The Grouse Grind® is a 2.9-kilometre trail up the face of Grouse Mountain. Those who climb its 2,830 stairs start from 274 metres above sea level (900 feet) to 1,127 metres (3,700 feet) at its summit.
The Incas, masterful builders and architects, were fascinated by stairs. Their temples looked like giant staircases and they farmed on an elaborate terrace system. They invented ‘floating stairs’ enabling them to climb the steep mountain walls. Imagine the Inca people swiftly and nimbly moving up or down on slabs they had inserted into the wall. No handrail, of course.
Aeriosa, a small Vancouver-based dance company is not studio-bound. Julia Taffe and her group of dancers use mountaineering skills and climbing hardware to work with gravity, rather than against it. No pointe shoes, no skirts of tulle and feathers. Instead, they have carabiners, pulleys, mechanical braking systems, climbing harnesses, rope and running shoes.
With gravity as a partner, the company creates vertical dance – awe-inspiring spectacles on the sides of buildings, or on sheer cliffs of rock; performances that are strange, disconcerting and breathtaking at the same time.
Spencer West redefines height – in his spirit, in the way he lives, and in the actions he takes to affect other people’s lives.
Now two-foot-seven, Spencer was born with a spinal defect and legs that didn’t function. He was five when his doctors felt they had no choice but to amputate them. They said he wouldn’t be able to sit up or move around by himself. Spencer defied that prediction by learning to use his arms to move. Prosthetics weren’t for him.
While most people would be hard pressed to use their feet to walk the 300-kilometre distance from Edmonton to Calgary, Spencer West recently made the journey almost entirely on his hands. His purpose was to raise funds and awareness for Me to We /Free The Children’s ‘We Walk 4 Water’ campaign. The donations will provide a permanent source of clean water for 100,000 people around the world.
Spencer West is a favorite motivational speaker at Me to We events. Stories of his feats inspire audiences of school children across Canada. For example, he climbed the 19,341 foot-high Mount Kilimanjaro, raising more than half a million dollars in a similar Me To We campaign. He urges others to go beyond their perceived limitations and to give of themselves.
Check out Spencer’s best-selling autobiography “Standing Tall: My Journey”. Also, his experiences feature in the documentary “Redefine Possible: The Story of Spencer West” that was shown at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.
But here is the next best way to learn more: TOMORROW, JUNE 17, 2014
There will be a LIVE-STREAMING of SPENCER WEST SPEAKING from 10am to 11:30 am EST at: www.freethechildren.com/watch