Susan's Super Citizen Showcase

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lisa the tall has friends in high places

Lisa Corriveau - Disco Lives! Aki Mimoto photoLisa Corriveau says she's not sure why she decided to take up stilting back in the summer of 2003 – but, ever since she got the hang of it, she's been up and running (carefully) as Jacqueline Frost, The Green Fairy, The Monkey King, Skull Wraith, Ms. Black, The Sea Princess, Fishnet, and Disco Lives! (photo at right by Aki Mimoto)

“I think maybe seeing a stilter at the Parade of the Lost Souls a year or two before inspired me. She was wearing green sequinned pants and a curly-horned headpiece - pretty much naked from the waist up, except for purple body paint and green pasties... in late October!” she says.

Lisa signed up for Public Dreams Society stilting class, where students built stilts and spent about six weeks learning to walk on them. She envisioned her first costume and made it in about two weeks, in time for her debut performance at Illuminares.

“I like most aspects of the stilting biz: the athleticism of it, the theatricality, the costume design and production. I love the weird little community of performers that I've become a part of: circus people, actors, dancers, fire performers, musicians and lots of people who are hard to define,” she says. “The energy I get at a big event with other stilters and 'ground performers' - as we snobby tall ones call them - live music and a huge audience of people is really intoxicating.”

There is, however, one downside to watch for (aside from falling off, which happens to everyone at some point).

“The only thing I don't like is when people threaten me while I'm performing. I've had a number of children hit, kick or push my stilts. I've had to learn some coping skills to deal with it effectively to stay safe,” she says. “One kid even bumped me purposefully with his bike. That was the first time I really got to practice a full-scale emergency response. I came out of character, whirled around & snarled at him: 'Don't hit me! Don't even think about it!' Then I continued on my way. If he had knocked me over, I quite likely would have landed on a picnicking family in the busy park.”

In April, Lisa will be teaching the art of stilting for a second time – at the Vancouver Circus School .

Facebookers can join Phoenix Stilt Performance and become Lisa's fan. She also blogs at:

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Public Dreams Society
Disco Lives!