The In a time where performance art is often pre-scripted and tame, these wild characters from various cultures work within an improvisational structure that is other-worldly.

Operating as a forum for the development of acrobatic stilts and for building a network amongst practitioners, the Global Stilt Congress convenes once a year with some of the finest teachers on the continent coming to share their skills.

[photos by Sue Kirsch]

Hosting the event are the acrobatic stilt pioneers, The Carpetbag Brigade. Since forming in Prescott, Arizona in 1997 they have been evolving the form of acrobatic stiltwalking by mixing it with contact improvisation, butoh dance, and physical theater. I have had the pleasure of watching them evolve over the years, having collaborated with them at the All Souls Procession in Tucson, Az.”

The Arco•Tsunami Festival is held simultaneous to the Global Stilt Congress and is a two weekend festival for the general public to experience the magic and craft of this unique gathering of performers. On the festival’s opening weekend of October 10th The Carpetbag Brigade presents their repertory performance, CALLINGS. This stunning visual work synthesizes the culminating elements of the acrobatic stilt vocabulary and also poetically addresses the issue of climate change by creating an underwater sea environment where a dead sea captain teams up with an ancient siren to seduce the sailors of commerce into understanding that the sea they tread upon is a living being.

The 2nd weekend of the festival on October 17th features the cast of the Global Stilt Congress which reaches from El Salvador to Alberta.  “THE LEGISLATION” offers an aesthetic site specific tour of Arcosanti where you are lead through the grounds with live music, acrobatic stilting and spoken word from DJ Logan Dirtyverbs. 

Organized by Jay Ruby and Helen Goodrum of The Carpetbag Brigade, Global Stilt Congress is a unique ephemoral oasis of culture in Arizona that gathers a force of professional performing artists and practitioners.

Don’t miss the Arco•Tsunami Festival, events if you get the chance.

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