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Forums > Social Chat > From the Audience Perspective

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Today was the nicest day we have had in a looooooong time so we went out to practice.We had a small audience and my friend videotaped us. We practiced single moves and small routines and such....Afterwards we asked the friends what they thought, they told us to take out the hard moves and just swing basically because they looked no different in reverse than forwards, and going from a complex move to a simply move still looks like a bunch of circles, etc.In my show routine I change my moves pretty much completely...overhead to staggered to vertical so there is as much change visually as possible but hearing that was still an eye opener. When we looked at the video (which you people will *never* see...ugh!
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) I was asked to put aside techinical thought and see it for what it was and they were right. How many of you could tell the difference the first time you saw a spinner?Why do you do the complex bhtb 12 part weaves?
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Why do you push yourself?------------------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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dangerboy


dangerboy

original member
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Total posts: 205
Posted:i agree with your friends' observation in part. a while ago i was walking to practice and got to see them spinning from a bit of a distance, and it did just look like a bunch of circles. however, the fire is only one half of what's going on. body movement is just as imortant and equally visually pleasing. while a forewards and reverse weave might have the same flame trails, the transition between them and the hand movements mezmerize people, espacially if you try to make them really elegant. 'nuff said.------------------Earth my body, water my blood, air my breath, fire my spirit

Earth my body, water my blood, air my breath, fire my spirit

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Peregrine


member
Location: Mystic, Ct. USA

Total posts: 428
Posted:yeah what really attracted me, after initial introduction to fire, was the really nice hand movements...really graceful like an indian dancer. i havnt bothered to learn 5 beat anything and have no real desire to since it seems to me to not add much to it and in fact from attempts i've seen so far doesnt lend much more grace to the whole thing. they used to lead off their show with a song which consisted entirely and only of forward weave variation and no one in the audience ever seemed bored.my $0.2Pere

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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:As always, Pele asks the interesting questions.I do think that audiences appreciate variety--if you stood there doing side-circles for 5 minutes, it would get pretty boring. There's probably a sweet spot for transition frequency--stay with one move long enough so that your audience can appreciate the move you are doing, and then change. Four iterations or so? Something like that. I'd love to be able to do a routine where I was constantly shifting after just one or two interations, but I don't have the skill.I do think that even newcomer audiences can appreciate the variety, the different body movements you can achieve with different moves, the different rhythms they afford, and the different swirl patterns they create. They may not appreciate just how hard a btb weave is, though. I admit that you can't always tell what'll get a big reaction--I recently started a routine with a sort of open corkscrew, tightened that into a normal corkscrew, and when I snapped into a weave from that, I got applause. Just a weave! When I did a sort-of backbend with a butterfly over my body, that got a big reaction.Which brings us to the question of why challenge oneself. Why? Because I like to challenge myself. I like to be learning new things. I want to be able to add variety to my routines. And I don't want to feel complacent.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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Twist


member


Total posts: 160
Posted:Sigh...I must say the first time I saw dancers I didn't realize that they were relatively amateurish... my only basis for judgment was...well... attitude, if that makes any sense....I was much more impressed by the woman doing simple crosses and turns, but with a sexy swing of the hip and serious look than those standing still working out much more complex stuff...I dunno... make any sense?

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Yup twist it does. And since I humbly attempt to *really* dance with my tools, the body/hand correlation the both pere and DB expressed makes alot of sense to me. The simplest moves can be done with the most savvy body movements and look amazing while the most complicated moves done without the entire body just seem lacking. I watched thie video again, and it seems even more evident with staff.I don't do what I concider a bunch of hard moves which I understand is all in the eye of the beholder anyway. I enjoy challenging myself but I had been thinking that while I was proving ot myself I could do it I was also adding an element to my show, that, it seems the audience in these parts doesn't seem care about. And audiences, being fickle will love one move in one venue and something completely different in another. I think that simple and smoothe is a good practice and I will keep pressing on those hard moves when I can for my own satisfaction. Maybe once they become second nature I will add them in but it just doesn't seem so important now, you know? Hmmm..In the end as long as I have fun it's all good.
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------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...[This message has been edited by Pele (edited 09 April 2001).]


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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Posted:I think that how well lit your performance space is, will make a huge difference to the focus of your audience...We used to practice on the beach at night, and the focus was much more on the circles...Now we practice under a very well floodlit bridge, and the focus is much much more on the body movement - which is as I think it should be.At the moment I'm twirling with the thought that I'm contorting my body around the circles...not just making circles...I hope to some day have an audience wow'ed not by the fire - but more by the crazy antics of the guy behind the fire...Josh

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Posted:Good thread all. Thanks for the question, Pele. This is something some of us locally have talked about. The fire tricks intended for other fire performers, not necessarily that the crowd would enjoy. I look at it this way, because I've come from doing music fairly seriously for much of my life. When I was training hard vocally, I would stretch my singing range as much as possible. To the point I could hit notes an octave above what most female vocalists can hit and two octaves above where most music for female voices is ranged. Why did I do this? Because even if I'm not using those notes, the notes that I did sing rang with those resonances. I also worked my scales, singing as quickly as I could. Not so I'd go on stage and sing scales super fast, but so I'd have the facility to turn a trill or inflect a certain note surely. That's how I look at spinning. I'm going to bust out my skills. I'm going to do the drills, not to reproduce them while I'm playing, but so I have the skills to perform in a way that conveys what I want to say with ease. Challenging myself to learn new skills helps keep it fresh for me and in turn to the audience. It also gives me a broader pallette and more flexibility when it comes to improvising. I haven't had the urge to go for the highly covetted standard skills because I don't see that this contributes enough to my physical language to put the time needed to get those skills. I can say more with my corkscrew combinations than any hot-shit skill I might work up. I want whatever "tools" I put in my "kit" to say something to my audience. Adam, you're totally right on. The back bend with get them every time. Maybe it's the energy and drama of it. Maybe it's because it looks hard. The point is, I think, to notice the reactions you get and build on that. You've got something there. Oh, yeah, I'm reading good things here. Elegance, grace. There's so much in the presentation of skills that adds to the performance. Dare I say, *is* the performance. Josh, yeah, I love the idea of contortion and fire. There's richness in that vein. I've also seen some kids works on contact improve with fire. Lots of room to grow there. Thanks all!Diana

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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:What Twist wrote reminded me of something another fire-twirler mentioned recently. This particular twirler does not generally do difficult moves (although she does them in such a unique way I couldn't understand some of them), but she has a wonderful hip-shaking body movement that is very distinctive (I can tell it's her, even without my glasses) and reminds me a little of belly dancing. She commented that she'd like to do some tougher moves, but can't integrate them with the way she moves her body--so it's clear where she places her priority, and I think that's great, because she is beautiful to watch. Someone else responded that "If you can put a 50:50 emphasis on twirl moves and body motion, people will pick up on that. If it's 60:40, and you are emphasizing your body motions, people will pick up on *that*--so it all works." And I think he was right--the way each of us will stress different aspects of the performance is part of individual style.[This message has been edited by adamrice (edited 10 April 2001).]

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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ykaterina
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

member
Location: east randolph, VT USA

Total posts: 107
Posted:i have to agree about the body...it's all about the dance for me. i mean, sure, i like learning new stuff, but when i do, i stand still and that's no fun. the days that i'm "really good" are the days that my whole body is into it - that everything is radiating together and the fire is just a part of it. so that somehow it looks like it's just the natural extension of my soul. like, i just *am* that way. (and this happens SOOO often - uh, not. but often enough to know that it's what i'm reaching for!)
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s-p-l-a-t


member
Location: Brisbane, Qld, Australia

Total posts: 383
Posted:I think that a 50/50 emphasis would be great for twirling - provided it doesn't consist of a 5 minute set of dancing around with the standard 3 beat forward weave. (I really don't think this takes full advantage of having two flaming chains in hand if its a 'performance'.)It's nice when you see other performers swinging their hips - I agree every girl/guy I've seen have totally different and distinguishable ways of doing it - just like regular dancing almost. I know a guy who does the most fluid 5 beat weave ever who really takes off when he does it. And definitely certain moves fit better into various ppl's styles of dancing too. I learnt piano for 5 years and I often adopt the way I learnt it to the way I do/learn poi. Doing piano scales very quickly with both hands making sure I didn't miss a single note helped me play more fluidly in the long term. I think it's important to practice at least once in a while lit or unlit attempting to risk a few wacks in the head for a brand new trick...I think it's well worth it.

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.- B.B.King

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Superman
BRONZE Member since Mar 2001

Superman

member
Location: Houston, Texas

Total posts: 829
Posted:this is a great thread...i know when i spin in front of people that dont know anything about it, i tend to try moves and combo moves that are very easy to distinguish by the pattern they make. They dont really see the difference in a reverse butterfly, and a forward butterfly, because it makes the same circular shape..Hell they dont even know what a butterfly is.Then when i am with my friends that i normally spin with, and have a basic understanding of spinning, we notice when some one reverses a movement, and then give them props for the sill that was needed to do it, even thought the pattern that the light makes is essentially the same.Also i dont spin fire (not yet anyway) but from the video i have seen, fire, because of the thick trails the Poi leaves, i think makes it harder to discern one move from another. All you see, are large flaming cirlces, changing angles. But because i spin as well, i can see when someone combos into different moves, and i recognize the skill it takes to go from a standard weave into a 5 beat weave the turn 180 inta a reverse, then into a windmill to a reverse BF...and so on. just dont see big pretty patterns. I see the complexity of the moves, but to the standard/average viewer, they are looking more at the patterns, and are amazed by the danger of the performance..I think with the thin line of light that a glowstick produces makes it a little easier for an onlookers to see transition of moves..but thats just me.Again this is a great topic...Super'------------------"Only the warrior that hears the call will know when to leave, Where to go" -unknown

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear.


- Mark Twain

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N8


member
Location: NY, USA

Total posts: 336
Posted:Too true, too true,I find we often try so hard for a reverse/triple/over-head whatchamacallit and forget the simple beautiful moves we learn first...In the end its all about fluidity. there really isn't any sense to learning a move if it is sloppy-looking. I find the reverse 5 beat weave to be an example of this. Technically speaking it is quite inpressive, but it looks less than stellar.Although, isn't it the closest thing to Euphoria when you learn a new move? I also believe that the passion to fill one's heart is found in the struggle. ------------------Care of other people's approval and you become their prisoner.Live fully, Rave wholly.Fluid are the movements of my strings...

Care of other people's approval and you become their prisoner.Live fully, Rave wholly.Fluid are the movements of my strings...

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onewheeledweirdo


member
Location: Brisbane, Qld, Australia

Total posts: 35
Posted:If an audience is not responding the way I want them... in a busking show at least..I'll stop the show and say "It is obvious that I'm working with an untrained audience.... if you see something you like feel free to clap.." This generally breaks the ice and loosens up the audience.. If I'm attempting something rather difficult (eg. one handed buttlerfly behind the back whilst blindfolded and hoping on one foot or flaming skippin rope or something)and the responce is your typical arms crossed audience and if the crowd suits ..(eg.not too many children) I'll yell "CLAP ya BASTARDS!!!" generally everyone laughs and I get a raptous round of applause.However moving back on to the topic... I dance cause the drumming makes me...I twirl cause my brain makes me... the mix of the two changes ratio frequently throughout one of my shows and I don't really care how they percieve me..I'm having FUN.

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psychomonkey


member
Location: Kansas City, MO USA

Total posts: 148
Posted:I agree with N8, I honestly don't know the names of any of my moves, I do what feels right, and what looks good (what people tell me looks good) If you ask me the technical aspect is up to the individual, right now, I'm content to freestyle, and practice moves so that they **look** good to the audience. One day I hope to get all the BTB stuff...down, but I dont have enough time to practice all that now. In fact, Im having some real difficulty re-learning almost everything since that winter we just had, as I didn't practice hardly at all.-PSMps. One Wheel... You honestly say that stuff busking? Man that takes some nerve, does the crowd really react to it? And, if I might be so bold, what kind of cash does poi bring in vs. unicycling/juggling (which I assume you've done) Im re-learning poi whilst I learn the other two, and man does it get confusing.

One can only see what one observes, and one observes only things which are already in the mind.-Alphonse Bertillon

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Heph
GOLD Member since Dec 2000

Heph

member
Location: Chicago, IL

Total posts: 79
Posted:just thought i'd toss something funny into the ring, you guys (esp Adam) kinda referred to it. some of the biggest whoops i've gotten during a show have been when i busted out the split-time spinning at my side, super fast. it's literally the first "move" i ever learned, if you can call it a move. its just spinning. i think its hilarious people dig it so much. it kills me, people go nuts. i guess its great to hear people cheer, but all i want to say is, c'mon, cheer for the quad corkscrew, or a crazy combo, etc. but yeah, it is satisfying FOR ME to do those moves. i just wish people would somehow know which ones were harder, you know? whatever. kudos to everyone for good thoughts on this post(esp Pele, Di, and adam)Heph

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Kat
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Kat

Pooh-Bah
Location: London

Total posts: 2211
Posted:HepSnap! I was performing in front of an audience at the weekend and I started spinning super fast and everyone started cheering like mad! I still can't do btb weaves or gymnastic gravity defeating jumps while swimging poi with my teeth. I am concentrating on moving my body with the poi. I want to focus more on dancing with the poi than pulling off techincally brilliant moves while performing.I still want to get that weave down though...Kat

Come faeries, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame.

- W B Yeats

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Chloe
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

member
Location: Kent - UK

Total posts: 54
Posted:Hia,i just got back from san diego and i played on the beach pretty much every night (i could only gey my hands on 1 gallon of colemans fuel (whick i dont think we can get in this country))) but anyway... i didn't realise i was being watched nut when i did a weave onto my knees and a butterfly onto my back i got a cheer (which made me happy) and although it was not that difficult i can see how it would look really good.I also went to see the Technomania circus (which if any1 has the chance should go, it was great
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) and they finished with fire. The poier had extending poi and she finished with 2 oposisite direction poi in circles getting bigger then to the smallest and it looked amazing!I have to agree that poi is only one jalf of it, when i sink into it and begin to dance aswell, with different body movement i feel much better, and i should imagine that it looks alot more pleasing aswell.------------------Chloe.-I'm dancing through the fire just to catch a flame- Paul Weller


Chloe.
-I'm dancing through the fire just to catch a flame-
Paul Weller

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megstar


member
Location: no fixed abode

Total posts: 5
Posted:I love dancing best, absolutely, but I just wanted to say that the move that I *always* get asked about is when I am spinning at my sides and I raise my arms and then snap them down low. don't ask me why! *but* that's the beauty of poi, isn't it? everything looks great and all twirlers look so beautiful amongst the flames....

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Ade
SILVER Member since Mar 2001

Are we there yet?
Location: australia

Total posts: 1897
Posted:Josh, you're right about the body contortions being important in a performance. The last performance I did, used fire staff, fire poi and glowstick poi. Most people loved the fire bits and the glowsticks, but I had a couple of fellows come up to me after the performance and comment that they had no idea what I was doing with the poi as they were too busy watching from my neck to my hips (and in between) move! Pele, I've also had other audience members comment on body movement and how this lends individuality to their performance (expecially when performing in a group). They have much prefered someone who moved and grooves with the fire as opposed to someone with more technical proficience with no groove. They basically didn't care about difficulty of moves, just movement and fun.Adrianne

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