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Forums > Help! > Dura stilts height?

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Dura stilts height?

A question for experienced dura stilt walkers-

I'm considering getting a pair of either

18"-30" (45-76 cm)

OR

24"-40" (61-100 cm)

stilts.

With the intention of using them for paid walkabout gigs.

I've never used stilts, partly because of the safety issues (falling from great heights=potential broken wrists etc) and because of the risk of idiots knocking you over and leaving you in a vulnerable position (on the ground with big unwieldy objects strapped to your legs).

So, I'm not definitly going to buy some, but, if I did, which do you reckon would be the best height range to go for?

Obviously the shorter ones will be good for learning on, but could be a bit limited for walkabout gigs?


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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mech
BRONZE Member since Jun 2003

mech

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: "In your ear", United Kingdom

Total posts: 6207
Posted:24"-40" is what i would say

what you can do is raise or lower the height on them as you see fit dave.

YOu can start off at 24 and be quite happy on them, thats teh size of stilt i use, and that all the people where walking aound in at teh sheff pip

the are very easy to master at that height, and easy to get in and out of

dont limit your self by getting teh lower height, you might one day relise you wnat to go higher and then cant


Step (el-nombrie)

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marco


enthusiast
Location: uk

Total posts: 328
Posted:
I'm biased, in that I routinely walk about on five or six foot peg stilts in paid gigs, I perform fire at that height as well, I have a set of dura's, aas well as powerisers, if your going to pay out for dura's or any of the comparable options, then go for the larger set, more flexible in terms of final heights you can perform at etc.

mark


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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:2 ft is what we regard as a base learning height for any stilts.
Truthfully, duras are great and all, but for paid gigs I have seen, found and heard that they are frowned upon.

When audiences, and people in general, think stilt walker, they think pegs. With Durastilts one producer explained on a circus board his viewpoints, "It is something anyone can do. Joe the high school drop out with a beer gut next door is walking around on them. There is no mystery, no awe and therefore no show. As a producer if I hire a stilt walker and they show up with those, I feel ripped off, and so does my audience. As a stilt walker I feel insulted because I took the time to learn the proper art, not the construction workers gaff."

I agree with him on the whole.

Each has their own place. Each has their virtues. Dura's, I feel, are more limiting.
Pegs are not hard, and if you learn to fall properly, not as dangerous as you would think. If you are worried about over zealous people, then have a spotter with you. You should anyway, just like a safety with fire.

But if you're set on Dura's...get the taller set.

Anyway..just opinions and observations for a hypothetical situation wink


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Frodo
BRONZE Member since Jun 2003

Frodo

old hand
Location: In a van, United Kingdom

Total posts: 1092
Posted:Lately i have been doing alot of work
on stilts for promotion companys, and
i use dura stilts.:)

I have had various coments from other
stilters that i have worked with, about
the fact that i am cheating and i should
use peg stilts.

But for the work that i am doing, i disagree.

Half an hour on stilts, half an hour of stilts,
max of three sets is generally the work that i
get and do most weekends now, and after that, i
feel as though i have done no work, and can
continue with my day, where as the people on pegs
seem to be very tired.

Probably due to the fact that i can stand
completely still, and not have to step every
few seconds. so surely we have to look at whether
you really need to wear pegs for all stilt work?

what is the point of using more effort than is
needed, if you look the same to the passing
customer, sure yeah a few people have comented
about the different foot, but i say why make the
job harder than it CAN be?

alot of stilt hiring agencys in the uk only hire
peg stilt walkers, and thats fine, but i can get
alot of work with my duras. i can walk on pegs,
but why should i?



Written by: Pele

As a stilt walker I feel insulted because I took
the time to learn the proper art, not the construction workers gaff."

I agree with him on the whole.




if i was doing a gig on pegs and a guy turned up
with duras, and the costume suited, i would give
him a pat on the back, because he has made his
work alot easier! and i would feel a little
silly, as he made his money with alot more ease,
and no body wants to work harder than they have to!


passing through, this world still lives.

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mech
BRONZE Member since Jun 2003

mech

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: "In your ear", United Kingdom

Total posts: 6207
Posted:pele does that mean that those of us, who have done time on pegs, and found duras much nicer sto walk on, who do knwo how to move on pegs, and stand up on them, but dont as they preffer duras, are ripping people off?

no ffence (and you know i hold you in high esteme) but i think that its like all the toys we use, and have in our arsenel, its not about what you turn up with, but how proffessionally you use it.

If you turn up to a gig, with a shite hot costume, and routine, and proffesional attitude, it wint make any difference what you stap to your feet to do it with, as long as you work hard and do what you should, ten surly you are doing it right?

anyone can get up on pegs with aout that same amount of time it takes to get going on duras its not getting on then, either of them, its making the movment natural?


Step (el-nombrie)

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Firstly, as the thread starter, where I was asking for advice on dura-stilt height, I'll report that currently I'm probably not going to purchase the stilts in the near future as-

1. I did some research into the safety aspects- posted about it on another thread so I won't go into details, but I've pretty much concluded that stilting for gigs is a bit out of my personal comfort range for risk (particularly since everything else I do for employment and for hobbies, would be ruined if I break a wrist)

2. Stilitng for gigs is something I'd do purely for the money; unlike the circus skills workshops and other stuff I'm doing at the moment, where I feel that I'm well suited to it and that it's of real benefit to people. Of course, entertainment is good as well, but there's plenty of other people out there who are better suited to it

-----------------

However, I like the way this thread has gone into the issue of duras vs. pegs and how it's seen by the old style circus people.

It's true that the act of peg stilting is harder to learn than that of dura-stilting, and I can see why an old-school peg stilter could feel a bit put out by the new wave of dura-stilters with their high-tech stuff.

However, on the whole, I think they just have to accept that things are changing.

I've come up against this kind of attitude from the traditionalists before, with the critisisms of poi a few years back ('it's not skillful like juggling- anyone can spin poi, it's easy' etc, etc) and off-road unicycling (which they basically just ridiculed).

These days both those arts have evolved and proved their worth (in fact I believe that the current revival of interest in circus-skills in the UK, has, in part, been brought about by the popularity of poi spinning, and the fact that a lot of poi-spinners are moving on to the other circus arts).

Everytime something new comes out, some of the traditionalists will start critisising it and try to put it down as an inferior art.

My feelings on the issue are that-

1. Yes, initially Duras are easier to learn, but that means that you can do more stuff on them- most of the people I know who do night club gigs etc use duras because they're better suited to it than pegs. With duras you can take advantage of the fact that you can stand still.

2. Where the publics concerned, most of them can't even tell the difference between fire juggling and fire breathing, so I suspect they're not going to spot the difference between a dura stilter and a peg stilter, especially as the costume tends to cover up the stilts.

3. Yes, duras are easier, but then again, the whole stilt thing is basically an easy way to get a gig in the first place. Compared to the skills required to entertain a crowd with a show based on juggling, magic or whatever; wandering around on a pair of stilts is something that anyone can pick up fairly easily.

With 3, I'm not saying that stilting is bad, simply that if someones going to critisise duras on the grounds that anyone can learn them, then they should reflect that that same reasoning applies to stilting as a whole.

Lastly, i'll give a real life example of a gig I did recently-

I was booked to do a couple of hours of off-road unicycling, followed by a fire show a few hours later.

The day was brutally hot and the space was smaller than I'd been lead to believe, so i basically spent two hours ridng through crowds on a muni wearing helmet and pads and drenched in sweat.

Also in attendance were a couple of traditional peg stilters from the local community circus ('Greentop Circus') who seem to provide most of the stilters for events round here.

They were dressed in the usual colourful circusy costumes and one of them was doing a bit of ballon modeling- basically stilt walkabout stuff.

A bit later a girl I know (Laura) who does a fair bit of stilting appeared- she uses Dura-stilts.

Laura was costumed as a 'Victorian Lady', equipped, very appropriately given the hot sun, with a parasol.

Now the peg stilters were doing a good job, but, if i'm being honest, in terms of value-for-money, Laura, with the dura-stilts, was the one I'd be booking again if I was the event organiser.

Her costume was excellent, she looked very professional, and she was getting into a lot of chats with the public, and basically going down really well. That particular costume would not have worked as well with pegs, because you're constantly having to take little steps to stay balanced- Laura basically looked like a Vitorian lady out for a stroll, and it worked really well.

I fully understand that the traditional ways are harder and more skillful than some of the innovative stuff, and that should be respected, and there's always a place for those who wish to devote their time to practising those arts (eg the old style 'gentlemen juggler' etc).

However, I personally find it a bit jarring when some of them go beyond that and start to critisise the newer stuff that's always going to come along- I didn't like the rubbish that was spouted about poi, i didn't like the ridicule that was directed towards off-road unicycling, and, while it's OK for them to stick to pegs if they wish, I'd rather they didn't try to put down those who use Dura-stilts.

To me, it just seems to be disrespectul to those putting in time to develop the new stuff, and based on insecurity more than anything else.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:I posted my thread above before reading yours Mech.

Written by: mech

pele does that mean that those of us, who have done time on pegs, and found duras much nicer sto walk on, who do knwo how to move on pegs, and stand up on them, but dont as they preffer duras, are ripping people off?





I got the impression Pele was mainly just passing on a common viewpoint, rather than actually herself critisisng dura-stilters.


Written by: mech


If you turn up to a gig, with a shite hot costume, and routine, and proffesional attitude, it wint make any difference what you stap to your feet to do it with, as long as you work hard and do what you should, ten surly you are doing it right?





That pretty much sums up my thoughts.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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mech
BRONZE Member since Jun 2003

mech

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: "In your ear", United Kingdom

Total posts: 6207
Posted:Written by: onewheeldave


Written by: mech

pele does that mean that those of us, who have done time on pegs, and found duras much nicer sto walk on, who do knwo how to move on pegs, and stand up on them, but dont as they preffer duras, are ripping people off?





I got the impression Pele was mainly just passing on a common viewpoint, rather than actually herself critisisng dura-stilters.






i know dave, i know pele was not taking a stab at people, hence why i put in

Written by: mech

no ffence (and you know i hold you in high esteme)



to make sure she knws that i am not attacking her


Step (el-nombrie)

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marco


enthusiast
Location: uk

Total posts: 328
Posted:
I'm about two thirds of the way through the Isle of Wight carnivals, most of which I've done on six foot peg stilts, I have an invite to attend Notting Hill, now that particular stretch is around a four to five hour route I'm lead to believe, I just know that after around 2 hours I'll be looking for anywhere and anything to lean on if I go for 5/6 foot pegs, decision made, dura's it will be, I actually find pegs to be more comfortable if harder work than duras.

mark


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:A question concerning how tiring the two types of stilts are-

posts on this thread seem to be saying that pegs are more tiring, due to the constant movement and extra skill required; yet elsewhere I've heard dura-stilters express the opinion that duras are actually more tiring, due to their extra weight.

So, which are the most tiring?


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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.:star:.
SILVER Member since Jan 2005

.:star:.

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom

Total posts: 1785
Posted:Duras are tiring if you are walking around alot because they are heavy. Standing on them is easy peasy, just like standing without stilts.

Peg stilts are tiring because even when you are standing still, you are having to move about a bit to balance. On peg stilts you have to continuously work on staying upright

So it would depend on what kind of stuff you were planning doing smile


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marco


enthusiast
Location: uk

Total posts: 328
Posted:
Initially your going to find either type very tiring, pegs due to both comdined weight and constant need to adjust balance, although this improves with height, you can with practice remain still on pegs for short periods, dura's tend to be heavy, obviously.

Also dura's are less comfortable going up and down hills, as your generally working against the springs, pegs are just more scary going up and down hills smile especially downhill.

mark


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