Carnival Arts: Stilt Dancing

Join Swizzlestix Theatre To Learn About Carnival Arts

You’ll learn how to move and dance on stilts, create a costume, and make art! Develop balance and confidence in a safe environment with experienced stilt walking teachers. You’ll learn on short stilts.

For Halloween, we’ll have a celebration and participants will have their faces painted. The final class will be a performance and family members are invited to attend to see the choreographed movements on stilts!

Class Details

  • Saturdays, 1:00 - 3:00 pm
  • September 26 - November 7
  • 6 sessions
  • No classes on October 10
  • Classes held at Arts Etobicoke and Montgomery’s Inn
  • Final performance on November 7 at Montgomery’s Inn – families & friends invited
  • Materials are included in each class


SwizzleStixx Theatre

The Toronto-based SwizzleStick Theatre grew out of Christopher Pinheiro's work with the “Island to Island” cultural exchange between the Toronto Island arts community and Trinidadian Carnival artists. Serving as a leading teacher and designer, he formed a troupe of stilt performers to showcase their art form outside of the carnival arena.

SwizzleStick creates and performs full-scale theatrical productions and participates in parades and performance events. We also teach in schools and communities. Our aesthetic fuses dance, theatre and design with costume considered as kinetic sculpture. Since 1997, we have mounted six productions, collaborated in dance and theatre works by others, and performed in several hundred celebrations and cultural events. Mandated to research, document and develop the art of Stilt-Dancing, The SwizzleStick Theatre has made an ongoing commitment to teaching, outreaching, public performance and community development.

Robert Faulkner

Robert Faulkner has been involved in a variety of theatre projects since 1990 and first appeared on stilts in the Shadowland Mas band “Star Tribes” in Caribana 1996. He has been a featured performer in all of SwizzleStick Theatre's major productions, including Ancestral Spirits, Harvest and DALI GALA. As SwizzleStick Theatre's Managing Director he organized and administered the Ontario Arts Council supported project at Dundas Public School which brought forty-five students in Grades 4 and 5 into performance on stilts. He has taught stilts to children and adults at public and private schools (Shaugnessy, Queen Alexandra, Island Public, Toronto Waldorf, Upper Canada College, York University) and in collaboration with other arts organizations (Shadowland Theatre, ArtStarts, Participate Community Arts Program, and others).

Mr. Faulkner is chief stilt instructor for SwizzleStick and has taught dancers, actors, and clowns for other arts companies as well as children as young as ten, and adults as old as sixty-five. He is also SwizzleStick’s administrative officer.

Mr. Faulkner holds diplomas in Management and Accounting.

Christopher Pinheiro

Christopher Pinheiro came from Trinidad in 1985 with a background in communications, drama, dance and textile arts. Theatrical apprenticeship with the Trinidad Theatre Workshop of Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott was continued at the School of Drama in Jamaica. He studied dance at the Caribbean School of Dance and was a principal dancer in demonstration ballets

Christopher is an actor, script writer and radio announcer. A foundation member of the Banyan Television Workshop, he was involved in the creation of several television series and specials.
In Trinidad he was heavily immersed in Trinidadian Festival Arts as expressed through Trinidad’s annual Carnival. He participated in Carnival Mas presentations over a 20-year span as performer/designer/painter/costume maker with Peter Minshall’s internationally famous Callaloo Company (the force behind the opening and/or closing ceremonies of the Atlanta and Barcelona Olympics, among other international events). Mr. Pinheiro is a past president of the National Drama Asssociation of Trinidad and Tobago.

Christopher Pinheiro came to Canada at the invitation of VideoCabaret and Shadowland Theatre to participate in the “Island to Island” cultural exchange between the Toronto Island arts community and Trinidadian Carnival artists. He was a leading teacher and designer in Shadowland’s annual Mas Band presentation in Toronto’s annual Caribana, as well as in many of their other plays and productions. In 1995, he began the leadership of Shadowland’s troupe of Stilt-Dancers in an effort to bring their art form into productions outside of the carnival arena and to develop this unique performing art. The troupe first performed under the name “SwizzleStick Theatre” in 1997 (Ancestral Spirits, part of Dusk Dances 1997) and was formally incorporated in February of the year 2000.

To Register

Call 416.622.8731 x227, or email

Supported by The Johansen-Larsen Foundation.

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