Fixing Foundations. A guide to Longevity in the High Performance Performing Arts of Circus, Dance, Clown and Physical Theatre

Presentation and practical workshop with Alisa Walton - Artistic Director of Crow's Feet Physical Theatre and Lab le Jeu Inc; Physical Theatre coach, dancer, actor (film, television, theatre), aerial bungee artist, stilt dancer, stunt coach, anatomist (Canada).

Alisa Walton has been performing and teaching in the field of Physical Theatre for 20 years. Her performance career began with work as a ballet dancer, performing with companies like les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and the Stom Dance Foundation, as well as work in Television as a Dancer for Canadian Television Corporations CBC, TVOntario and Sullivan Entertainment. After completing her Conservatory Training in the LeCoq Technique of Physical Theatre under Ron East, Walton went on to tour with various Theatre Companies, including  shows at Young Peoples Theatre, and Carousel Theatre.  She starred in the internationally aired and award winning children’s Series Polka Dot Shorts for eight seasons. Other Television Credits include a principal Role in Elliott Moose is on the Loose (series Television, Nelvana) the Adventures of Noddy, (CBC) Brenda’s Room (SaskTel) and numerous commercials. Walton has also worked as a stunt dancer on Stilts for several Circuses, and was the Ringmaster for Cirque Sublime for two seasons.  

Under the Stage Name Anka Bendikova she still performs as a hand to hand balancer.
She also performs the circus arts of Aerial Hammock and Bungee.

Choreography Credits include work for TV Ontario, Swizzlestick Theatre and Crow’s Feet Physical Theatre, and she produced the independent dance festival Human Dances.

Teaching credits include coaching for professional theatre companies and in physical comedy, physical theatre, stage combat, stilt walking,  dramaturgy and ballet for many Toronto and area arts  high schools, Kytes (theatre for at risk or street youth) as well as with Circus Agnes, developing a short training programme for children at risk in Etobicoke.  . 

Walton prides herself on having had a quintessentially Canadian Career in the Performing Arts, currently focusing her work on shows which are meaningful and educational to a cause. 

Specialties: Stilt Dancing, Aerial Hammock, Extensive European Style Clowning, Ring Master, accomplished dancer. Aerial bungee.

Crow's Feet Physical Theatre was founded by Alisa Walton in 2009 in response to a need to showcase the talent and work of seasoned dance, circus and physical theatre artists at a point in their careers where they would normally retire to make room for younger performers. The company aims to draw on the dramatic and physical talent of professionals with long careers to make highly physical theatre that touches audiences. The company separates itself from the standard circus/acrobatic style of presentation where dramatic themes are loosely based around acts of skill. Crow's Feet uses skills to serve the dramatic outcome, but does not limit itself to overly modified versions of physical disciplines. Part of it's mandate for Performers is to push physical limits. “Defiant Requiem” is Crow’s Feet’s newest work. It explores the power of art in the face of atrocity, telling the story of the afterlife of four Jewish Circus Performers who died in the Holocaust. This show has the cast crossing disciplines, using tried and true circus acts (ball juggling, hand balancing, silks, corde lisse) as well as more contemporary tricks like aerial bungee. Our clowns also cross over to playing drama, with the idea that every clown has a dark side.  


Fixing Foundations, the presentation, speaks to the power of correcting bad movement patterns and working with postural deficiencies to maximize physical performance. Walton draws a detailed picture of the mechanics behind longevity as a physical performer, using the company, both live and with video from their latest show to evidence the biomechanics behind the casts’ achievements. The demonstration also serves to bring down to earth the nuts and bolts of postural assessment and anatomy. While there is no formula for endurance and a long career, there are certain mechanical truths that serve to enhance performance. Alisa Walton will be happy to answer questions about how the show and the skills developed.

The workshop will begin with identifying the anatomical symptoms of problems as simple as postural habits or as complicated as the pathologies that result from these habits.  In identifying the problem, the mechanical solutions are demystified through easy to learn exercises that become prescriptions for a neutral stable body.

The workshop will begin with a collaborative postural analysis of each participant. Once identified, the differences between static and dynamic postures can be tested for functionality with the premise that static posture can technically be deficient but dynamically the body can function quite well, as long as there is muscular defense in the offending joints. Students will learn a series of therapeutic exercises to correct joint displacements and bring balance back to the torso. 

This technique will serve to cement the idea that with faulty posture, there is an emotional presentation in the body. Participants will come away with tools to keep axial and appendicular skeletal joints healthy, as well as the ability to break down postural affectations and use them by choice from a neutral place in the body.

Organized by IUGTE in collaboration with "ArtUniverse"