Forums > Social Chat > What do you wear when you perform firestuff?

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Raphael96SILVER Member
old hand
899 posts
Location: New York City, USA

The subject says it all, really.

I'm just trying to get different ideas of what people wear when spinning for an audience.


7 posts
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Although I generally don't perform for an audience (at least not as a twirler), what I look for in clothes to wear are the following things

1)non-restrictive - it has to be easy to move it
2)not too baggy - there's much more a a chance I'd catch something on fire with baggy clothing on
3)natural fabric - if I can, if they catch fire they are a lot less likely to cause more damage to the body...

Other than that the colours & styles depend on what type of performance it is and what fire equipment I am going to be using.

Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once

Singed Piper (formerly Mark1)Singed Piper (formerly Mark1)resident bagpiper
342 posts
Location: Vermont, USA

i agree that the performance is enhances by the person's presence, but that is only if they are simply going with the poi. Trying to make yourself the center of attention in the act takes away from the amazing fire. i think it makes a much more lasting impression for a person in jeans and a t-shirt to walk out and do this amazing routine, than t ogo out in mylar parachute pants and make your act exactly as flashy as expected, or less.

Q:What's the difference between the Great Highland Bagpipes and the Northumbrian Pipes?
A:The Great Highland Pipes burn longer.

CharlesCharlesBRONZE Member
Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
3,989 posts
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Mark..that depends on what you want to achieve when performing.

I don't want people to go "ooh look at the pretty fire" I want them to think "wow, I'm having a great time tonight!"

Of course, I also want them to think "How do I hire this guy for my next work do?"


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Matthew B-MMatthew B-MLemon-Aware Devilstick-wielding Operative
605 posts
Location: East London Wilds

I normally wear black (jeans and t-shirt), but it does depend on what kind of fire I'm spinning. I have recently decided that I really really like my fire ropes, and to wear a light costume against them is actually, in my humble opinion, detracting from the ropes. Spinning something like my smallish double wicks, on the other hand, I'd imagine that a light costume might actually enhance the experience. I've never been particularly fond of the way I look, and so I tend to try and want to hide.

Pele, I don't know what you'd think of this idea, but I saw a guy at Glasto (not spinning, just wondering around the crowd), who had a suit with electro-glow (EL-paper-based) strips down the limbs, in a very Lawnmower Man type way. I'm wondering about trying to do something similar at some point, and I reckon that that could look very good in dark clothes.

There are good effects and bad effects by choosing light or dark in which to spin fire, of course, and it will depend on what your style of spinning is. Personally, I think that dark is very good if you're going for a sort of ninja look. If you're spinning something with lots of light (eg monkey-fists, ropes), dark is also good, because you're not causing these things to be hidden by their reflections on your clothes. On the other hand, doing something with smaller wicks on the end of longer chains is going to be better if you can see all the arm movements, and the performers body, so you should wear lighter clothes.

Horses for courses etc. Your mileage may vary.

Luv 'n' Lemons
purity :: clarity :: balance

Same as DostoevskiySame as Dostoevskiymember
54 posts
Location: vodka-country... and it's VERY COLD here

A t-shirt with a fragment of picassos "guernica", and light blue cotton pants with fiery salamandras... sometimes... when its warm... don't even want to think what will it be when -10 outside...

when it gets colder that -25, you don't really care

AustinBRONZE Member
54 posts
Location: South East London, United Kingdom

I wear just jeans and a hoodie or at least some kind of hat as I foun out that even if poi touch your hair they take more than enough

The_Pirate_Dyke_BoyThe_Pirate_Dyke_BoyHOP Lord of the Pirate Admiralty
1,079 posts
Location: Canterbury, UK

i wear a pair of cutt-off skate jeans from back in the day (pre Tonk fukin Hawk) (yes im bitter)
and some shoes. I like being topless...

X x X x X

Ship off the starboard! sound general quarters! noise and light discipline! man the cannons! GET ME THE RUM!

Master of the Free Hug Program

PelePeleBRONZE Member
the henna lady
6,193 posts
Location: WNY, USA

Originally posted by Matthew B-M:

Pele, I don't know what you'd think of this idea, but I saw a guy at Glasto (not spinning, just wondering around the crowd), who had a suit with electro-glow (EL-paper-based) strips down the limbs, in a very Lawnmower Man type way. I'm wondering about trying to do something similar at some point, and I reckon that that could look very good in dark clothes.

I love reflective as long as it doesn't end up looking like a disco ball. Not good.

And it does matter what you wear to an audience. If they can't see you it is just fire in circles and gets boring for those not in the know pretty quickly. Most audience members do not gauge anything as being more technically difficult than the next thing, and poor NYC even found out that they cheered harder for him spinning at his sides really fast more than during something he found very difficult.
How you move your body in relation to a prop, ANY prop, makes it interesting. How your body looks while doing it even more so. Unless you are a puppet master and needed to fade to black, then truly it is an easy way for an audience to be destracted. Anyone can watch fire wiggle through air anytime they want...take a candle/sparkler/stick, light it and move it. Not everyone can dance with fire adeptly, and now that there are so many fire spinners in the world, you have to distinguish yourself to get booked. Costumes not only serve as an identifier, they help characterization, they help to make you approachable...something the fire does not do, and if you want to be a pro, it is something you HAVE to be. Do not underplay the importance of the performer in the equation. It is simply insulting to those of us who do this for a living and have learned otherwise.
As I said before, if all the audience wanted to see was fire, then there would be no need for you there at all. Fire alone is not enough, it is what we do with it that is.

And, if you want to test me on this....get two people together. You dress all in black. Have your friend put on something more showy. Now both of you perform with the same music and choreography and see who draws the crowd. I know people who have tested this theory exactly this way before getting into busking, and they now wear "costumes".

(BTW costume does not always mean something that glistens and looks like it belongs on the Vegas strip. Costume is something that sets you aside from your audience, so they *know* you are a performer without having to guess at it. Hell, I know a performance group whose major identifiable "costume" is a red hat with a normal looking business suit. The red hat does it though...everyone watches them before they even start the show.)

*stepping down off soapbox, straightening up costume, and walking quietly away*

Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK


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