Forums > Social Discussion > why the hell are all these untalented fire dancers trying to teach ppl

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joshthejuggler 1 post
Location: fairmont minnesota

this disgusts me i have been doing fire performances for 8 years and and now all thes ppl who have been doing Poi when there bored a few times a mnth are lighting up and thinking they can teach ppl / what the hell happen to the old days when you apprenticed someone with fire not a [censored] social gather if u want to learn pay ur dues . when i started i didnt even touch fire until after a year of training now it seems that every one and there brother thinks they can spin and blow fire hmmm maybe thats why u need so much safety info cuz they dont know what they are doing .the people who are serious performers and have been for years and make a living off of this stuff knows what im talking and tricks should only be shared through an appretinceship

hehehe howdy

rowanlee 99 posts
Location: west coast

I occasionally teach, though I consider myself a novice for sure. In fact, I will always be a novice at this art! ;-) And more often than not, I teach kids, cause they are so much crazy fun , completely in the moment. I love to get them started on something as special as Poi.

I am not a big fan of the Master's only teaching concept. I dont think we always need to look at skill sets, or learning, in a disciplined heirarchical way. Sometimes that is where the ego really lies, and it is just intimidating for some people. It is worth considering what the student actually wants out of the expereince. Some people thrive in one teaching environment, some in another...

And performers, well, I think it is sad to suggest that only the good people can ever perform. Who measures that anyways? Safety aside, I dont even think people should wait until they think they are "perfect " before trying something out in a group setting, or even on stage. Most people can recognize a professional show when they see one, but many still enjoy seeing someone delight in showing and sharing something they love.

Come on people! What is wrong with just playing?! have fun, dabble and drop your Poi if you want to, stand on your head and spin if that is what tickles your fancy... I want to get people playing, inspired, moving, thinking, feeling... Spinning!

What I ask myself before I would teach: Do I have something to share? Yes! Definately! Can I share it competantly with those that want to learn? Yes! Definately! Do we all have fun, get enthused, and develop as we go? Yes! Definately!

I think the important thing is how you offer what you teach. I dont present myself as anything other than what I am, and teach only what I know. When we get beyond that, I point them in the direction of someone like Nick, and they continue their learning process .

We are all continually learning, no?

Poi should be ***played*** in my opinion. I love a good performance, in any art form, but I just trust that the audeince is capable of seeing any distinctions that need to be made between an amateur with a big ego and a so called serious performer.

How one chooses to present themselves is not really that important to me! Sometimes I just want to offer the person performing my respect and applause for having the courage to get out there and do their thing, rather than judge them worthy or not.

Watching a beginner do a little show, with that big, overjoyed look on their face, the one that says, wow, I am doing this!! Makes me really happy.

Lets all just encourage people to play! By all means safely, but play on!


wherever you go, there you are

Sic Kitty 167 posts
Location: Richlands, North Carolina, USA

It quite sounds like everyone is in agreement on this subject...except Josh perhaps.

Sharing what you know with others for free (even if you totally suck) is acceptible and encouraged. Although safety (obviously) is key.

There will always be the few who think they know what they are doing and will end up hurting someone, and while that upsets us. It's not because of "false advertising" it's because people got hurt.

Personally, I like to teach people (never with fire, I don't even use it yet) because it's fun to feel like a mentor. And to watch arrogant people whack themselves in the shin. *grins*

You've just been attacked by:
*cackles maniacally*
I suffer...*sob*...because I am better.

I don't really believe that.... *coughs*

crazycarlSILVER Member
21 posts
Location: Bellingham and Seattle, WA, USA

Written by: rowanlee

And performers, well, I think it is sad to suggest that only the good people can ever perform. Who measures that anyways?

This is a little off topic, and is no way in contradiction to the rest of your post Andrea -- however -- there seems to be this pervasive view in the Poi community that it is just impossible to pass any type of judgement about someone else's skill...
Although I fully agree that body movement, personal interpretation, etc play a big role in the art of Poi -- the bottom line is that there are certain "moves" (if you will) that some people can do, and some people cant... The ability to do these "moves" is generally directly proportionate to the amount of time someone has devoted to the art form... Which in my mind, tranlates into the definition of "skill".
If I watch two performers, and one of them dances around all pretty-like and is graceful and beautiful etc but cant do anything beyond a 3-beat weave, but the other stands stock still while busting 7-beat isolated corkscrews and hyperloop throw/catches, it still seems pretty easy to me to tell which of these performers is of greater "skill".
I guess what it really boils down to for me, is if I got together 10 experienced Poi spinners who were very familiar with the art form, and had them independantly judge several Poi spinners ranging in experience from novice to expert -- I think it would be easy for the panel of judges to agree on a rank order of "skill" for the performers based on what "moves" they do or dont do.

Although there is some gray area around style, grace, etc, in my opinion, whoever amasses the greatest compilation of these "moves" and is able to seamlessly link them together is going to be the most skillful or the "best" Poi artist. I can ask someone, "hey, can you do a 5-beat bhb weave?" and either they can, or they cant. They may ask me, "Hey, can you dance gracefully while you spin poi?" but that is secondary to the ability to do the "moves" in the first place.

I hope this doesn't piss people off -- I am just tired of this silly grade-school ideal of "no-one is better than anyone else, just different..."

If I had the time/motivation, I could create a big list of ALLLLL (or at least most) of the Poi "moves" (I hate that term by the way) discussed on this site -- then I could have any given Poi artist go down the list and put a CHECK mark next to the "moves" they are capable of doing.
Although having the MOST check marks wouldn't always mean someone was the best performer (again, style, flow, body movement etc comes into play) 9 times out of 10 the person with the most check marks would also be the person who consistently puts on the most entertaining performance AND would also probably be the person who had put the most time/energy into practicing Poi.
Whew, my fingers are tired -- feel free to rip this post apart now wink

A bird can fly, but a fly cant bird...

Adya MiriyanaGOLD Member
6,554 posts
Location: Adelaide, Australia

I agree with all of the above, with the exception of the first. Josh, why should these arts be learned entirely through an apprenticeship? The kinds of people i have come across through the community based learning are a large portion of what makes these arts what they are to me.

I do agree about novices lighting up and soforth, as explained by Pele above. Though, the fire community in my experience is safety orientated, and should not be prejudiced against on the basis of some unsafe people whom you may have encountered.

KatchGOLD Member
162 posts
Location: Singapore

Learning to spin brought me great joy, and I'm keen to share this with other people. I learned for free and so I teach freely. Although we're far from being circus spectacular, we can put together a handful of basic moves and entertain family and friends.

Is it really such a black and white thing? (only the Siths deal in absolutes) Are we doomed because we can't find masters, or circus schools in my country? The term "untalented" is a bit harsh. "Talent" after all is something innate as opposed to "skill" which can be developed.

You're quite fortunate to have found someone to apprentice with, and even deem yourself "talented." I wish we were as lucky.

As for safety. Our group at least has followed the safety guidelines here to the letter. Amatuer spinners can be responsible too. It's not mutually exclusive wink

Anyway... Welcome to HOP perhaps we'll get to know you a bit more on a less inflammatory note. hug

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
-Franklin P. Jones

rowanlee 99 posts
Location: west coast

hi crazy carl

I am certainly not one of the people that says that everyone is as "good" as any other....when refering specifically to a defined skill set. I will totally acknowledge that not only do some people have a stronger skills than others, I would even go so far as to say that some people do not even have the physical/mental/emotional/ capacity to develop those skill sets to the same degree! We are indeed definately born differently, and some of that translates into ability to perform a given task. So we are in agreement there.

But is that really the most important part of Poi to you?

I just dont see the point in measuring things by that aspect alone. I have seen many skilled people in various disciplines that frankly left me cold. And I have seen many skilled performers do an absolutely horrible job of trying to teach...

My point is more towards the enjoyment of the art, and the potential for expression and personal development within it ( all aspects). I do not want to see this limited by a narrow definition of skill set or ability, whether refering to someone performing or teaching. The unskilled player may still has something to offer...

Skills are only one part of the picture.

A teacher may be valued for qualities such as their ability to foster creativity within the student, their ability to teach them how to move freely ( ie dance) with Poi while doing so called moves, or even just to teach them how to use their body to the best of their own capacity with Poi... Or, their ability to encourage adventurous non judgemental play !

Many people are inhibited from trying wonderful things because of the unnecessary expectation that they have to be, or become, good at it. That makes me sad. There are many things I love doing I will never be all that good at. Needless to say, I do them anyways!

A performer may be valued for their simple ability to engage the audience rather than their skill.

I just like the diversity. If someone wants to go play Grasshopper to a Mentor, and learn through apprenticeship, great. We have those, and they can do that. If someone wants to belly dance while swinging Poi, great, they have someone that can teach them that. If someon else wants to learn the mathematics, or the spiritual aspects of Poi, we have that available too. It is a pretty fabulous community that has developed around this art!

Let's not limit it!

wherever you go, there you are

Bender_the_OffenderGOLD Member
still can't believe it's not butter
6,979 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia

joshthejuggler, with respect, i feel that i teach a mentality, not just technical / elagance in movement.
frankly, i would hate to pass on such an attitude to any so-called apprentices.
do you love sharing this thing more than you love being better than others?
perhaps i have horribly misinterpreted your initial post?
I have seen stunning performances from people who have only practiced twirling for 2 years.
Any twirler worth their salt knows that 'years practicing' can be quite misleading.
If it were the case and yearz means skillz, then RobertHeart would be the King of Kings!!

Laugh Often, Smile Much, Post lolcats Always

AdeSILVER Member
Are we there yet?
1,897 posts
Location: australia

Its sad when something you have worked so hard to protect as an elite skill should be so degraded by people wanting to have a go, have fun and participate in a community. rolleyes nana

what a crock

you might subscribe to a master/slave model, but some of us here are more interested in a collaborative approach to learning juggle weavesmiley ubbrollsmile

spritieSILVER Member
2,014 posts
Location: Galveston, TX, USA

Very well said, rowanlee, and I completely agree with you in regards to crazy carl's post.

Someone that just has skills and doesn't move at all is not what I would call a performer. If all they want to do is spin for themselves, then having skills and staying put are just fine. To me, a performer is someone that both moves around/dances AND engages the audience. It doesn't matter how many skills they have if they can both dance and interact with the audience well. I'll happily watch the later, but will never watch the former no matter how many "skills" they have.

Since Josh mentioned being an apprentice, I am assuming he was referring to what I called a performer.

I also don't think that the amount of "skills" a person has is directly proportional to the amount of time a person has devoted to Poi. I've been spinning for 5 years now. But yet, I have no desire to learn any of the more technical moves. They just don't suite my style of spinning. However, the audience still loves to watch me because of the way I move with my Poi and also the fact that I actually look at them and smile while I'm spinning. I engage eye contact and make most people smile back and cheer. I have devoted plenty of time to "poi" in perfecting my style, but that doesn't mean I've learned a whole bunch of "skills".

SirEggo 37 posts

it should be up to thew student who teaches them....I have been teaching for almost 11 years and yes I have seen some stupid teachers but entirely its up to the student...for their usually paying for the teachers time.

where there are ashes from those burnt by flame
the phoenix rises again and again.

Sir Nuggit 899 posts
Location: playing with traffic

Anyone interested in learning bad drills from an amateur? I can teach an awful weave, a worse Butterfly and a terrible Chasing the Sun *lookingforapprentice* and we can enter in to all kinds of competitions as master and student?

We'll have every chance of winning if we enter the under 5's category (although they can be tricky!). If all else fails, at least you'll learn how to set people's socks alight without them knowing ubblol

Pull my pin out, roll me in to a room and see what happens ubbloco

DuncGOLD Member
playing the days away
7,263 posts
Location: The Middle lands, United Kingdom

Hi Josh. First I'd like to say I completely agree with you. It disgusts me also.

Non-Https Image Link

Only experienced spinners with severe attitude and ego problems should be allowed to teach Poi. Spinning should only be schooled away from public view, in private, so 'secret moves' can be expressed without having to worry about anyone other than the padiwan learning them.

You're obviously a great leader by example. If everyone signed up to this community for over a year and contribute to it only once and yet so wisely, it would be a much better place.

Your students must be so enlightened.

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Let's relight this forum ubblove

ShuBRONZE Member
538 posts
Location: Pietermaritzburg (KZN), South Africa


yes, communal learning (so to speak) is fun and people tend to learn alot more, with so many ideas and different styles floating around.

BUT! without the experienced influence, the more advanced and "professional" dancers end up loosing out, because the WHOLE community worldwide gets a bad name! Trickle Down Effect!

Pietermaritzburg is a not a very large city, and it's a very "clicky" place, ie. people tend to stick with their own little group! Stereotyping is a big attitude here! If something goes wrong related to firedancing here, we ALL take a huge knock! The entire city see's us as the same group! it's almost expected that all of us here hang out together, and alot of people are shocked when i tell them that "no, i don't hang out with the Goth-Wannabe crowd".

Regards hug

(Ice-E FyreStorm - Group Manager & Performer)

You know those people your parentals warned you about?... I'M ONE OF THEM! ubbloco
Yes, i do bite!!

15,414 posts
Location: United Kingdom

I wonder if we will be seeing Joshthejuggler again....


_Clare_BRONZE Member
Still wiggling
5,967 posts
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland (UK)


But Dunc... that's a particularly amusing lil graemlin thingme.


Getting to the other side smile

DuncGOLD Member
playing the days away
7,263 posts
Location: The Middle lands, United Kingdom

Thank you, thank you

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Let's relight this forum ubblove

=Flashpoint=SILVER Member
Pasta of Muppets
2,722 posts
Location: in the interwebs..., United Kingdom

Your mastery of the Graemlins is great Dunc...

Could I apprentice under you to learn such mastery?

Oh yeah... Skillz...

I'm a little on the large side so I cant do BTB or waist wraps...

Does this make me a bad spinner?


colemanSILVER Member
big and good and broken
7,330 posts
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay, United Kingdom


there are many paths to becoming a good firespinner.
it is good that you have found one that worked for you.

but never assume that your path is higher or more correct than anyone else's:

[Old link]

cole. x

"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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

oooooohhhh...I love that thread Cole! Thanks.
And since this thread is going nowhere but to name calling...

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