Louise I. Gillette, 54, of Philadelphia, an innovative aerial dance pioneer, founder and director of the Trapezius Aerial Dance Co., dance teacher at Temple University, and holistic instructor of Pilates and other health practices, died Saturday, Dec. 18, of complications of a brain tumor at home.

A woman of unbridled energy and countless achievements, Ms. Gillette was a dancer, musician, singer, choreographer, and composer as a teenager. By middle school, she played the piano, cello, flute, and guitar, and was an assistant dance teacher at the Steffi Nossen School of Dance in New York.

During college, she went to Nigeria to study the relationship of dance and everyday life, and created an acclaimed performance afterward to share what she had learned. In graduate school, she was so mesmerized by an aerial dance performance that she later founded, directed, and starred for the Philadelphia-based Trapezius Aerial Dance Co.

“There’s something about the newness of [aerial dance] that’s important,” she told The Inquirer in 1998. “And I think I got tired of dancing on the ground.”

Beginning in 1995 at local venues, including Temple’s Conwell Dance Theater, the troupe whirled and twirled on ropes, swings, trapezes, ladders, bungees, and hoops — suspended by rigging with nothing but the floor beneath them. The dances had names such as “Under the Small Top,” “Daydream,” and “Water Trilogy.”

Ms. Gillette said her pieces showed “relationships between people and interesting apparatus.”

“The choreography I create is based on human experience, anything that drifts into your daily life,” she told The Inquirer in 2002. “Some of the scenes are poignant, others funny. And some will want to make you fly.”

Ms. Gillette became a resident choreographer at The Yard performance center on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., in 1999. She choreographed shows in Sydney, Australia, in 2000, and sold out shows at the 2002 Philadelphia Fringe Festival at Penn’s Landing.

In 2001, Ms. Gillette was awarded the first Rocky Award for lifetime achievement by the Philadelphia dance community. Inquirer music critic Lesley Valdes called Ms. Gillette “riveting.”

“Stretching herself in strange, horizontal postures, she hangs from underneath or aslant the trapeze, suggesting by turns, despondency or aspiration,” Valdes wrote in September 1996. “In one memorable moment, this extremely fluid dancer dangles eerily sideways beneath the bar hanging by one elbow.”

Ms. Gillette was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1998, and spent the next two and a half decades grappling with its effects. She became educated and active in her treatment, eschewing many traditional methods, and was a friend and mentor to many in the cancer patient communities she joined.

Over time, she scaled back on performing, but she never lost her zest for creating and connecting with others. She told The Inquirer in 1999 that it was hard to face her physical decline. “But, like all enormous things in life, you end up learning a lot as you go along,” she said. “And I’ve been learning a lot about asking for help.”

Born July 1, 1967, in Chicago, Ms. Gillette grew up with her parents, Nedra and Peter Gillette, and sisters, Ann and Becky, in Larchmont, N.Y. She majored in anthropology and dance ethnology, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass.

She joined the graduate dance program at the University of Colorado in Boulder, then transferred to Temple in the early 1990s to get a master’s degree in choreography.

She taught dance and fitness at Temple and other locations, and became a certified practitioner of Pilates, yoga, and massage therapy. She met musician Chip Clofine in 2012, and they married in 2015 knowing that their time together was likely to be interrupted by her illness.

“She was a greatly independent individual who let her passions drive her,” Clofine said. “She was incredibly creative in everything she did.”

In an online tribute, one of Ms. Gillette’s friends wrote, “She was full of grace, energy and kindness.” Another said, “She made me dance by sheer osmosis of enthusiasm.”

In addition to her husband, mother, and sisters, Ms. Gillette is survived by other relatives.

Services are to be held later.

Donations in her name may be made to the American Brain Tumor Association, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 550, Chicago, Ill. 60631, and Hampshire College Advancement, Trustees of Hampshire College, 893 West St., Amherst, Mass. 01002.