About me

Photo : Laurent Quinkal

Hayli Clifton aerial dancer, physical performer and rope access technician trained at Bretton Hall and with Philippe Gaulier in Paris.

Working as a physical performer for companies such as Horse and Bamboo Theatre and WrightStuff Theatre of Puppets she asked herself if the work she was creating with other companies was accessible to Deaf audiences, and the general opportunities for Deaf performers in the arts.

In 2005 she founded Cie Animotion with the aim of creating visual and international theatre and promoting sign language and Deaf culture.

In 2006 she was invited to be artist in residence with Dance company Cie Songes in the south of France and spent six months developing projects for them with Deaf and hearing professional and non-professional performers as well as choreographing for the biennale de la danse in Lyon, and again in 2008. In 2007 she worked again with Cie Songes, creating a masked and physical theatre piece with Deaf and hearing performers, and again in 2008 with a piece of commedia.

In 2007 she created The War of The Buttons that has since toured in the UK, France, Finland and Ireland. In 2008 she created L’enfant Lune, In 2009, the multi-disciplinary and homage to silent cinema, children’s show Portmanteau and in 2010 the street show Diaspora.

In 2008 she initiated and directed a knowledge transfer project with Sheffield University and Doncaster Deaf College in relation to theatre spaces and the physical effects of acoustics. This work led her to work in a more sensorial way in her creations (L’enfant Lune based on Deaf author Joyce Dunbar’s book ‘Moonbird’) and to favour intimate theatre experiences – for example she performed for 2 years in the sensorial journey through the seasons, “Lettre d’amour aux fleurs et au vent” by Cie Songes, in Spain, Italy and France.

Working as both street performer and in intimate spaces, as a freelancer she has worked for Tell Tale Hearts (UK), Wright Stuff Theatre of Puppets (UK), DNA (UK), Faceless Street Theatre (UK), Urban Angels Circus (UK) Cie Amanda Polo (France), Cie Songes (France), Cie Bulle & Plume (France) and Vice & Versa (France).

She has performed and taught in France, UK, Spain, Italy, Austria, Finland, Ireland and the Czech Republic, and has worked with children, adults, young people with learning and behavioural difficulties, and in universities, schools and prisons. She also has developed her own pedagogy in inclusive choreography, working with different types of ability and social behaviour.

In 2014 she worked on three creations for the company, : aerial dance piece and live electronic music Je m’appuie sur toi (R &D), JoJo and Billie’s Tour de France and Silver Moon, as well as heading LAB+, an international artistic laboratory of creative development and exploration in visual and physical theatre.

With Compagnie Animotion Je m’appuie sur toi was in residence at Jacksons Lane, London in 2015, supported by la Gare à Coulisses, Eurre, Cirque D-marches, Chabeuil, Adrian Berry and Arts Council England.

This was the beginning of her show Mâ, an outdoor nighttime piece for corde lisse, Chinese Pole, aerial dance, dance and live music by electronic French Duo Radio Edith.

The creation was supported by Arts Council England, 101 outdoor Arts, Seachange and La Gare à Coulisses.

Tango dancer since 2003 she trained with many dancers including Pablo Rodriguez, Fernando Sanchez, Marcelo Almiron and Andres Cejas.

In 2016 she collaborated with Transe Express, creating vertical dance choreography for the show, ‘Vivace’, and was commissioned by ARC, Stockton and The Civic, Barnsley to make a new early years piece for 2017 with her company, mixing circus with live music, The Musicians of Bremen. 

In 2017 she trained to be access rope technician, with company Matieres near Grenoble and, is now a national qualified (DMPC) cordiste, and with this, alongside training for safety at height for specific circus disciplines with AERISC, is also an aerial rigger.

She has worked in rigging and rope access for CATS Engineering, at ESAC – Brussels, U-Arena – Paris, La Cascade – National Circus Centre, for various street and circus companies and of course her own.