Trini stilt walker makes US mark


[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Sascha Wilson (Trinidad and Tobago Guardian) writes about Kay­o­de Du­val (aka Bal­ance) and his performances at the Uni­ver­Soul Cir­cus.

A Point Fortin youth has gone from nev­er step­ping foot out of T&T to tour­ing across more than 25 states in Amer­i­ca with­in a year through the art of stilt walk­ing. Proud­ly wav­ing the na­tion­al flag to all and sundry who vis­it­ed the Uni­ver­Soul Cir­cus, Kay­o­de Du­val’s per­for­mance was so im­pres­sive that he has been asked to re­turn to the cir­cus for a sec­ond time. He leaves on Mon­day for New Jer­sey and is ex­pect­ed to re­turn at the end of the year.

Du­val, known as Bal­ance in the en­ter­tain­ment are­na, is one of sev­er­al stu­dents from Kaisokah Moko Jumbies who has rep­re­sent­ed the coun­try at the cir­cus with a T&T cul­tur­al con­tin­gent, in­clud­ing lim­bo dancers, over the past 15 years. The 22-year-old youth said per­form­ing at the cir­cus was his biggest dream. “It is a dream come through for me,” Du­val told the T&T Guardian yes­ter­day.

“It is some­thing I al­ways want­ed to do. The best part of per­form­ing across there was wav­ing the flag be­fore thou­sands of peo­ple. They (pa­trons) en­joyed it to the fullest. The crowd would get ex­cit­ed when we wave the flag.” He said some peo­ple had ex­pressed a de­sire to vis­it T&T af­ter some of his per­for­mances.

He re­called that from a ten­der age he had watched youths in his com­mu­ni­ty do­ing stilt walk­ing. “I used to be both­er­ing my grand­moth­er and ask­ing her to join. So when I was about three or four-years-old my grand­moth­er put me to stand up on two milk pans for me to get my bal­ance and by age five I was walk­ing on three-and-a-half-foot long stilts.”

He said he start­ed off with Dex­ter Stew­art and As­so­ciates from Point Fortin and then branched off to the Ju­nior Bis­nath’s school of art.

Du­val, who now walks on five-and-a-half-foot long stilts, has been per­form­ing at dif­fer­ent events, in­clud­ing Car­ni­val and Bor­ough Day ac­tiv­i­ties, for the past sev­en years. His pres­ence at the cir­cus was ini­tial­ly re­quest­ed in 2015 and 2016 but he did not have a pass­port.

“I fi­nal­ly left last year Jan­u­ary and I came back in De­cem­ber. At­lanta was the first place I per­formed and then I trav­elled to oth­er states with­in the US.” He al­so trav­elled once to the Unit­ed King­dom where he per­formed in Scot­land. [. . .]

[Kaiso Moko Jumbie leader Junior Bisnath, right, and Kayode Duval on stilts leave for the United States to perform in the circus next week. Innis Francis.]

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