Ever been Wow’d by the enchanting dance of a fire performer but wonder what the heck they are spinning around their body? I remember the first time i saw a fire performance and thought, “What is this sorcery? I want to try!” Fast forward a few years and now I am joyously on the flip-side as the fire performer sharing this fiery light and rhythmic dance with others! So, let’s talk Poi.
Poi is a performance art that involves swinging tethered weights in rhythmic and geometric patterns while infusing dance elements. Poi can be made out of a variety of materials, but Fire Poi consists of a heavy wick generally in the shape of a ball at the end of two chains or tethers. Sounds a bit intimidating, huh? Well they used to be slightly less so.
Poi originated with the Māori people of New Zealand. It was originally made out of twisted flax fibers and plant stems tied in a knot at the end with decorative tassels. They were used in choreographed performance in conjunction with storytelling and singing. It was not initially performed with fire. You can check out some sweet videos of traditional Māori Poi dance here. Tourism to the island allowed the poi ball to grow in popularity and now it’s a world-wide apparatus that keeps on evolving!
These days you can find many variations of poi, from the breathtaking fire poi, to the technical LED glow poi, and even the simplistic practice poi. Practice poi are the best way for a beginner to start working with the poi art form and to build a skill set before setting wicks and chains on fire. Practice poi can also be made out of a variety of materials including socks with weights, glow sticks on strings, etc. As long as you have weighted tethers you can experience the dynamics of poi, and I highly suggest you do!
Watching a fire poi performance looks beautiful, but did you know practicing this skilled artform can change your brain? Here are some of these was poi play can benefit your cognitive development.
Not only is poi good for you brain, but it’s great for your body too. 💪🏽
Poi can be practiced by anyone, at any age! Children can practice poi to instill healthy habits, cognitive and physical abilities at an early age. The elderly can practice to resist and potentially reverse mental and physical decline. Everyone in between can find joy and amusement in learning new skills and incorporating dance and movement, and maybe just a little showing off. It’s good for you!
I offer one-on-one lessons and a weekly group session on Thursdays in Ocean Beach, CA. Reach out! I’d love to schedule some time to work with you and begin your poi journey! Whether you want to learn for the health benefits, for fun, or hope to perform with fire one day, I can get you started! 💚
I’d be honored to spin fire at your next event! I offer a variety of fire apparatuses including poi, hula hoop, fans, dragon staff and levi wand and can tailor the performance to your special event.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or check out my upcoming events on Facebook: facebook.com/yogafireflowsd
Love & [Fire] Light!💖🔥
📸 Photo captured by the incredible Orin Louis Weintraub. Pacificreverie.com