Tricia Homer, Storyteller
TRICIA HOMER, Assistant Director, UMD Office of Community Engagement
I was a terribly hyperactive kid and my mom tried everything. She enrolled me in ballet, tap, jazz dance classes, sports programs and pageants. But nothing ever stuck! I had an incredible amount of energy and was always getting myself into trouble.
My stilts got taller and taller within weeks: 1 foot tall, 2 feet tall, 4 feet tall.
When I was 11 she signed me up for John McCleverty's Traditional Moko Jumbies, a troupe of more than 20 stilt walkers well-known in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands where I grew up. It was like I'd found my place. I remember running around the dock where we rehearsed on short 6 inch stilts and the troupe leaders kept promoting me to keep me challenged. My stilts got taller and taller within weeks: 1 foot tall, 2 feet tall, 4 feet tall. I was charged with teaching younger dancers how to stilt walk and dance. Over time I was leading the youth in the troupe, choreographing dance routines and teaching. Being a stilt dancer (or moko jumbie as we call it) not only gave me an outlet for my creative energy, but it allowed me to step into a leadership role.
I've been an arts advocate and enthusiast ever since dancing, acting, singing, attending shows and now teaching and promoting the arts for a living. I hope that through my work I can make an impact on some young person that Johnny McCleverty and his Traditional Moko Jumbies did on my life.
Tricia Homer previously served as Marketing Coordinator for The Clarice.