xangelicnightmarex
xangelicnightmarex

member
Location: poland
Member Since: 13th Apr 2004
Total posts: 1
Posted:I need your help... frown
need informations about history of the fire show [not only poi]
I can't find any webs about it thats why i'm asking you
i'm interested when,where,how did it born..
I would be very greatful if you could help me
PLEASE
kiss


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Lluvia
newbie

Member Since: 26th Feb 2005
Total posts: 4
Posted:I would lov som facts to if there are someone who know somethin. I'm workin with a project in my school about poi histyr so please tell me were I can find more.

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Here are a few to start you off.

Chinese fire meteor (bowls filled fuel) very old (2000 yrs?), better check that one.

Swinging Indian clubs ( fire torches) and glow for at least 100 years.

Not sure about of the history of fire shows in carnivals/circus/vaudeville etc.

good luck


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Fire eating/breathing dates back to 2000 BC as a form of worship by priests.



It was then utilized by the sufi/fakir/swami's who instead of using it to worship used it to show that they were touched by gods and able to do amazing feats. This was not widely used however (I have only read of maybe two who used it), due to resource difficulties, and due to the ease of other stunts, they were favored.



Chinese royal performers were the first to incorporate fire into their shows, though it was using a piece of smouldering cloth in their mouth to make them look as if they were breathing smoke, so not really fire per se.

This happened around the 1700's.



The entire thing of people in the Renaissance eating fire for entertainment is media hype and bs. They could not afford to waste resources in such ways.



Quick semantic lesson...



Carnival- these are the rides and the games, sideshows accompanied them..grind shows and single o's



Circus- Standard Big top show, sometimes accompanied a carnival, sometimes used a sideshow to warm up the crowd.

Fire jugglers were popular in them, but things like eating were not really in the center ring.



Vaudeville did not actually utilize fire until its rebirth recently. This was for more geek stuff, like magic and juggling. And technically Vaudeville did not really come into play until the 1920's anyway.



Sideshows were where you would find the "stunt" acts, and these accompanied circus' and carnivals.



Circus's actually date back to ancient Greece, but it wasn't until their re-invention in the late-1700's that fire acts started to really be put on display, though it was not a part of a show, but more of a sideline. Fire did not take the forefront of a show until the development of Sideshows at the turn of the century. Of course this started with Fire eating, breathing, and juggling.



By the 1940's sideshow men were lighting themselves on fire, pouring gasolene on spaghetti and eating it (I know someone who is dieing of cancer from doing that act). It wasn't a show on it's own. It was primarily used as a grind show on a bally stage (the show on a stage outside the tent) to get attention of the crowds to entice people to pay thier dime to go inside and see what else was done. It was/is part of a 10-in-1 show (10 acts in 1 show).



Poi, staff, etc. did not really make a strong showing until the past decade, and even then most formal shows (not independently put on) do not incorporate these large fires largely due to legal liability issues.



*The circus/sideshow information comes from years of research. Somewhere around here I have the actual timeline, with names, dates and places exactly. I don't have tonnes of time today, but if anyone is interested, I can put it up later.



*The following information came from the Hawaiian Historic Society, from friends of mine in Hawaii, from a series of shows about the history of Hawaii that was on the Travel channel last year (fascinating! I highly recommend it!), and from years of research.



Now outside of sideshows there are the Polynesian fire spinners, who mostly use fire knives (in a nutshell: an imbalanced staff). These are actually not traditional at all. The use of staves are, however, the use of fire is not. When the tourism boom began in Hawaii in the mid-1900's, and when the white people screwed the Hawaiian's from their property and started establishing large plantations and "attractions", rituals of the natives were turned into an entertainment enterprise (ie: the hotel Luau). So far I have not found who introduced the fire to the staff work, but it showed up in the late 1940's as part of their "cultural" shows and has been believed to be a historic part of their culture ever since, when in fact, it was an addition solely for the purpose of tourist entertainment.



I have found it interesting in my research at how many people *honestly* believe that the Maori use fire, or that people really did fire eat at Medieval festivals, or that Polynesians used fire on their staves.



There is not a long and illustrious history of fire as a performance art because it has only been in the past 100 years or so that we have the resources to waste. Fuel and wicking were not in abundance in the dark ages. People did not have the time to dedicate to such foolhardy ventures for the most part.



The very acts were started as forms worship (fire eating), or as forms of storytelling and cultural identity (Poi), and even as forms of weapon/protection (Staff, Meteors, etc.). We are the ones who have bastardized it to make a buck (and yes, I am one of those bastards).



You will not find alot of information about these as performance arts with fire until recently because it simply did not happen. We are living in wasteful times, with too much time on our hands and a disregard for resources, so we are in a place where we can.



Like I said, I have more exact information around here somewhere.



Hope this helps.

Pele

EDITED_BY: Pele (1109778725)


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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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Thanks for that Pele, very interesting.

Now I am way out of my depth here, but I have wondered if there are two forms of these fire arts? Like 1. fire breathing and 2. dragon breath/transfers etc.

Im not disagreeing with your comments on fire entertainment during the Renaissance, but I would suspect that (if it did occur) it would have been for the rich end of town.

During the Dark Ages, however, they tell me Merlin was an absolute wizard with fire staff wink

cheers smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Dragon7
Dragon7

addict
Location: Aotearoa (NZ)
Member Since: 17th Oct 2003
Total posts: 625
Posted:Written by:
I have found it interesting in my research at how many people *honestly* believe that the Maori use fire, or that people really did fire eat at Medieval festivals, or that Polynesians used fire on their staves.



Pele





Furthermore, records also tell of Poi Toa being adapted to "fire bomb" pa fortifications (Maori fortified village),

(Sourced from writings of Daisy Hemana) http://history-nz.org/poi.html
br>


Id have to agree, we didnt use fire poi for performace (i have recently seen haka groups using fire though). But id have to disagree with the Written by:


"...or Polynesians used fire on their staves. "

Pele



Only because when i studied fire staff in samoa, i was given the whakapapa (ancestory) of their fire dance which dated back way before the introduction of europeans. As with most things polynesian... it all comes back to gods.



Thank you Pele smile nice post, and believeable, most people just make up random ideas. The 1 thing i think though could be better is having your references and source's for your infomation and links or the books it was written in...being the net its easy for people to just make things up...but in saying that, its impossible to use polynesian references because its all word of mouth... and in the modern world people dont believe you unless you have written "proof" frown

EDITED_BY: Dragon7 (1109811128)


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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Dragon7, I did point out that my basis is from Hawaii, which is not Samoa.

And I also pointed out that it is abbreviated. If I were to list my sources, all that I have used throughout the years, I would be here for hours typing, which I simply do not have.

If you do not trust me, which I have been on this site, and researching *all* of the sideshow arts for *years* then fine. I am not known for bs, lies, making stuff up or otherwise spreading flase information (or holding my tongue) here or anywhere else.

It is up to you what to believe, but in the end, don't ask the questions if you do not want to believe the answers (or in this case, read the answers).

Stone, even the rich could not afford to waste things like fuel.
Dragon's Breath is a form of Fire Breathing from flame retention.

Trailing/Pooling/Transfers/Painting are different as they are not orally based, generally speaking (there are stunt exceptions).

They all fall into what I call "Close Proximity Fire" (which is also my specialty).
Under that there is the subdivision of Oral Fire and Flesh Fire.
So they are two different arts but are closely related. You can do one without the other. If they were the same, it would be hard to seperate them. Does that make sense? Though that is simply how I concider them. *shrug*


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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Dragon7
Dragon7

addict
Location: Aotearoa (NZ)
Member Since: 17th Oct 2003
Total posts: 625
Posted:Written by:
If you do not trust me



I trust YOU! You misunderstood me.


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