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bluecat


bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere

Total posts: 5300
Posted:So, following on from a few discussions i have been having recently, i've decided to ask the world

what is wrong with poi?


(slight bit of devils advocate here, please don't get angry, just try to respond to the question...)

So, of all the millions of poi shows out there, how many would you genuinely put in a professional circus show? I think the answer is (for me) pretty clear. about 3. give or take 3.

that's not to say there aren't skilled performers doing good acts. but they are few and far between, and most of the best spinners i know put on a show by 'having an idea of what they will do, and a nice piece of music'

so why is it that routines all look the same, the world over?

is it the internet? is it the backgrounds of the spinners? is it the need to learn performance techniques? is it cause poi is limiting? is it because its easy to impress people with poi? etcetc...

for example; if a juggler/diabolist/random perfomer wants to create a circus act, s/he will usually do one of several things. 1) do a classic circus piece; working up through numbers, and having a big finish, but not much 'character' (will hex)* or 2) develop a character and see what happens.... (vodka and orange); 3) get a technogimmick, and using it all through a piece (julien Vux) or 4) be blindingly good at something (j9). In fact, you can do just about anything, and it will work on some level...

if a corresponding performing poiista decides to create a new act, it will undoubtedly be based on 'what moves i/we know, one after the other, set to some banging tune' aaaaaargh.

you would think this would improve when you get up to higher level spinners putting on shows... but no. with a few exceptions, every performing spinner i have seen doing a solo show of late looks exactly like ronan/nick/yuta/firefantasy/alienjon/G with varying degrees of efficiency and grace.

where are the ideas of using poi in a storyline, creating a scene and playing with it? putting it in context? clubswingers do it, staff spinners do it, why not poi? the last truly creative poi act i remember seeing was in 2003, by somebody dead. thats not to say there haven't been incredible performances since then, but my god, do we miss vincent bruel**.

It was nice to see something like this appearing at the JFF, but there were mostly nods towards creativity interspersed with great spinning rather than an immersed performance, which is what usually defines the truly great circus routines.

so what gives? what is it about poi spinners that drives them to be endlessly creative in learning, and mind-numbingly dull in performance for the general public?

(/devils advocate)

grin
R



*note all the performers i have mentioned are HoP users.....
**apologies to ronan, till and anya, acciaio, G and others, all of whom have performed lovely routines since then that i have seen, but apart from the love story ubblove in principle they were still pretty much formulaic, just very goodformulaic.


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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bluecat


bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere

Total posts: 5300
Posted:so, for megs benefit;


i'd reply to this, it's great, but i haven't got time...

( tongue2 )


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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aston
SILVER Member since Dec 2007

aston

Unofficial Chairperson of Squirrel Defense League
Location: South Africa

Total posts: 4061
Posted:Heheh. Hope that you enjoy your public slapping. tongue2

Been thinking a bit more about it, I think that in general, the people who post videos are part of a group that interact regularly, so there is bound to be some cross-pollination between them and so they would end up with a fair degree of imitation of stuff between them.

But I agree that there are no real stories being told, mostly because I think people are not willing to try and push boundaries, and stop spinning. As long as poi only spin in circles, you can not do much more with them. Well, this is a broad statement.

I mean that you can only go so slow. And that, no matter how good you are, it is still a series of circles, which, to be honest, is what poi are designed for. You do get some exceptions, like Ronan's conact moves, but I think in general I am right.

This could just be exam stress talking though. tongue2


'We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." [said the Cat.]
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "Or you wouldn't have come here."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

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newgabe
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali

Total posts: 4030
Posted:I don;t think there's anything wrong with poi as such.. just that it isn't a particularly spectator oriented art form. A bit like sex. Doing it feels good and leaves endless room for subjective variation of experience, porn is by and large repetitive crap.

Poi is a mile away from Trad circus which relies on freak or danger appeal (now with added costuming)...just as cabaret relies heaps on sex and humour.

The only people I've ever seen make poi look sexy are Fluffy Ros Fairy/Loz, Gracee Billings and Jay Latour. And any of them could make washing up look sexy!

Yuta makes me laugh when he spins but that's cos I am a cutting edge nerd and he is incredibly witty like a jazz musician, but I wouldn't expect what he does to make the average person roll around. Some people make poi look dangerous but they are mostly beginners with dodgy planes. And I guess someone could make it look freaky but it would be a really long shot. Freddy Kruger does poi? Hmmmm Loses the effect somehow with his hands all busy doing not a lot.


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

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Pink...?
BRONZE Member since Apr 2002

Pink...?

Mistress of Pink...Multicoloured
Location: Over There

Total posts: 6140
Posted:I think i need more more to think on this... but you have a good point Rob.

I think the problem poi has is that is stagnant, people seem to come to poi from similar places (as in, in their life - e.g. saw it at a festival/rave/etc...). Poi needs people with different mind-sets to help it.
For instance Vux (as forementioned with techno-gizmo-gimmick-mething) he is considering doing a poi routine (in the future - once he's done his new balls routine) with techno-gizmo-gimmick-mething, and has some fresh ideas to interact poi with technology.

To be honest there is the same thing in lots of disciplines, for instance aerial hoop - I have seen maybe one act that was truely different and amazing... but as aerial is accepted into circus more readily that juggling, it is accepted.

Maybe this problem stems from poi not being accepted as readily as other disciplines? That poi doesn't benefit from being able to itermingle with other disciplines/art forms/ideas as easily?

I also think that the 'you tube culture' isn't helping it. It's like what you see with diabolo (not everyone - please note i am grossly generalising). I call it the '16yr old diabolo boys' to generalise again, you see them in the corner of a convention/meet, with the diabolo's all doing the same tricks. You see them on stage just pulling off some (sometimes impressive) tricks with little or no movement/performance/character. It gets boring very quickly. I think (although i may be wrong) this stems from people seeing videos online, copying, then posting more. There is the almost need to out-do each other with tricks, and posting videos of the tricks filmed in there backgarden.
And there is a sort of celebritism involved with posting in an internet forum, getting your handle known, and become 'famous' from putting videos and posting a lot in forums. Rather than for having a good performance. (please note - not saying this against anyone, just my observations and thoughts).

Whoops..longer post then I intended, and not coherent...

Alice- Dreaming of a day when poi is performed at Cirque Du Demain, or Cirque de Monte Carlo and wins a medal.


Never pick up a duck in a dungeon...

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bluecat


bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere

Total posts: 5300
Posted:ok smile

those who i agree with i'll just clap. everyone else you get a response tongue2

Originally Posted By: simta

clever use of props, costumes. its not too hard to set a scenario with only one or two lines of dialogue from a character.

the story doesnt need to be in-depth, it doesnt have to have lots going on, just some interaction between character which includes the poi can be enough to set it apart from other routines.

there is a lack of creative poi routines, but same lack there is with jugglers/staff etc...

part 1 of this reply = yes it's actually pretty easy to do. i made a group of people put character into a simple sequence of movements during a workshop a few weeks ago, and it was fabaulous, understandable and extremely entertaining. just ask duvan wink

part 2 = no of course there are dull, poorly thought out otherprop routines(and i also recognise the need for people to do a bad routine as a learning process...) but there are also really good, really clever ones. I could pick a billion characterfilled/gimmicky/cleveruseofprop juggling acts, but i'll go pich's acrylic staff routine. simple thought, beautiful routine, where he has done very little in terms of character work, but has thought about creating the correct staff for the performance. and for a bit of trumpetblowing, i like to think that the various vodka and orange shows have been at least a little bit funny, and involving. if not, i'll go and shoot my alter ego.


i'll not go into the 'its the audience' argument much. its intrinsically flawed. people can entertain an audience incredibly well with no props, practically no movement. any audience. a 'performance' by its very nature, is an attempt to entertain people. so why should the addition of some poi mean you suddenly don't have to entertain them, but they have to understand you instead? Its a common flaw to not adapt your performance to an audience and then say 'oh, its ok, they just didn't get it' umm

Duvan;

sorry, but i think you took a paragraph out of context. it's not about styles, it's about performance, though i'll address your comment as if it were.... there are of course lots of great styles (and I've travelled and seen a lot of them too...) as viewed through the eyes of a poi spinner. but not many of these 'great stylists' ( tongue2 ) perform more than 'i'll just get up and have a spin to some music' and on the whole, they still do the same crowd pleasing tricks. which is fine, and i love watching them, but its not exactly creating a unique and exciting act, is it? because 'style' does not create an act. shrug. as i said, there are some exceptions, but not many, and not highly developed. 3 years you say? i can't wait grin

Ed clap (we should hang out. oh! we do! ace.)

Richee ubblove

i'll also gloss quickly over the whole fire aspect. poi does not = fire. fire performance suffers even more than non-fire IMO, as people use fire to hide behind. again, there are some noteable exceptions, but not many....

meg clap also. a few things raised, but i'll abuse you about them in private.

vincent bruel (RIP) was an incredible juggler (on bouncing in paris dvd) who dabbled in poi. here is a (dubious quality streaming) video of poi routine, 'tac tac tango' http://ma-tvideo.france2.fr/video/iLyROoafYCBe.html.
its not his best rendition of it, and his actual spinning skills are now somewhat outdated, but the act is crafted beautifully.

MNS, charles clap

the whole bluetooth thing is a great idea. someone go out
and do it please? or something interesting at least tongue2

Tom; thanks for pointing me in the direction of a group, i should point out i did not say there is nothing of quality, an there are exceptions (te POOKa, FeuerKunst, etc.. also use Fire performance in story telling, and its great) but that individual/small groups doing single acts just aren't cutting it for me right now.

I do agree that there are also lots of crappy, samey juggling routines (see above) but there are also a vast number of interesting, well crafted ones. and that is what i'love to see more of in poi. novelty is not an excuse. people have been performing with contemporary poi for at least 20 years (my own personal experience) and that is more than long enough to do something interesting shrug

and i did mean G, not G. i am careful with my letters tongue2

Gabe - i love this line:
Quote:I don;t think there's anything wrong with poi as such.. just that it isn't a particularly spectator oriented art form. A bit like sex. Doing it feels good and leaves endless room for subjective variation of experience, porn is by and large repetitive crap.
and on the whole its very true. but enough people have been exceptions to it, i think, and it becomes an issue of whether people make it watchable or not...(like good porn? tongue2 laugh3 )

I guess my aim with this thread is to try to make a few people think a bit more about their performances, as to be perfectly honest, i have some fairly lengthily thought out opinions on poi development and the reasons for various trends (some of which have been expressed here by others). I'm not trying to make everyone a performer, nor encourage people not to get up and do something when they want to - in fact i actively encourage newb performers, so don't worry if you see me in your audience, taking notes..... wink

and i'm really, really looking forward to seeing max's three year moment tongue2

(that long enough for you, mop?)


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:hey rob,
yeah, occurred to me that I was somehow misinterpreting wink
but THANKS for that awesome vincent bruel video!!! oh my god I can't believe I've never seen a poi routine that funny grin


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newgabe
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali

Total posts: 4030
Posted:Augh tried to watch the V Bruel vid but it creaks along at dialup speed and stops every few secs. Cute but v. frustrating!

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

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mcp
PLATINUM Member since May 2003

mcp

Flying Water Muppet
Location: Edin-borrow.

Total posts: 5276
Posted:Well it was an okay reply, it were kinda stringy thou, all disparate bits and bobs. No solid lump of meat. Next time I would like a 10,000 word essay, on my desk by 9am monday morning. grin

Er, please don't shoot your alter ego! Orange would be most upset. Plus V&O is probably like sex, really good fun to do, but kinda awkward when you find yourself doing on stage in front of a few hundred people.

I should slap you for failing to abuse me in private.

Wow, that sentence was awesome.

Hope I didn't do any minor threadjacking. Glad it's back on track. You'll maybe get a coherent reply tomorrow.


"the now legendary" - Kaskade
"the still legendary" - Kaskade

I spunked in my friend's aquarium and the fish ate it. I love all fish. Especially the pink ones. They are my bitches. - Anon.

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:I liked the Vincent Bruel clip. it was entertaining in a novelty sort of way and I don't see why that kind of schtick couldn't be worked into any poi routine.

I can't say it's a video I watch multiple times though.

IMO there's been a somewhat dismissive attitude to 'crowd pleasing" tricks around here. Who was it ( Durbs ? ) that said a move like dropping to your knees and bending backwards while spinning a butterfly should be outlawed.

Yea, cheesy as far as an educated audience goes, but great fun for the uninitiated.


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Durbs
BRONZE Member since Sep 2001

Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England

Total posts: 5688
Posted:But it's not a trick... it's just poncing. It's not even hard poncing. Though the move I actually wanted banned was back-to-back buzzsaws then bending back and forth.

But more to the point - it's completely un-original. After x-many years of poi spinning and routine writing, has no-one come up with anything better?
For an amateur performance, by all means, go for it. But frankly it's up there with a fast 3-beat weave in terms of easy win.


And (I think) Bluey's post is about why no-one is pushing the boundaries, 99% of people go for the easy claps every time. Thus poi stagnates.


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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:I suppose i could argue that the Bruel act was just poncing.

Sometimes I get confused whether this thread is about being a performer and entertaining a lay audience or whether it's about the perceived lack of originality among the professional spinners we all know and love.

I agree, being original is a real challenge, seeing as we all pretty much have this ballet ninja style going and the very nature of poi tends to get it viewed as some sort of martial art.

Over the years I've had hundreds of people approach me when I've just been casually spinning in public asking..."are those weapons? " and I've tried, and failed miserably to create a style that might have people coming up to me asking "is that dance".

Most people seem surprised when I explain, that poi, is indeed dance.

I'm waiting for someone to come up with an act where they sing through their routine.


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Durbs
BRONZE Member since Sep 2001

Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England

Total posts: 5688
Posted:Longer musings:

I've not seen as many poi routines as I perhaps should have, but I do agree with BlueShat that on the whole they're rarely inspiring.
The spinners themselves might be inspiring, but not the performance - perhaps less so when a duo or group.

I hate writing poi routines. Infact, i'm struggling to think of when the last one I wrote (that wasn't censored) was... It's easy to write a crowd-pleasing routine, especially with fire (even more so if they're non-spinners), but "easy" isn't always good.

I have a couple of plans in my head for routines I'd like to write; one half-written another purely speculatory, but I know these would take serious amounts of effort and time which I don't have at the moment.
Conversely, I'm pretty certain I could write a routine which would get applause in about 1 hour. But it'd be a run-of-the-mill bog-standard routine.

I think "what's wrong with poi [performances]" is this - people are lazy wink
For a lay audiance, it's not really worth putting the extra effort in to come up with a ground-breaking show.
But this causes a problem, because then when people are asked to perform to an educated audiance - all they have is a standard routine with maybe some harder tricks the poi-spinners would spot. Then you get the current situation where poi shows (especially fire poi) are relegated to under-attended, under-paid slots at Juggling Conventions and people get bored of watching the same thing done by different people, albeit with a range of harder moves.

One cause of this, in my mind anyway, is that poi are "soft". Whereby clubs and staffs (their closes parallel perhaps) are rigid - they can be stopped, held, thrown, balanced... They're easier to choreograph for this reason too, you can do everything slowly, stopping at each degree of rotation if need be.
It can be instantly "changed" into another prop - a club can become a sword, a fish, a wand, a staff, a bat...
Poi doesn't have this flexibilty (or rather it does...) which means it takes more imagination to play with - on the whole, poi are always kept moving in order for them to keep their shape.

As someone else mentioned as well, a lot of poi tricks are very subtle unless you know what you're looking for. There's fewer "dramatic" moves/tricks with poi. By "dramatic" I mean obvious, big, "wow" moves - something like a matrix or jesus roll is a big, fat, obvious trick. An airwrap or inverted-weave isn't. To this end, this is why I'm currenly focussing on whip-catches, contact poi and other "big" things.

Argh, run out of steam... I think i vaguely got across what I was thinking

smile


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LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 2895
Posted:Durbs: that's what I was trying to write earlier only with more eloquence and better examples

I haven't seen this year's COL, but could the annual increase in quality show that maybe we are going to start seeing the kind of innovative performances being talked about in this thread?


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

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aston
SILVER Member since Dec 2007

aston

Unofficial Chairperson of Squirrel Defense League
Location: South Africa

Total posts: 4061
Posted:Inspired by Durbs' post. tongue2

So what, off-hand, can poi be that is not poi?

Because if you can come up with a workable answe to that, then I think you may have a better chance of coming up with something new and different.


'We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." [said the Cat.]
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "Or you wouldn't have come here."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

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_Clare_
BRONZE Member since Oct 2002

_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast

Total posts: 5967
Posted:Hmmm.

Why is poi always lumped in/compared with circus?

Why isn't it appreciated as a dance in it's own right, and so people have their own styles within that?

Surely when poi came about it was considered as dance in a tribal form (and still is in its origins) - not a form of circus - when did this transition happen?

Surely the origin of poi as a circus art lies solely in its use of fire?

With that in mind, then just as the tango, or waltz or salsa have their own 'moves' - so has poi.

Ronan could be the Frank Sinatra of poi - and his contact poi, well, maybe that's Frank Sinatra with his Ginger Rogers wink

My point is... why does poi have to tell a story? Why can't it be enjoyed as a form of dance? (and that's not to say that dance doesn't tell a story, of course some forms can and do, but it's not as necessary as contemporary circus seems to dictate)

Or are all the geeks among us happier to feel angst about the lack of pushing the unknown limits of an undefined box, instead of looking for the movement inside themselves and celebrating poi as an already established dance form?

(and don't call me a frickin hippy. I work much bloody harder than that. Thanks smile )

EDITED_BY: _Clare_ (1226694386)
EDIT_REASON: possible clarification


Getting to the other side smile

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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3288
Posted:heh - Clare, I'm glad you took the time to reflect - I reckon the same.

IMHO, Poi isn't circus. Its not really particularly suited to it (as durbs points out). Why not let it be what it is?

If you want circus - grab some clubs. you can swing them in interesting flowing ways too if that's what you are into, too.

Blucat - why do you think poi is stagnating?


--
Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!

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Fruitbasket


Fruitbasket

#1 Bender Fan :D
Location: Somewheres i tell ya!

Total posts: 133
Posted:This is a very interessting concept. Ive been thinking about this more with Cigar Box juggling. I am Very good. (Ive been told, I still think I stink) But after watching many Cigar box rutines there all the same things. Interchangeing the boxes in ways that people have there jaw droped. But in my "mass thinking sessions" Im starting to develop new ways of preforming my Cigar boxes bye like telling a story, With the box. Maybe you can aply this too poi. Like..You discover the vast universe of what you can do with your poi, while the audeince laughs and enjoys your poi session.

/end rant. :]


ANGER IS A GIFT.You have the right to demand better!

Originally Posted By: Mr Majestikhear the news about the guy in adelaide on the weekend who walked stilts 20m high? broke the world record by taking four steps.

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BansheeCat
BRONZE Member since Jul 2005

veteran
Location: lost

Total posts: 1247
Posted:Generally, i share some of Rob's wonder about why we see so little poi performance that takes it to the fullest level. I am just going to outline some of them, and develop the ideas later when i have more time.

The first that came to mind, is simply, difficulty. I am fully trained as a modern dancer, and performed for a couple of years doing that. So when I first got into poi, i saw all this room for bringing it into the realms of dance, interpretive movement styles, etc. I knew i had to learn the poi first though, cause I am a pretty slow learner. But i figured it would not take so long until i was capable of free movement... hah. So much trickier than i thought!!!!

Years later, and it is just now i can dance at all, while playing my poi. What i mean by dance, is express myself through free movement, as opposed to performing a series of moves or tricks. And it is certainly not something I would consider performance worthy( dance wise)

Still, I have attempted, by myself, and with a choreographer friend, to make a poi modern dance piece. We rented a studio, and spent the next two days getting approx. 30 seconds of movement..lol! And my god, there was a lot of bludgeoning ourselves and each other going on!!!

The difficulty is that so many of the free expressive movements we learn in the body for dance, just mess up the patterns of the poi!!! The nature of poi is those patternings, which essentially require certain positions of the body. Finding the way beyond that, whew.

So, we are talking about marrying two very different things, and i think to do it, it will require someone with the time and dedication that i only experienced in university dance departments. I am going to go give them some poi, then wait three years... wink Cause i really do think all the understanding of how the body is used for dance expression is really important.

One of the reasons I think it is important, is all the awful choreography i currently see with poi. It is very much what you see in first year dance, or at a teen jazz class. A lot of posturing,flattnest, 2- dimensional( front facing) a lot of portraying yourself as sexy, a lot of doing things in unision, or with static framing( two in front, third in the middle doing the show move.) sort of things. BOOOORRRRRIIIINNNNGGG... even if you are in a sparkly costume!

I still will never understand why two people doing the same thing, even when well timed, is supposed to be more engaging. To my eye, it just highlights all the differences in their heights, postures etc. And when they succeed, and those differences are minimal, i think, what is the point of that? they could just dance with a mirror, or a projection...
but that is a modern dancer complaining about jazz basically-- i just dont like movements that strike me as superficial, and dont serve a greater intention. So three people in a row doing anything in perfect unision just isnt going to cut it for me. I see a lot of people who simply have not thought a lot about the possibilities.


Choreography is a very developed art form. People expect a lot of themselves to think they can just do it right away with no one teaching them and helping them develop their abilities. As I said, even a professional choreographer i was working with found incorporating poi with full integration- not as a simple prop- into modern dance- extremely challenging!

As ones dance vocabulary gets more complex, unision, or/or other concepts concepts of timing and spacial arangement, will start to get used in more subtle or interpretive ways, serving a greater vision of what you want to communicate.

Whew lots of words, bear with me.

The latest thought i have is that some of those people, including myself, who are dissatisfied with poi performance, are dissatisfied because they keep trying to make poi into something else.

We try and make it Circus, juggling, modern dance, jazz, spiritual ritual... all of these things and none.And complain when it does not quite fit.

Maybe, poi is just poi. And maybe our explorations in finding out what that is, are not necessarily ready for a real wow their socks off showcase performance-- But, people are certainly finding out more about the capabilites with poi all the time, developing the language... But as Gabe said, maybe it is like sex, not necessarily intended for group audiences! wink We shall see! lol

Others will continue trying to marry the poi into other art /movement/performance forms, and I agree with Duvan and others that in a few years we will see some more exciting performances as a result of that. Some may be circussy, some dance, some storytelling-- people will take it into different ways. I personally love what a group called Mythmakers does with all sorts of fire toys, bringing them as a key element in a narrated ritual story performance. You can probably find them on line.

So, basically, i see poi performance developing in time, and as people get training- either dancers with poi, or poi spinners with dance- or simply through experimentation over time.



But mostly, we may do best to really respect poi as they are. their patterning potential and physical characteristics are quite unique and may require a unique approach and appreciation. At this point they may not marry all that well with other forms until their own potential has been fully explored and integrated.


As far as pleasing an audience, come on, that it is generally easy. We can , and do that in so many ways with poi( even me, and i am not all that great a spinner!) ...

We are just wanting to make it even better!!! And we will...


"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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BansheeCat
BRONZE Member since Jul 2005

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Location: lost

Total posts: 1247
Posted:a thought that came after...
The order we learn things may make a difference. In poi we learn a series of tricks, first, typically , at any rate. No one I know of, teaches expressive movement with poi right from the very start. Or even performance skills, at the beginning.

It may be that trying to overlay those skills, later, is what is not working. Maybe they need to either be worked on simultaneously, or not separately at all, as a constant integrated process.


A friend of mine is starting to teach this way next weekend. he is one of the few people I know that really does naturally incorporate character, storytelling, etc etc into his spinning, so it will be interesting to see how his teaching effects the styles of the students...


"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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BansheeCat
BRONZE Member since Jul 2005

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Location: lost

Total posts: 1247
Posted:haha I cant stop thinking! Eek!
This is in response to Megs and Simptas suggestions regarding triggering rythmns... Did a dance that way once, where the dance space was criss crossed with a pattern of lasers. This somehow connected to a computer, that produced a sound depending on which laser line was intercepted, and how long the interception was held( as in, did you just pass through, or stop in the laser?) The sounds, all together, be3came the music of the dance. So in a way we were creating the sound as we danced, but also responding to the sounds.
With poi, this would be insane, imagine the possibilities of projecting laser poi patterns, then intercepting them with poi...
hmn.


"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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MRC
SILVER Member since Jun 2008

MRC

Funky Blessings Daily


Total posts: 215
Posted:Originally Posted By: mcpOriginally Posted By: simtaOriginally Posted By: mcp Or the maori's do. There's more there, that's for sure, and everyone understands rhythm.

but the maoris dont do much more than just spin, the difference is that their spinning has ritual significance that everyone in their culture shares and understands, which makes it more than spinning even if thats all it is.

Imagine if you could combine the percussive noise of the maori's poi, the hitting yourself noise, with the bolas noise of hitting the ground, with maybe an internal noise from the poi like a maracas and a noise when the head hits the handle, like those small african hand things. Then you could really make some interesting rhythm's.

Actually I was going to try and make some fire bolas. Me and a friend were talking about a more music oriented performance.



Just add fire.

But really, poi, clubs, some drums bolas, staffs, etc. I mean the annoying part being that you'd just be stomp/blue man group+fire.
Which isn't all bad...

AS for wii remote style midi control.

Sounds like a bad idea to me. How do you really allow the audience to appreciate that each movement has a consequence to the music, they'd just see movement that looks like it went along with music some how.


To me I started doing rope dart (I don't really do poi yet) to dance with it. I don't wanna do AWESOME tricks, I don't wanna look like martial arts master. I want it to be a dance tool. After glowsticking for a while I wanted to work with other props.

Now I think people could easily watch an hour to 2 hours of fire poi and other fire things. To me the problem is they would walk away thinking "wow that was cool I saw a guy swing fire around in a bunch of cool ways." Which is probably good enough, just not for me.

Fire is just one more thing I'm going to do. I want a show full of comedy, sex, music, dance freakology, and stunts. some vaudevillian-burlesque-circus-band-sketch comedy-gypsy caravan.
That's not for everyone. Not everyone needs to make a living doing it.

I dunno to me I just don't think I want to make an entire show out of poi or fire arts in general.


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mcp
PLATINUM Member since May 2003

mcp

Flying Water Muppet
Location: Edin-borrow.

Total posts: 5276
Posted:ZOMG, so much stuff to read.

Andrea: you wrote: I still will never understand why two people doing the same thing, even when well timed, is supposed to be more engaging. To my eye, it just highlights all the differences in their heights, postures etc. And when they succeed, and those differences are minimal, i think, what is the point of that? they could just dance with a mirror, or a projection... ut that is a modern dancer complaining about jazz basically-- i just dont like movements that strike me as superficial, and dont serve a greater intention. So three people in a row doing anything in perfect unision just isnt going to cut it for me. I see a lot of people who simply have not thought a lot about the possibilities.

--

It's a skill thing, and a easy way to the audience to understand that what they are seeing is deliberate and that the performers have practised before hand.

How are you supposed to know if a spinner is doing what they're doing deliberately, and it's a routine or if they're just flailing their prop around? Well if they're perfectly sync-ed to somebody else, then the audience knows for sure that that's what's supposed to be happening. That's just the way I perceive it anyway. I also don't much like synchronised stuff because that's basically all it does - show that it's a routine.

It would certainly change your view if you saw two burning dan's doing perfect synchronised burning dan style spinning.

Great post thou andrea. Lots and lots to think about. Choreography is an interesting subject. I may have to run some ideas past you to see if they get the andrea dance seal of approval. grin Shall I pm ya?



"the now legendary" - Kaskade
"the still legendary" - Kaskade

I spunked in my friend's aquarium and the fish ate it. I love all fish. Especially the pink ones. They are my bitches. - Anon.

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:Woooooooooow - so much to read. Great thread, great topic - unfortunately no time to read all and write a good response at this point... will come back later grin

PS: Rob, you're not talking about the Jeromes, are you?


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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aston
SILVER Member since Dec 2007

aston

Unofficial Chairperson of Squirrel Defense League
Location: South Africa

Total posts: 4061
Posted:Andrea: Nice piece. And I agree with MCP about what a synchro routine shows.
Although, I also think that you can see that in other ways. Looking at the third place performer from JFF (I saw the video), KiM: the lack of repetition of basic moves (sort of "I will do hip-reels while I think of what to do next" that I keep doing when messing about), the use of space and movement through it, the speed of moving from one set of moves to another, the timing of dramatic movements to the music, and subtle things like that make it obvious to me that it was a routine. I am not sure a non-spinner would notice, but a synchro routine is not really needed to show pre-planned choreography.

But I repeat my question: what else can poi be, but poi?
If you get someone above them with clubs, you could make it the pendulum of a clock, but that is all that comes to mind.
Which is another important point that I think BansheeCat made.


'We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." [said the Cat.]
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "Or you wouldn't have come here."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:Originally Posted By: astonBut I repeat my question: what else can poi be, but poi?

birds, a butterfly, wheels (try running like speedy gonzales whilst doing simple one beat wheel plane whatthefuck I dunno the name circles), ski poles (hehe found a funny one to show that), two fireflies chasing each other, two comets, a curse - there is so many things to think of. so many things that make up a good story.

but still I think it is more interesting to think about what else the performer can be than just a plain simple fire performer grin


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bluecat


bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere

Total posts: 5300
Posted:woooh, yeah, awesome.

thread goal of thought = check!

ros has been making great points about the background of poi, which also made me realise i needed to clarify my first post a little...

thing 1: i weighted the question too much towards circus, when i didn't actually mean to. the most important bits might actually have been:


Quote:why is it that routines all look the same, the world over?

is it the internet? is it the backgrounds of the spinners? is it the need to learn performance techniques? is it cause poi is limiting? is it because its easy to impress people with poi? etcetc...

and

Quote:
what is it about poi spinners that drives them to be endlessly creative in learning, and mind-numbingly dull in performance for the general public?

it was just that the conversation came about cause of talking about writing a new circus routine, and that my background is circus.

one of the best things about this thread is how many people (off thread) have told me about performances involving poi that aren't what i'm used to seeing grin

so: in response;

josh - i didn't say it was stagnating, and i did say i was playing devils advocate. I think you meant to ask 'why do you feel a need to bring this up' no? well, i feel the need to bring it up, because i see a lot of the same thing. thats probably because i go to most of the same events a lot of other people continually go to also, and i read the same video blogs, etcetc... but even when i don't, or when someone points out something 'amazing' i'm usually disappointed frown and the next bit might go some way to telling you why...

(to josh and clare, and others who call poi a dance)
unfortunately, what the majority of people are doing with their poi is not dance, no matter how many times they tell themselves it is. i have had some dance training, a LOT of capoera training and am a full time performer with many props. my brother is a professional dancer. I actively seek out dance techniques and shows to widen my horizons with respect to body movement. the one place i don't go looking for dance skills? poi spinners. and the one thing i don't call what i do? dance. i spin poi, incorporating techniques from many, many different disciplines.

there are many people who use elements of dance to make their poi performance more beautiful (and you are both amongst those smile ) but a LOT of people use 'i dance' as an excuse not to learn anything that makes your poi also dance. frown as meg said once*, wiggling a bit, and crouching down occasionally is not dance. Most people are doing object manipulation. and that is why it has gravitated towards the object manipulation scene. hence the circus thing. as andrea says, actually creating a poi piece that has more than a passing reference to body movement is f*cking hard, hence my absolutely loving lauras' broken radio piece.

but yes, it would be lovely to have poi recognised for what it is, and not frowned at as the poor relation of circus. will it happen? it's possible. Ros pointed out that it has taken many years for street dance to become a fully accepted dance form, and that poi is several years behind that in development. but none of this takes me away from the presentationclone thing *sigh*

i guess i'll just have to go out and look some more tongue2

Some people seem to have understood from my post that i'm bored of all poi spinning (stagnating? laugh3 )but in fact i'm not. I have huge amounts of time for all the people who don't want to perform, who just spin for the love of it, whatever level. and i LOVE good techy spinning, and good movement with poi. That said, in terms of performance, poi is still very limited/limiting. and if this thread makes one or two people who perform with poi put a bit of new thought into their next show(s) then i'm happy smile

off to create a new (staff based) show today smile wish me luck.

grin
R




*paraphrasing
**clare, you're a big, fluffy hippy tongue2
***andrea, you rock.


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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pineapple pete
SILVER Member since Sep 2004

pineapple pete

water based
Location: melbourne

Total posts: 5125
Posted:i honestly dont have a lot to contribute to this thread at the moment.. my heads just a little too far away, but id just like to say, nice one rob! great observation, and a great idea for a conversation topic in the forum..

also, must say, after participating in feuerkunst this year with till and anya, after never before worrying about having a propper act, and just doing tricks, it was a very good experience to concentrate on *not* doing tricks, and entertaining people..

maybe i should spend some of my ample time in the next few weeks working on a propper poi routine thats entertaining, not because its techy, but because its just plain entertaining.

hug


"you know there are no trophys for doing silly things in real life yeah pete?" said ant "you wont get a 'listened to ride of the valkyries all the way to vietnam' trophy"

*proud owner of the very cute fire_spinning_angel, birgit and neon shaolin*

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aston
SILVER Member since Dec 2007

aston

Unofficial Chairperson of Squirrel Defense League
Location: South Africa

Total posts: 4061
Posted:Originally Posted By: duvanOriginally Posted By: astonBut I repeat my question: what else can poi be, but poi?

birds, a butterfly, wheels (try running like speedy gonzales whilst doing simple one beat wheel plane whatthefuck I dunno the name circles), ski poles (hehe found a funny one to show that), two fireflies chasing each other, two comets, a curse - there is so many things to think of. so many things that make up a good story.

but still I think it is more interesting to think about what else the performer can be than just a plain simple fire performer grin

Ah, I see where it goes now. Thanks.

Ski poles? That I want to see....

And the reason I ask what else poi can be is because I honestly only see them as poi. In other words, things that I can spin, toss, stall and wrap (I think that that covers all the bases in the most general terms). And I do not really mean fire poi here, just poi in general. But thanks for answering. smile

Of course, I do not try and do shows, I have never actually choreographed anything yet, so this is something I have never actually thought about either.


'We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." [said the Cat.]
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "Or you wouldn't have come here."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:Originally Posted By: BansheeCat

As far as pleasing an audience, come on, that it is generally easy. We can , and do that in so many ways with poi( even me, and i am not all that great a spinner!) ...


Works for me smile

Show up at a venue 45 minutes before start time, set up, do a routine that looks like some effort's been put into it, pack down, pick up a cheque, hit the pub. It's a great evening out.

I'm going to keep calling poi "dance". It may be crappy dance in the opinion of educated dancers but it's a term far more people can relate to when held up to "object manipulation".

Whatever performance endeavour you engage in, there's always going to be a certain percentage of the audience who think your act sucks ( ie, you fail to engage them ), just think of how many not funny IYO professional comedians you've seen and as long as enough of them clap...I'll keep performing. When, the end of our/my act is met with silence or boos, then I'll take it as a cue to contain my spinning to the relative privacy of my driveway.

While I'm here..

I do agree that the poi world is far more concerned with the object manipulation aspect rather than the performance aspect of this art. Just look at the comments in the video section. Why, on earth would anyone who's not well known IRL want to post a video that's different than the status qua, when they know they're going to suffer the humiliation of watching there video slip down to the bottom of the page with only one or two comments ?

Maybe poi, more like foot bag than sex, isn't suited to "performance",,,,unless of course, they're on fire.


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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3288
Posted:mmm perhaps its worth distinguishing professional performance dance from 'dancing' ie the somewhat rhythmic movement that we all do occasionally when we hear really good music.

I meant dance in the latter rather than former sense.

I guess in terms of Maori Poi tho, it very much is a real dance with strong cultural meaning...


EDITED_BY: Pyrolific (1226879172)


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Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!

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