was unique to the stilt-walking world because the dancers were taught a technique that allowed them to move with the grace of a dancer on stilts. Knight approached me with an idea to develop a pointe shoe on top of a stilt. He was interested in the aesthetic line of the pointe shoe. I had been classically trained at the San Francisco Ballet School for ten years and with my knowledge of classical dance and his knowledge of stilt dancing, we formed a partnership and developed this new form of dance or art.
We developed this new apparatus and dance style into a prototype that allowed me to walk and dance with a partner, who would stand on the ground and support me.
I left LA a few years later and this project eventually came to a standstill. It was picked up again when my father and I decided to develop a new prototype in which my weight on the stilt was distributed slightly different that helped to stabilize my balance even more and allow for more movement. The design that you can see in the video is the design that was developed by my father and I. We used fiberglass with an epoxy resin to create the exterior look as well provide a solid infrastructure to support my weight while dancing. The final touch which was the harness and aerial apparatus hung from above to allow for full freedom of movement was added later, an idea that I had envisioned in my mind and tested out as I was trying to explore more ways of moving freely on the stilts.
I took this project to Berlin where I spent two years and here I met a photographer who I collaborated quite often with on the stilts. We loved the look of urban abandoned spaces and especially in Berlin with its history provided an interesting backdrop for art. The backdrop in the video is an old abandoned train station, I loved the graffiti covered walls as it creates a certain urban look juxtaposed with the decay of the building was appealing. It was also a challenge as to how to enter the site and that was also something that greatly interested me. An exciting notion in creating art for myself is always a challenge and how to surpass this challenge is what makes art so important in modern day society I think because it forces us to push boundaries and to explore unknown territory in search of something brighter, more daring and beautiful then what we might at first perceive to be true or our only option.
In taking on this project, pointe shoe stilts, I believe what it has created for me and hopefully for people who see it is the idea that boundaries can be pushed and that there is always room for more to see, do, hear, feel etc.
To put a pointe shoe on top of a stilt at first seemed to be quite impossible but through optimistic perseverance certain challenges can be overcome and we can create something exciting and new that way.
I think that is the challenge and purpose of art, to allow for forward-thinkers, dreamers and possibilities of a future for the planet and society. In this day and age we are encountering many absolute truths about our future that may not be as bright as we were hoping but art I believe helps us to hope for a better future, to find new unsought out ways that can give us meaning and better trust that our future is alive and well.