About Us!

A Brief History

Founded in 1998 by Amy Ballestad and Shelley Chinander, Hijinks Stilts explores the ancient and universal art of stiltwalking. We also explore the powerful dynamic of working together as an all-female collective.

Through an initial grant from FORECAST Public ArtWorks, we were able to build stilts, make long-legged costumes, and create several small community performances.

In the years since, we have collaborated with puppeteers, dancers, singers, aerialists, and pyrotechnicians to create original performances. Our pieces range from tall-tale puppet shows in school gyms to flaming pyrotechnic pageants in urban corridors.

Our artists also teach stiltwalking in workshops and summer youth camps.

mayday 2013 phoenix

Mission Statement

Hijinks Stilts is an all women's, consensus-based, community arts group dedicated to:

  • building a safe, noncompetitive, and supportive environment for our artists to enhance their skills as stilters, performers, teachers, and creators
  • creating dynamic, high-quality performances
  • fostering the growth of pageantry, celebration, and ritual theater
  • providing opportunities for the women, children, and men in our community to learn stiltwalking through workshops that are accessible to all, regardless of income level
  • bringing color and celebration to our urban environment
  • exploring the depths and heights of the ancient art of stiltwalking


We're an evolving and erratic group - wild and winsome, cathartic, chaotic, and creative - and you'll rarely find us in the same place at the same time. In and out of this mercurial group have waltzed a fabulous array of women, including, but not limited to the following:

Active Members:
  • Nicole Amaris
  • Amy Ballestad
  • Malia Burkhart
  • Laurel Chapman
  • Sarah Chapman
  • Kat Corrigan
  • Angie Courchaine
  • Gaea Dill-D'Ascoli
  • Sharon Dill
  • Tara Fahey
  • Tonya Leholm
  • Anne Sawyer-Aitch
  • Deborah Ervin
  • Martha Soule-Fahey
  • Gabrielle Robinson-Bajuscik
  • Becca Blumenshine
Hijinks Stilts Alumni:
  • Soozin Hirschmugl
  • Jonetta Hirschmugl
  • Shelley Chinander
  • Bethany Wilfert
  • Dara Syrkin
  • Emily Hughes
  • Maria Kaefer
  • Tracey Lapointe
  • Linda Miles
  • Elizabeth Moen
  • Ruth Patton
  • Krista Pearson
  • Jessica Gilbaugh
  • Molly Dengler
  • Jessica Braun-Ferris
  • Barb Bujold Martinez
  • Amy Taylor