Forums > Social Chat > Poi at Portland Juggling Festival

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68 posts
Location: Seattle, WA, USA

Well, I just got back from the Portland Juggling Festival, and I had a blast. There was a poi workshop taught by a Ryan Weh who was apparently in the Circles of Light video. He was, of course, incredible. The only person I ran into from this website was Bassman, who was kind enough to give me some pointers on the split-time TTN. Thanks again! I do want to take this opportunity to address something that troubles me. At a lot of these juggling festivals (fortunately not this one) poi swingers tend to show up and start spinning, paying little or no attention to the space around them. This creates an annimosity toward the art of poi and even more jugglers looking down there nose at poi than there already are. So please, everyone, remember that when you are spinning you are representing every other poi artisan out there and to leave a generous amount of space and then some between you and everyone else (esp. at any kind of gathering where there are lots of people who are distracted by all of the things going on around them). [This message has been edited by Neeko (edited 01 October 2001).]

1,015 posts
Location: Austin TX USA

This is interesting, because at local poi get-togethers, jugglers will sometimes show up and just start doing their thing without paying much attention to anyone else, standing between a person spinning fire and his bucketman (and not using bucketmen themselves), that sort of thing. So it goes both ways.Anyhow, I agree that we need to be good ambassadors for poi in general--with jugglers, with civilians, etc.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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

Interesting, very interesting...Jugglers don't like poi'ers spinning near them (or crowds) at juggling conventions, and poi'ers don't like jugglers juggling in their way at a poi-event.I suggest this might be a slight preferential biase against the visual odd-ones-out in each scenario.Neeko is exactly right when he says poi'ers are representing every other poi'er at juggling fests, although I would hope (with fingers crossed) that that is only for the attending public. The jugglers should be aware of how they can be misrepresented by a few 'clowns' (bad pun huh?) and be able to translate that into their experience with poi'ers.Also, at the poi fests, it may pay to mention to the juggler that he/she is standing in between a fire person and their safety. They may not even be aware of what a safety is. Certainly for fire clubs, very few perfomers have safeties (if any).So let them know, you may be getting angry at them without them knowing they are doing anything wrong...PS Yes, I am a fire-dancer and a juggler, and I'm certain there is an overlap that occurs more often than we think.------------------Charles (INFERNO)newdolbel@hotmail.com

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95 posts
Location: Austin, TX, USA

adamrice -- Yeah, my juggling friends and I got yelled at a couple of times when we first started going to the austin poi meetings. Most of the austin poi swingers that show up to that meeting are the opposite of a typical juggler's stereotype of a poi swinger. They are *extremely* safety cautious. Well, then again, you can be safety cautious without being courteous. It could very well be that the same people will start invading people's space once they get rid of the fire.But anyway, I've never actually seen a poi swinger hit somebody else by mistake at a juggling festival before (and I've been to a lot of festivals). Maybe I just don't pay close enough attention, but I just don't see where this stereotype comes from. Probably just cuz some jugglers don't like poi swingers so they just start talkin' smack about them and it spreads. Although it wasn't so bad at Portland, it probably doesn't help that over 75% of poi swingers at juggling festivals can barely do a 3 beat weave, so I guess that's not really a good representation of poi swingers. Personally, I find that jugglers tend to get in the way of poi swingers. They just don't understand that poi swingers need more space. I was getting really frustrated at the IJA festival this year at certain points. There was one time where I just had to give up and stop poi swinging because the gym was too crowded and jugglers kept closing in on me. If I didn't stop I would have definitely hit someone.The Portland festival was awesome. I was really glad that I got to meet Ryan and Neeko
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They are both really cool people. (I believe Ryan said he goes by the name of defrag, but hasn't posted for a while). Ryan had a really nice workshop. I was really happy that he did it. I hope he continues to teach workshops in the future.

pozeeBRONZE Member
old hand
887 posts
Location: san diego, USA

well bassman, at least you had the smarts to know when it was too dangerous and time to stop.i was at a party once and ther was this guy who knew nothing about poi. he had two 10 inch glowstick on the end of some strings and he was practically in the middle of the dance floor. the only thing he could do was spin them as fast as he could. he tried to do a simple crossover many times and was never succesful. the hting that got me soo upset was that he was swinging as fast as he could in the middle of a big crowd and then getting upset when someone got hit, like it was their fault.well finally i put my anger aside and calmly asked him to come out of the way and i would teach him something. that was the best way for me to get him away from the bystanders without a full on confrontation. definately did not want that, but it was just upsetting me so much to watch him subject all the people to that. if you play with glowstick you know they hurt as bad as anything that is not soft, on top of that they were 10 inches and going faster than most people would ever spin their poi.just thought i would vent about that. i handled it well though and there was no harm done to him or his ego. he actually learned something that night. and he saw how catious i was of people and i guess took it to heart.

anyone got a light?

129 posts
Location: Sydney, Australia

as a juggler and a firespinner, I guess I can understand both sides. I haven't noticed it much in NZ, in fact at the last juggling festival I taught several staff workshops and heaps of jugglers attended and loved it. But I used to post to juggling newsgroups, and I noticed there was definitely some animosity, mostly towards poi rather than to staff. I think maybe part of it is that a lot of good jugglers are quite intellectual, technical people.....they learn tricks for the challenge, for the difficulty, and so some of them tend to not have much respect for poi people because they see it as "easy". And, compared to say, juggling 5 balls, I'd have to admit that learning the basics of poi *is* comparitively "easy". There are a lot of people who do very basic firespinning or poi purely for the fun/energy/vibe of it, and while this is a totally okay choice, it's natural that the technically minded jugglers will find them annoying, because in the jugglers' eyes, they're just pissing around doing tricks you could learn in ten minutes and thinking they're wonderful ;-) Of course things are only as easy as you make them.....there are moves in *all* disciplines that are incredibly hard to do, including staff and poi. If you do get hassled about poi or staff being "easy", try politely and cheerfully offering to teach them a few of your harder moves (without being obnoxious and defensive). They might change their attitude :-) But I can understand the annoyance factor.....I have to say I've met some awful 'ambassadors' of poi and staff......people who think they're too cool to learn from others, who won't teach because they want to keep it an 'elite art', who assume that they're fantastically talented and therefore entitled to hog the space, who are unaware of people around them and the breeze or flicks of kero given off by their toys, who have little regard for safety.......and yeah, these people are unfortunately the ones jugglers will remember. I've also met jugglers who are just as irresponsible, but I guess because they take up less space and are less likely to accidentally hit people, they're not quite so annoying.As charles says, I've *never* seen a juggler use a safety when doing fire.....and to be honest, I don't either, unless I'm performing. Not because I think I'm bulletproof, but because with fire, I take all the other necessary precautions......natural fibres, being completely sober/straight, hair tyed up, only doing moves I'm confident with....and I'm willing to take the risk that this is enough. So if you do use one, I think it's definitely necessary to politely explain to people that you have a safety and that they need to have access to you......the juggler will probably respect your cautious attitude and cut you some slack. xaeda

the memories fire, the rhythm falls slow....

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