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Forums > Social Chat > Fire Dancing Groups around the World...

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Simos


enthusiast
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 382
Posted:I've just read something that Maeon wrote and it reminded me of something i wanted to ask everyone for ages, especially since i am quite ignorant about the fire scene around the world; basically Maeon had said that most of the fire dancers in Brisbane fall into one of the following categories (of course this was based on her personal experience so far - feel free to add to it) - i know that the precious thread was about clothing but i am assuming here that if someone dresses as raver ,for example, he is a raver (please tell me that this is a reasonable assumption - i am finding hard to see why a raver at heart would want to dress like a goth or of course the other way round too
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) :-Hippies-Ravers-Goths/Punks-Circus KidsIs that true for other parts of the world and are there any other communities in which fire-dancing is popular? What are the dominant groups in different places and which of these groups are absent from others? I would also be really interested to find out what fire dancing means to each of these communities e.g. are there are cases where good fire-dancing skills are a 'status' test within the community (not directly of course but someone respected within the community might be expected let's say to be a good fire-dancer or maybe it works the other way too)... or is it just a simple past time and a chance to get together for other communities...any feedback will be really appreciated
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,thanx a lot in advance for any replies and happy swinging,Simos[This message has been edited by Simos (edited 11 February 2001).]


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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:Does "circus kid" have some non-obvious meaning? I don't care for strict labelling like goth or raver (people have a funny way of slipping out of their categories). That said...I've met at least 25 fire twirlers around Austin. Many of them got into it because of Burning Man, and they do it recreationally. These people tend to be a little older and may have sort of a hippie outlook, perhaps, but I wouldn't call them hippies--they can pass for normal. There are also younger people, who I tend to think of as hippie-juniors (often have the matted pseudo-dredlocks and dress eclectically from vintage shops).There seems to be a clearer division between those who twirl recreationally and those who twirl professionally. A minority of professional twirlers are actually guarded about their craft, and don't want their secret moves to be figured out; the recreational twirlers are conscious of this attitude too.Among those who perform professionally (I've met about 10 people here who get paying gigs, almost all women), you've got your club types, circus types (there's one troupe of 4 women and one guy for whom twirling is their primary source of income), and at least a couple of people that can pass for normal.------------------Adam Rice :: www.fire-gear.com

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:What an hard question from my perspective Simos. The reason why is because there truly is no clear cut answer for this area of the world.I know this area hasn't any real rave culture here (believe it or not) and at night clubs the glowsticks I have seen being toyed with are not twirled in any thoughtful manner....just swung around for the simple joy of bouncing to the music, which is nice in it's own right.I am concidered professional, I think
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.I fit into the qualifications of making a good share of my annual income from performing. I haven't come across any other swingers (other than Prom of course) in a large radius, and we don't fit into a genre of swinging. We do Ren shows, obviously, we also do goth shows, and family-style-denim-wearing shows. We have done mock combats and such. We are an abstract motley not being able to slide into any of these sub-cultures, which I agree I understand alot of swingers fit into these niches, but I would assume the professional ones adopt a persona and when off stage kind of check that persona at the door. Please correct me if I am wrong. I know that's what I do. It's kind of like controlled multiple-personality syndrome. But at the end of the day I am still "normal". I grocery shop in jeans and t-shirts, go out in skirts and tops, hang with my parents and go to my son's school meetings.I can answer the status part only from this perspective. In Ren faires their are skilled acts and non-skilled comedy acts. Obviously comedy is a skill, but the dangerous ones...fire play, sword swallowing, juggling, etc these are limited commodity skills and so are labelled as skilled acts. Yes there is a bit of competition going, as a juggler might juggle fire but doesn't eat it. Who can get the most audience members is what it's all about, yet we are all still buds at the end of the show day. It's all kept very friendly, though can push themselves to do a little bit more within their own art does sometimes play into it.I would also like to address Adam's comment about professional fire people being guarded. I am not. I look at it from this perspective, if they want to learn they will, better from me...whomI know does it safely, than from hurtful experimentation and no knowledge of this site
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.However, I haven't had anyone ask me to really teach them. They marvel and say isn't that hard? to which I reply "If I don't practice then yes". In the end alot of the people we do shows for I think view what we do as an almost magic of sorts....where they enjoy the illusion but don't want to ruin it with truth. As for me, I always did try to figure out how they made things go poof!Best to all and I am really interested to hear what others have to say!------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...


Pele
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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Simos


enthusiast
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 382
Posted:hey you two..ta for the interesting replies
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Pele
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those Ren faires sound very interesting, i hope i get to go to one at some point in my life - i can see what you mean when you speak of competition between different performers, at the end of the day i guess a performer performs for the enjoyment of the audience (as well as his own of course) and i guess having a large crowd of thrilled people watching you is a measure of your success in a way...(although it's really strange that sometimes you might end up with fewer people to come and watch you, but these like it so much more at the end, maybe since to come and watch in the first place even if there isn't a big audience means that they are interested in what you do)...Adam
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i don't know about circus kids having a non-obvious meaning, i used Maeon's 'categories' (i hope you don't mind Maeon
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) just because she seems to know more about this than i do and in any case that's roughly the groups i had in mind too anyway; i take it that by 'circus kids' she means generally people in fire circuses etc or fire troops or generally performers; it doesn't really matter since when i wrote the above groups i did it to provide a start-point for the discussion and not by any means to exclude any cultures or stick labels to people; i just find it interesting to find out how fire dancing is perceived from different groups and within which groups it's really popular in different places... i can't wait to learn more about this...
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happy swinging,Simos[This message has been edited by Simos (edited 11 February 2001).]


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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Hey Simos...I think Maeon is a she...not he.Just to let you know!!
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------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...


Pele
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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Simos


enthusiast
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 382
Posted:Hey Pele...come on girl, read my posts more carefully
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- i am sure i used 'she' everywhere
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... (what??? who edited my posts, what's going on here???
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- don't believe any of these Maeon
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- anywasy i do apologise for changing your sex overnight!
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)happy swinging,Simos


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maeon


member
Location: brisbane, queensland, australi...

Total posts: 40
Posted:heheh,Yeah, I am a girl, but if you want you can just call me 'it'..... that modifying posts thing is too weird. Heres me, thinking I'll just slip back into the HOP message board quietly and sneakily, and next minute, 'poof!' everbody knows I'm here. How bizarre.Anyway, like I said, those four catergories are just from glancing over the people you see around here, and yeah, it is just labeling people by their clothing, which isn't really the safest thing to do. For example, I don't qualify as any fashion type normally, I own army greens, retro dresses, an army of tartan skirts and printed shirts and I only wear army boots. So if you saw me while twirling at a show (leather skirt, bra, black face paint) you'd really have no idea about the other fashion I posess. I figure a lot of other people also 'dress up' a bit when they go out to fire dance.Anyway, when I say circus kids, I mean the people who get into fire through circus associated skills.... eg the people who start off juggling, unicycling, acrobalancing, magic, etc. (some people in fire circuses probably fit into this, we don't... we're not a circus in the 'true sense' of the word.) I tend to think of troupes and performance groups as coming second to twirling, eg, people learn to firedance, then form a performance group... but I also know of groups that were formed then learned.As for the guarding secrets, I haven't encountered it in person, and quite frankly, I don't see the point. If you don't tell someone how you do it or what you use, they will find out by other means anyway. Nothing irks me more than people who won't share the new things they discover. Sometime a while ago, I don't remember where, there was somebody who said they'd discovered a cheaper, safer firebreathing fuel. But they flat out said they wouldn't tell anyone what it was. I think that sucks. Even if everyone started using this new fuel, it wouldn't change the status of the person who shared... in fact people would probably tell others that thats where they learned about it. Its not like they would have lost gigs or money by sharing either - unless they were reselling the fuel at a higher price.The way I see it, sharing new things just allows the entire community to push the boundaries that little bit further. Imagine life without the internet..... none of us would have any idea what the others do, and we'd all be a hell of a lot poorer (in a creative sense) because of it.

Where in the world is the island I'm on?

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Posted:Excellent thread, yet again. Yeah, I responded to Rae on this exact subject. I cited, like Maeon, the addition of hippies, circus kids, and more specifically trance ravers. Interesting that there are those commonalities between Maeon's scene in Brisbane and mine in SF. The only other I added was those interested in fire as a spiritual practice. Also I wouldn't buy goths and punks as a group. I was a punk in my younger life and I would never have aligned myself with goths. But that's me in a different time in a very specific place. Which really brings up another point and this is really just suppostion. Someone on a particular scene starts playing with fire and their friend check it out, want to learn and pretty soon there's a bunch of kids on that scene playing with fire. Does that mean that scene is about playing with fire? As for "dressing the part", I'll say two things. Unfortunately, a lot of people look for those that appear as part of a scene rather than check them out as individuals. I know this is how people who don't want to spend their time on the adornments get ignored and those who may not be as like minded get accepted by virtue of their appearance, though perhaps not for long. This is why I don't like most "scenes" because when you identify yourself as "one" that automatically creates "another". You create or become involved in a scene that's special, there will be those that seek to exclude others. As far as sharing information, I'm pretty open about that. There are distinctions for me. There's a difference between not sharing a move you've developed and not sharing information about something that makes fire play safer, like safer breathing fuel. That's just irresponsible to me. I'll share any move that's part of the "common parlance". I show anyone how to do cross-follows, fountains, whatever. There are some move I created that I don't share. To me it's like any other form of creation. The creator has "ownership", if you will, of what they've created. I respect people who go out of their way to create new things in the art form. If and how they share that is up to the creator. I don't have any problem with those who want to keep their "secret moves" to themselves. There are a bunch of kids I can think of that do really cool original moves and I don't even think about copying them because they're so integral to what they're doing. Besides, I know I can go out and create my own that will be integral to me. Diana

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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:Dianna--regarding sharing moves and whatnot. One thing to bear in mind is that everybody on this website has access to a pretty good library of "public" moves, and is also sharing info on moves they dream up. So we're kind of spoiled in terms of our access to info on moves compared to a twirler who operates in isolation. who might think the btb weave, for example, is his/her special secret move.My own feeling is that A) most of us can learn at least a little from most of the rest of us, and B) even knowing exactly the same repertoire of moves, two twirlers will probably have very different styles. Even crassly stealing someone else's moves doesn't give the thief (if that's the right word), the other twirler's energy, grace, or style, and C) the person who's most generous giving away info on technique is probably the one who has the least to fear in terms of actually being copied. At least that's my experience in other areas of life.Just last week (at my first light-up, thank you), a friend who's been at this a lot longer than me said of some move "Wow, it looks so different when you do it!"------------------Adam Rice :: www.fire-gear.com

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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Posted:Good points all, Adam. Though I'm not sure I'm following you about "public" moves. I certainly very aware and grateful for the information we're priveleged with. I look at it all as a musician might look at scales. I practice cross-follows over and over again in every way I can think of doing. But when it comes to performing, I don't go up there and play scales. I use scale to perform my melody. I'm really not talking about people who don't know their moves *aren't* original. I'm talking about those whose moves *are* original. I live in an area full of fire performers. Some are very liberal with information and some more conservative. People share so much around here, it's obvious when something original comes out. Because "good news travels fast", some want to keep their original material more protected. I have a hunch this is more of the "professional" and "recreational" spinner thing you wrote of. I don't think it's about the level of isolation either. From what I've heard from kids who spin in relative isolation, they come up with the most original stuff because they got noone to tell them "this is how it's done". They find their own path. But in isolation or in the thick of it, lots of people who value sharing with their community and lots of people who value respect for individual creativity. Both views are valid. I'm not saying that because I make up my own moves that I can't learn from others. Believe me, I'm not all that. I've been honored to learn from a lot of people and media and continue to do so. Shit, I'm still studying the Schatz book. My best policy to ask someone if they've a move I like before I just pick it up. That's not pleading isolationism. If I'm learning something from someone, I'd like to make it by their choice. Yes, it's true no two people are going to execute the same moves the same way. Not possible. I've seen people lift moves I created and I can see they don't do it like me. There's a big difference to me between asking someone to teach you a move and picking it up without approaching them. And yes, those who hold on too tightly tend to get into trouble for all the energy they put there. I'm about giving information that helps each individual find and cultivate their own creativity, not to give them mine in whole cloth. Everyone should be empowered through their own creativity. Sorry, kids, I'm a little bleary with tiredness. I'm not formulating my ideas really well. I hope this makes sense. Diana

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