3 posts

Okay, okay this is most likely going to be a long post and I personally I hate reading huge posts, so I'll put the main points summarized and then ramble for another thousand words that you are welcome to read or not...

#1 - Are there any deaf spinners on this list or does anyone know of any deaf spinners?

#2 - My friend is not just deaf she is really, really deaf - and is doing well spinning, would anyone have any advice on teaching her...

Okay - here is the long story... Last night was spin night at my house. I have quite a few friends who are interested in learning how to spin and one that is absolutely wonderful and has recently lit up. We were playing with my fire poi; his fire poi and about three sets of practice ones. My friend Angie, who just happens to be deaf, picked a set up and gave me a shoulder shrug. (FYI - I don't sign extremely well, but there are usually interpreters around. Sadly one of them was inside and the other was spinning...) I mimicked the hand motions, she tilted her head and studied it for a while and by the time the night was over she had learned basically Poi Spinning 101... My roommate, later that night, pulled me to the side and basically told me that he thought Angie was amazing... I didn't know that she had mild Cerebral palsy and absolutely no depth perception... she has a hard time walking down a hill without help after dark. I've been talking with my mom (who also spins) and we have been trying to figure out the best way of working everything out... Practice, practice, practice, visual cues, no fire for a LONG time... ARRRGGGG! My head hurts thinking about the safety and health issues that are involved with this... eek

EDITED_BY: Romani_Bells (1161099206)

the_mods_stole_my_namethe_mods_stole_my_nameSILVER Member
travelling without moving
1,286 posts
Location: Maghull, Liverpool, United Kingdom

your friend is dead!? and she can still spin? impressive!

Heilige Scheie, Batman kommt!

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K__K__BRONZE Member
...join us...
184 posts
Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

I don't know any deaf spinners, though there's a guy on HoP called deaf258 who has a website you could check out. I'm a signer and work with deaf students for a living, though not knowing any deaf spinners, I don't have any experience of signing poi instructions.

Nevertheless, I wonder if maybe you're trying to make it more complicated than it is...

It sounds like Angie's already picked up the basics pretty quickly so there isn't really any reason why she won't be able to carry on doing that. I mean, poi's a pretty visual thing, so as long as someone can demonstrate, it shouldn't be too problematic.

It also sounds like there's a couple of signers usually about as well, so they can clarify anything that needs a bit of expansion.

Obviously health and safety is always an important issue, particularly with fire, but I'm not sure how many special arrangements Angie would really need... no-one should light up till they feel comfortable anyway, and all it needs is the safety agreeing with Angie how they'll attract her attention if something's wrong during her burn.

Hope she gets on well with poi smile

GnorGnorBRONZE Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
5,814 posts
Location: Perth, Australia

Its easy enough to teach foreign speakers poi so non speaking should be ok.
I assune she can read so if she learns off the HOP tutorials she will be in same boat as the rest of us. You might just bothspend a while with poi in mouth while you explain stuff.
Passion counts alot with poi. If she wants to learn she will.
Learning curves are so different! I teach in a night what took me 3 months to learn.

Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

Im in a lonely battle with the world with a fish to match the chip on my shoulder. Gnu in Binnu in a cnu

BirgitBirgitBRONZE Member
had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
4,145 posts
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

and most importantly, get her on HoP so she can ask all the questions she has!! Don't need to be able to hear for using the forums biggrin

"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

blu_valleyblu_valleySILVER Member
fluffy mess
197 posts
Location: Brighton, United Kingdom

I know a boy back in South Africa who is deaf and quite possibly the most magnificent poi spinner I have ever seen. His poi skills developed way fast and because his skill overtook everyone's around him, he added in a lot more of his own things and taught himself new moves. He likes spinning to really loud music with fat bass because he can feel it in his feet.I have honestly never seen anyone who looks more natural or more beautiful than him while twirling balls of fire around their body.

"I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.." - Oriah Mountain Dreamer

TheBovrilMonkeyTheBovrilMonkeySILVER Member
Liquid Cow
2,629 posts
Location: High Wycombe, England

 Written by: K__

I mean, poi's a pretty visual thing, so as long as someone can demonstrate, it shouldn't be too problematic.

I agree completely.
I've swapped club swinging moves with people I've shared no common language with - in some ways it actually makes it easier when there are no words to be a distraction.

But there's no sense crying over every mistake. You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

jo_rhymesjo_rhymesSILVER Member
Momma Bear
4,525 posts
Location: Telford, Shrops, United Kingdom

the only problem I can think of is when people's balance is affected by their deafness, but even then I don't know how much it was affect their spinning

Hoppers are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

Neon_ShaolinNeon_ShaolinGOLD Member
hehe, 'Member' huhuh
6,120 posts
Location: Behind you. With Jam

It's not really that surprising that a deaf person is able to pick up learning poi so easily if you consider that it's pretty much along the lines of being better at lip reading than those who aren't deaf - necessity - that thing where if one sense is lost then the others are enhanced. Though I wouldn't rule out or downplay natural talent. Regardless, not to sound patronising (which means I'm blatantly being patronising!) but it never fails to make me smile when disabled or sensory impaired people don't let it hinder them in doing what they love.

One thing I will say though is that you'll need to work out some sort of warning system to tell them that they're on fire (Coloured flag perhaps - no shortage of those smile). They may or may not need it but it's always good to be prepared.

"I used to want to change the world, now I just wanna leave the room with a little dignity..." - Lotus Weinstock

maiukimaiukiBRONZE Member
51 posts
Location: Travelling, Spain

I agree with the others, I think you are worrying too much!!!
As you said, shes got no problems learning so,.keep teaching her and enjoying it!!
About the safety, I think is as easy (and difficult) as with anyone who starts spinning. Explain the safety rules and think about a way of warning her if she gets in fire. I dont, in one way I guess it could be even easier that with a non deaf person. The most amazing thing (and distracting thing) on my first burn was the sound of the poi in fire around me, hipnotizing me, that was the only thing I could listen, not the people that was talking to me or anything else so,...
I just think you need to find a warning way, I think the red flag it could be a good idea, but to be honest I think it would be better something that shell be able to feel, even if she is totally into the spinning, like with vibrations. I dont know, swithcing of the music, louding the music,... Something shell be able to feel without any attention to any special place.
As Juxtaposeur says, its always good to be prepared!

kashkashGOLD Member
Dangerous cynic
166 posts
Location: United Kingdom

Have you ever watched deaf people signing? Or tried it yourself? It's very hard, even if you know the vocab well, spotting the movements fast enough takes a real skill.

Deaf people who do sign (and be aware that by no means do all deaf people sign) particularly those who were raised with it, are particularly good at identifying and copying subtle body movements, because that is exactly how they communicate incredibly complex language.

Spinning poi is about learning how to move your hands and body (the effect the poi create is irrelevant, if your body is doing the correct thing, the poi will follow suit), therefore it makes sense that a deaf person who does sign should find it far easier than most to copy poi movements after seeing them demonstrated.

I would work with her by demonstrating, slowing it down, breaking it down one hand at a time, letting her see moves from all angles (I often find when showing anyone a move, getting them to look ofver my shoulder at my hands is a big help), watching her try, and giving her feedback.

Let us know how you get on too, I run poi sessions in my school and this has made me think that maybe my HI students could benefit from poi, I might invite them along and see how it goes.

6,650 posts

Very amazing indeed :oogle: I agree with Birgit, get her in here! There are ppl who can explain moves by typing (which is not easy)...

hug I l.o.v.e. challenged people picking up new stuff and advancing in them (sometimes faster than any "normal" in comparison)

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

2 posts

i did a poi workshop with 50 deaf children between the ages of 5 and 13 and every single one went away having learnt at least one move, it was an excellent experience for me as i had to learn how to communicate with them as i did it, i really enjoyed it got a wikid buzz off seeing them get it, and they all had smiles so im guessing they were pretty buzzin' too, take each individual as they come and youll find a way!

1,328 posts
Location: Bendigo, Vic, Australia

People who are fluent in sign tend to pick up dance and other interests requiring body movements quicker than most as they are used to the movements and can see and feel stuff that we can't as when you lose a sense the other senses pick up in order to make life easier.

Let her watch and try things herself, teach like you would with people who can hear.. by showing them with poi!

LazyAngelLazyAngelGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
2,895 posts
Location: Cambridge UK

I met a deaf fire staff spinner from Oz last year on Bonfire night, I think his name was Jozoo, seemed like a pretty cool guy, except it was a bit difficult to stop him when the police shut us down. He managed to communicate to me (although I don't know how to use sign language):

F**k those w*****s lets go over there and carry on spinning!

Because ActiveAngel sounds like a feminine deodorant

Like sex, I'm much more interesting in real life than online.

'Be the change you want to see in the world around you' - Ghandi

sketchsketchGOLD Member
Empirically random...
431 posts
Location: Lincoln, United Kingdom

hang on, i learned up to "art of poi standard" from this very forum! without hearing anything! so yeah, definately get her on here!

Anyway, a method i use now is to get 4 30cm(ish) sticks (straight), give them 2 and get them to hold one end, and let them hang down like they are poi. Then stand beside them and demonstrate a move in uber, uber slow motion, letting them copy your every move.

then when they dont look confused anymore, start speeding up gradually until your nearly at normal spinning speed. Then stop, and swap for short poi and go for it. Guarenteed to teach 3bt weave in a couple of minutes... (he says...) no talking required.

"This dark place planet Earth, orbits one star,
Come from afar, far away state of mind,
open up your third eye, black helicopters in the sky"

ImbalanceImbalanceGOLD Member
not different, just not the same
263 posts
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA

right so thats awsome that your friend wants to learn. And as everyone says the safety thing is quite important if s/he is ever to light up. So here's an easy solution. Something that vibrates and has a remote. Now before you go "wha? where would you find that?" I'll tell you, and you may laugh, but its true.

Go to an "adult" store. The sex shop. Or online of course, look around. They make these little egg shaped deals that come with a remote. Press the button on the remote, the eggs vibrate like crazy. Have your friend put this somewhere they can feel it, AND NO NOT THERE YOU PERV, and when they catch fire, you set it vibrating. Garunteed to work, and easy to explain/understand.

And yes my ex used to have one of these, though it was billed as a "Personal remote massager" riiiiiiiiiiiight.

But seriously though, this would work rather well as a warning system, put it in the pocket or tucked behind your belt at your lower back, etc etc

I once learned every move that there was,
Every style, Every technique.
Then I woke up, and forgot it all,
So now I struggle to dream.

K__K__BRONZE Member
...join us...
184 posts
Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

Or you could just shine a torch in her eyes. A bit disorientating maybe but not as disorientating as being on fire.

37 posts
Location: north yorkshire

i am part deaf and have recently been at a deaf and hearing intergrated week away where i was teaching some deaf people to spin. tis difficult but it sounds like you were doing quite well. bopdy language and mime usually work. one thing you do need to be careful of is spatial awareness, many deaf people have probelems with that so just try create a little extra space.

BirgitBirgitBRONZE Member
had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
4,145 posts
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

Nice suggestion, Imbalance, but you'll find that those remotes are not all that reliable.

"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

9,232 posts
Location: NYC, NY, USA

 Written by: Imbalance

Have your friend put this somewhere they can feel it, AND NO NOT THERE YOU PERV, and when they catch fire, you set it vibrating. Garunteed to work, and easy to explain/understand.

They're not blind. I'm sure the sight of a safety running towards them with a towel would give them the picture. If they're used to being deaf (which most deaf people are) then they're already used to using vision to compensate for lack of auditory senses.

I can't imagine a more conveluded safety response than one involving a vibrator.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

1,328 posts
Location: Bendigo, Vic, Australia

If someone loses one sense their other senses become more powerful...

Besides, wouldnt it become even more hot if you were on fire???

sketchsketchGOLD Member
Empirically random...
431 posts
Location: Lincoln, United Kingdom

 Written by: NYC

They're not blind. I'm sure the sight of a safety running towards them with a towel would give them the picture.

Not to mention the burning sensation, the smell of burnt hair, and the poi wrapped around their head.

yeah what the hell, the vibrator sounds fun ubblol

"This dark place planet Earth, orbits one star,
Come from afar, far away state of mind,
open up your third eye, black helicopters in the sky"

squarefishSILVER Member
(...trusty steed of the rodeo midget...)
403 posts
Location: the state of flux, Ireland

,that old story about their other senses becoming more powerful isn't true, they just pay more attention. I wonder if everyones sensory awareness could be enhanced with the correct training?

newgabenewgabeSILVER Member
what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
4,030 posts
Location: Bali, Australia

I am just reading a wonderful book by Oliver Sacks about communication and perception in deaf people. Called Seeing Voices. haven't got time for a big summary right now, but it's much m ore than 'paying attention'. There are quite significant neurological differences in how information is processed with deaf people. it also makes a difference if someone is deaf from birth or had a chance to 'organise' vebal language first.

.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

4,308 posts
Location: York, England

Its at least a little bit true, the paying more attention thing. One thing I always find fascinating is how hard of hearing people are sometimes much much better at hearing (obviously, *certain*) things because they work so hard to listen and everyone else doesn't pay enough attention.

And one thing to remember is that reading is a bit different for deaf people, because they don't have sounds to associate the words with, so it might actually be easier for her just to learn from people. Depends on the individual! In any event, I really don't think it should be that big of a deal smile

Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

215 posts
Location: Madrid, Spain

(slightly off topic)ooooh, oliver sacks, great guy!!! love his books... there was one really interesting part in another one where he went to an island with colourblind people. he saw an old woman making some sort of carpet in colurs that looked like completely random, but he could only admire it when he saw it in a dark place and his night vision had kicked in, because she had used the luminosity of the colours instead of the shade (the quality of colour thats measured in nm?). (/slightly off topic)
@birgit: how do you know the remotes are not that reliable...? biggrin

Don't you destroy your enemy by making him your friend?? - Rev Bem (Magog), Andromeda

fire_frogSILVER Member
1 post
Location: USA


I am a Deaf spinner. 2+ years experience. Someone mention of Deaf258 in this forum, he was one of my poi students. He's a great student, I hope he continues spinning at his new home state.

I teach my hearing students - it's pretty challenge for me to explain the breakdown to isolation move or vocabulary in my American Sign Language which they don't understand. I find its easier for them is to study my movement without pause for use a pen and notepad. Deaf person can study your hands, body, and poi altogether.

More Deaf spinners are out there. When I met a Deaf spinner, we would just discuss on our technique movements, how to improve our fire safety, etc. So far, their fire safety is little bit different than mine - depend on their preference and comfort/skill/experience level.

I considered myself an advanced spinner. I bring my glow sticks all the time. One 6 inches glow stick is good enough for me - but I appreciate more when I have two safety person on duty while I spin. One safety person holds a glow stick - If I ever get fire on me - safety person will throw glow stick at me. I would stop spin quickly and do a safety part. (For two years, fire haven't jump on me - fire and I have a strong relationship, where we would not joking each other)

Another safety is using a flag - In my opinion, it's less safe for me because when fire twirling around me - beyond the poi fire is pretty darker. In other word, flag becomes a little visible. Furthermore, I am an advanced spinner, I can dance around on a designed-stage, I could have miss a flag cue.

Someone makes a suggestion is really good idea, but I haven't try that. The vibrate device. I just feel that it might be failure - yes, an electrical stuff can be failure! - Glow sticks is best bet for safety.

Once a while, I forgot to bring an extra glow sticks. My safety person and I would just improv on a creative cue. Few are examples, make a sock ball, pull a thick rope, stand-up/jump, etc. Just experiment with it before ignite the fire poi!

Happy Spinning!

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