EMPRESS Stiltdance

EMPRESS Stiltdance began in 1996 as the founder; Emily Buttle of New Zealand developed her performance style from learning and touring Europe. Entertaining at many festivals and cultural events including rock concerts and carnivals, Emily settled for a number of years in Amsterdam where she ‘grew’ her skills and repertoire. Her act developed into a duo with the addition of Sandy Wagner, who later founded the Samshine Stelten Theatre. Emily developed her flamboyant (often fluro) costumes including:


  • Flowers,
  • Butterflies,
  • the Silver Suits,
  • Dream Masks and
  • Space Ballerinas

and invited other stiltwalkers to join the company. As all of the performers were female, Emily decided to keep EMPRESS Stiltdance an all female stilt company. Among those early performers were Jodie Foreman (Australia) and Jelleke Jorritsma (Netherlands). Together they performed at many major events in Holland including Dance Valley, Lowlands, Mysteryland, Senstaion, Oerol, Doetinghem, Delft Zeil, Norrdwijk aan Zee and many more. During this phase EMPRRESS was booked for around 50 gigs per year.

As well as the local circuit EMPRESS also appeared at international events including;


  • The Love Parade ( Germany),
  • the Venetian Carnival ( Italy),
  • Inner City (Israel),
  • Daidogei World Cup (Japan) and
  • Ankara Arts Festival ( Turkey).

In 2003 Emily returned to New Zealand, leaving EMPRESS Stiltdance (Amsterdam) to be managed by Saskia te Dorsthorst with Jelleke Jorritsma as lead performer. In 2006 Jodie Foreman moved back to Australia where, with the help of Emily, she set up a branch of EMPRESS Stiltdance to operate from Melbourne.
Emily would now like to see each of the teams grow their own creativity, develop their own new works, add to their performance skills and come together for large-scale special international events. She has identified a need to create new shows and to learn how to choreograph, produce and direct these larger works.

As with all roving street theatre, there is a need to find new promoters and clients for EMPRESS Stiltdance as there is a need to creat new costumes for a market that remains hungry for the new.
Stilt walking remains a popular inclusion for many event organizers. Your event could be truly invigorated with the inclusion of Empress Stiltdance in the entertainment line-up.