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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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railspinner


railspinner

journeyman
Location: canada

Total posts: 99
Posted:I dunno, I think a lot of poi spinners are more interested in just the walls of their poi communitys. That doesn't explain why the ones that are big into performing aren't going for circus quality performances. Im not to keen on the circus world even though I worked for one for awhile (not as a performer). But generally it seems like more mainstream traditional skills dominate the circus world. Atleast with the circuses here in north america (besides circus solei)

all the performers In the circus I worked for were raised circus performers. It's natural more traditional circus arts would have more life long followers I think. That and I don't know if poi translates to well into performing for a mass audience seated all around them. the most technical moves don't look like anything special from afar. Isolations and other mind trickery sort of moves are the best we have to offer, and dance. our competition have generations of refined circus performance and big moves that work well with an audience.


The less people know the more they believe

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:Hi Rob

I'm having trouble understanding what you're talking about and I can attribute that to my lack of experience with professional circus acts.

IMO, audiences respond well to "what we do" and maybe it's in our approach as classifying these arts more as dance than circus. Dance, but with stuff. This might be more of a North American thing though, as it's my understanding that circus ( in general ) gets more respect as a skill act in Europe than it does here. For example, one of the professional jugglers I work with ( not directly, we just share a venue ) described the NA juggling scene as "stand up comedy with props" citing that things are vastly different in NA when compared to Europe and Asia ( Japan specifically ) In NA it appears that skill with the props isn't enough to pay the rent and "our" audiences want a different experience.

As to the moves being all the same, yep, I blame "advanced poi moves" it seems there's still this quest to discover something new, or come up with a variation on that newness so the result is everyone watching the same videos, taking the same workshops, and wanting to be on the cutting edge. Maybe it's a search for recognition, wanting to be known for discovering a particular move or pattern.

Me...I'm old school, but I'm sure I'll be super hot when poi eventually goes through a "retro" phase. grin ( I spin like Janus, on the videos he released yesterday )

Errrmm, yea, the telling a story idea. As a group we've explored this idea, and frankly, nobody's been able to figure out how to do it save having music that tells the story for us or a dedicated narrator giving a voice over.

I agree, the series of videos that came out of the JFF this year are a "step up" from what we're used to seeing, well what I'm used to seeing anyway. Thomas's video has inspired me to create a character who I'll just call "marshmallow guy" who constantly tries to roast his marshmallow on a stick over the flames from both the static tiki torch we use to light out props and, sometimes, the flames from the performer's props themselves. I figure, marshmallow guy gets the cold shoulder, from everyone in the troupe and gets portrayed as a rather annoying character who gets dramatically chased off stage throughout the show, only to finally, in the end, get that marshmallow toasted....

It's a story about persistence and overcoming adversity, and hey, everyone likes toasted marshmallows.

Do you have any examples of club swingers and staff spinners pulling this off ? I've never seen it, but it stands to reason if you could do it with those toys, then why not poi ?







EDITED_BY: Stout (1226594985)
EDIT_REASON: spelling


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LazyAngel
GOLD Member since Jul 2004

LazyAngel

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 2895
Posted:Part of it might be down to the fact that it's relatively easy to get a response from a crowd simply by doing things _really_ fast on fire (ie 3bt weave) and to be honest when it comes to choreography people are often thinking about what they have to do in order to 'satisfy' the crowd rather than trying to push the envelope and do something new.

I guess this comes from the fact that people are often impressed solely by the fact that you've been insane enough to set something on fire and swing it around your body. I bet if there was a world-wide fire ban, we'd see a lot more poi performances 'pushing the envelope'

the other problem for poi (I guess) comes from the fact that it's not readily identifiable as something else: I've seen staffs as clock-hands, contact acrylics as bubbles: but what can you represent poi as? planets and moons? To do it convincingly, you'd need to spend time specifically constructing the prop.

So, ummm, poi spinners are slack? wink


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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willworkforfoodjnr
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

willworkforfoodjnr

Hunting robot foxes
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, ...

Total posts: 1046
Posted:Originally Posted By: LazyAngelthe other problem for poi (I guess) comes from the fact that it's not readily identifiable as something else

That for me is the main issue - poi is basically 'just' circles. With a staff you can have it as a club/sword (fights), move it in straight lines, roll it around the body etc etc. Its rare that a poi show contains much more than the spinning aspect.

I think to make it more applicable to the audience you need the additional 'woah' factors including (there will be more, this is just off the top of my head):
- 'look ma, no hands' (contact is really hard with poi and probably tricky for the audience to understand)
- fights (difficult to do without danger to the person you're 'fighting' or making it obviously fake)
- big throws - the big obviously hard tricks that take up space (hard to do on fire and the audience can't see most of your prop anyway so 90% of the effect is lost)


Working hard to be a wandering hippie layabout. Ten years down, five to go!

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railspinner


railspinner

journeyman
Location: canada

Total posts: 99
Posted:watch all the leading prop acts in circus's, then watch the best poi has to offer. The diffrences are readily apparent if you can detatch yourself from appreciating the poi as someone who know what to appreciate in poi (most poi is kind of just a bunch of spinning to the untrained observer)

The circus I worked in only had one prop performer, she was a juggler who won silver place in some international circus competition, and for her to beat the other acts she had to do some pretty insane stuff. 6 club juggling with crazy acrobatic dance routine, double hat spinning while simoultaneusly manipulating a holo hoop with her feet (keeping it spinning vertically bounce off her feet and rolling on the floor so she could gracefully dive through it while keeping the hats going, and various other mind blowing stuff like that.

Even the trampoline act which was pretty rudimentry for trampolining got about as good a response out of the audience as the juggler. people like over the top mind blowing performances, with big air, athletic physical feats that look impossible, and lots of flash and whatnot. I dunno if poi can offer that. Atleast not without someone putting some real imagination into it.

Pois strength of a performance art I think is with smaller audiences, and lots of audience interaction. Im trying to get good at street busking with my poi. Which I think is it's strongest niche. Untill someone takes it to the next level anyways.

EDITED_BY: railspinner (1226593853)


The less people know the more they believe

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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings, England (UK)

Total posts: 1182
Posted:Originally Posted By: Stout
Errrmm, yea, the telling a story idea. As a group we've explored this idea, and frankly, nobody's been able to figure out how to do it save having music that tells the story for us or a dedicated narrator giving a voice over.

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...

i see so many routines of other props that put together a sequence of moves that link well and (generally) performed well.

from the recent conventions i can think of the most different juggling routine was the lights being turned off and glo-balls being used. it was a well performed and technically impressive routine, but contains none of the imagination/story elements your talking about.


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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meshunderlay
BRONZE Member since Sep 2008

meshunderlay

Juggler/Spinner
Location: Hicksville, New York, USA

Total posts: 612
Posted:IMHO there is not something wrong with "poi" perse', there is something wrong with audiences.

As a juggler first poi spinner second, I've seen some interesting things. If I were to juggle 5 or 7 or 3 and do it well, people wouldn't care. If I do something choppy that looks difficult or even SOUNDS difficult to the audience, they are impressed.

If I forinstance juggled 3 balls over my head while slowly laying down on a bed of nails the audience MAY be more impressed than if I were to juggle 5 clubs in a (6x,4)(4,6x) pattern.

Then again, if you go to juggling fests or poi gatherings, the performances you see there will be astounding (sometimes), due to the fact that they are performing for other members of the art (and only some "regular" audience).

Seriously, you have any idea how often people ask if I can "eat the apple" while juggling?! And they thing it's TOUGH too. Tough would be peeling and eating a banana or orange while juggling.


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railspinner


railspinner

journeyman
Location: canada

Total posts: 99
Posted:how is that something wrong with the audience? They aren't jugglers, or poi spinners. They have no idea a really fast 3 beat weave while rideing a unicycle isn't any harder then well, rideing a unicycle. Or they don't know a complicated 5 club pattern is a big deal, they just see clubs flying around. In their mind 2 more clubs then 3 is more difficult. Most people watching a performance don't think very far into what their seeing, and with no experience in juggling they have no idea what to expect. The problem is with the performer if they fail to realize the nature of his audience.

The less people know the more they believe

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meshunderlay
BRONZE Member since Sep 2008

meshunderlay

Juggler/Spinner
Location: Hicksville, New York, USA

Total posts: 612
Posted:No no, what my point is, the reason some circus acts and such don't do awesome things (to us), is because they are entertaining the audience. They know what sells.

For instance... Fire. If you can do it without fire you can do it WITH fire, no big deal. If I can do it with fire I could do it with knives (speaking juggling here, poi w/ knives might just be a bad idea). If I can do it with knives AND fire, why not FLAMING KNIVES?

I wouldn't (as the original question asked), put any of the poi acts I see who are trying to be creative into just any circus show. I'd put them in a circus show that was all about doing better, more artistic, more skill, instead of just... "Oh Fire!?! Fast?!? THATS EXTREME!".

No offense to any fire spinners or torch jugglers. I agree that fire is convenient for night time shows/practices and it does look pretty. I do enjoy fire, but I wouldnt base my opinion of the show on whether or not fire was used.


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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings, England (UK)

Total posts: 1182
Posted:Originally Posted By: bluecat
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'

Originally Posted By: bluecat
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'

not sure there is much difference between these two


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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duvan


duvan

ancient oachkatzlschwoaf
Location: germany

Total posts: 249
Posted:hey rob,

won't say a lot about performing atm for I'm quite busy but I wanted to comment one of your statements:

Originally Posted By: bluecat
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.


this is so not true. I thought so too and many people told me it's like that. since I had the chance to travel a lot and meet a lot of poi players for the poi film I have happened to see so many poi players with so unique styles that I hadn't seen before.. ever grin

nick, yuta and ronan are certainly the most famous poi spinners, almost every poi spinner that is at least a little bit geeky knows them. so yeah, a lot of poi spinners are similar to them in their styles. but again, this is something I talked about in the "Imitate" chapter in my guidebook. It is (in my opinion) inevitable to copy your teacher/master and it takes a long long time to get rid of that "influence" (although one never will completely).

but seriously, I have seen so many poi spinners with great and unique styles so that I absolutely don't worry about a lack of own styles. Just give them some more time to develope and I promise you within three years time there will be a handfull different people "on top" grin


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animatEd
BRONZE Member since Aug 2004

animatEd

1 + 1 = 3
Location: Bristol UK

Total posts: 3540
Posted:I think what Rob is trying to put across, is that an awful lot of poi spinners think that a 'performance' is a spin to music, rather than actually putting any effort into evolving character, working the audience, or even telling a story. And to be honest, a spin to music isn't very artistic. Pretty patterns, yes, but not something that can spark debate, like different people's interpretations of a story.

Not the spinning style, let's not get this mixed up with performance style. No matter how you spin, if there is no narrative, or the performance is just a 'spin to music' then I would say that was a *insert string of poi spinners names* type performance.

Maybe this is the difference between circus performers and fire performers? circus want to provoke more thought, whereas fire spinners use the element of danger to entertain. Maybe it's the fire taking the need for expression and exchanging it with bright, shiny and dangerous as a tool for keeping an audience's attention.

But, the best and most inspired spinning technique I see is executed without fire. So why is the fire performance mentality there, when it doesn't need to be? People are too stuck in their ways, thinking a poi performance is the same as a fire poi performance.

Another reason poi shows have considerably less thought put into them than circus shows, is maybe because poi (in the manipulation world) is considered a fire prop before it is considered a manipulation/juggling prop. Before people have even picked up the poi, the idea of spinning fire is right there.

The whole 'Poi don't translate into other things very easily' argument is a rubbish one. I say, you aren't using enough imagination, which is probably another reason poi shows aren't involving as much effort. Poi spinners are lazy. not only in whatthey do with their bodies, but also their minds. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean lazy couch potatoes, or people that would avoid a mental challenge, because we do all learn new things all the time with our poi. Learning new things is a challenge, but it's a challenge that you don't show the world, and expect scrutinization on that front. Performance also has that self satisfaction element, but it's something that you are sharing with everybody...

also, performance is HARD. It needs to be taught, or studied hard. There are so many things to take into account like atmosphere, timing, all the off the cuff things that make a performer a genius, making the movement actually coincide with what you are trying to portray, I could go on... how many fire performers actually went through circus/performing school? not a huge amount...

Enough. there's some thoughts from me, spark some debate and all that. any more will just be waffling. But before I go, a little bit of pedantry; J9 is not on HoP... wink I am, and I do seem to be one of the more popular ways to get into contact with her, so I could see why you made the assumption... wink


Empty your mind. Be formless, Shapeless, like Water.
Put Water into a cup, it becomes the cup, put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
Water can flow, or it can Crash.
Be Water My Friend.

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Richee
BRONZE Member since Jan 2002

HOP librarian
Location: Prague, Czech. Republic

Total posts: 1841
Posted:How is that I think that people more like
individual talents, than group efect.

"Who is the spinning for?"

I'm ok to watch, but I'm also ok
to be watched, thats not allways
happen.

"What about plan B?"

--------------

Maybe I'm just too bad , too lazy to think about
the future now.

random thoughs as above,

:R

hug


POI THEO(R)IST

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MRC
SILVER Member since Jun 2008

MRC

Funky Blessings Daily
Location: , USA

Total posts: 215
Posted:This is something I'm trying to work on.

I intend to be a sideshow freak, which is it's own LONG and expensive road. I have every intention of making a life of circus performance. Even if it's just freakshow circus.

I have been working on performing over dancing. I think first in any prop is learning to use it, and in dance props like poi, you then need to learn grace. Audiences can be VERY happy seeing that, but that doesn't really make you a performer with longevity or impact.

Some of my easiest rope dart moves are the best crowd pleaser. Full length body/neck wrap? THEY LOVE THAT. I have always gotten good response to that and it is possibly the least difficult thing I can do. That's because I think the audience needs more than just swinging circles. They want to see danger, among other things.

Right now me and friend are working on rope dart skills including accuracy. Bullseye style accuracy. We want to be able to catch rings with the rope dart, first held in hands, then thrown. Maybe even work it into a ring juggling routine if we could figure out that routine. The point is to show a degree of proficiency that relates to some sort of tension or climax. Can I whip the cigarette out of someone's mouth? Can I pop a balloon from 20 feet away, without hurting an audience member(not likely) or fellow performer(more likely)?

As a freak oriented performer I try to work with danger and reactions. Lighting myself on fire, BIG fire, and things like that. As dancers me and my potential group will probably act in more of a burlesque fashion. Using dance and sexuality to create interest that combines with our ability to not die while swinging fire around. sexy dangerous. For more circus style performance, there will need to be jokes, planned dialogue, if there's music we must be specific to the cues in it. We'll need comedy, danger, climaxes, and certain degree of interaction.

Rope dart was my first fire prop, the next thing I started working on was contact juggling. More fire props and time later, the next thing I'm going to work is diabolo. I'm also working on my freak skills like human block head, sword swallowing, lifting and so on. To me it's important to perform hot or cold, night or day, etc. I need to interact with audiences accordingly. For example I wouldn't think contact juggling to be the best thing for a big stage, but maybe for busking. I think a lot of the isolation and illusion is lost from such distance.

I don't know. I think just being a good poi dancer is great, if that's what you want to do. If you want to make a living at it I think there should really be more to it than just being good at it. I mean if I busked poi and wasn't funny or interactive people would probably just wonder why some guy was swinging fire around near a bucket with coins in it. The obvious problem I think is that poi and other fire creates distance. Not only should we be at least 15 feet away from them, but because they might be a little put off by it.

I dunno....

Long story short yeah, I think people need to put on a show, not just be good with props.


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Richee
BRONZE Member since Jan 2002

HOP librarian
Location: Prague, Czech. Republic

Total posts: 1841
Posted:Quote: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?

Staff do it.

Really?

:R

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POI THEO(R)IST

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mcp
PLATINUM Member since May 2003

mcp

Flying Water Muppet
Location: Edin-borrow., United Kingdom

Total posts: 5276
Posted:whoa!

How did I miss this thread!?!?

LTC: Circus wants to provoke more thought? That's not true at all. Trad circus doesn't want to provoke thought at all. It wants to be a spectacle, to keep you amazed at one 'impossible' feat building to another. I mean, any gymnastic style flipping routine in trad circus will go like: People flips onto mats -> multi flips -> flips with twists -> flips landing in amazing ways - on peoples shoulders etc -> flips landing on two / three high people -> flips with extra props like flips with stilts -> flips with pogo sticks till at the end you're amazed. There's no story or character or thought required for most circus acts. They're sugar coated and made so that you never take atention off them because each new feat is more amazing than before.

Contemporary Circus is a different beast obviously.

People keep getting distracted by a different argument, like about the intelligence level of the audience. Clearly you should consider your audience, or your target audience when you make a routine, but you shouldn't think of them as stupid. (Just because they don't spend their time learning to understand object manipulation and how to appreciate it. Some people actually do important jobs of work.) If you treat your audience with respect, you'll make a better performance. So much juggling goes over the 'lay persons' head because it is never explained to them. If you make an attempt to increase the understanding of the audience, they usually appreciate it.

Why poi doesn't have any incredible story/art/character driven performances worthy of the circus?

Well typically object manipulation is barely considered circus at all. Like someone else said, the juggler is usually absolutely ridculously skilled just to get into a circus. Most of a circus consists of physical feats without props. These will always be more spectacular than manipulation cos it's much easier for people to identify with them. Everyone has a body, and doesn't want to land on their head from 10 meters in the air. Hardly anyone has juggling or spinning props, and what's the most worst bad thing that can happen with them? They hit you in the face and then fall on the floor. Hardly death defying. Sure, fire spinning can be perceived as dangerous, but we've harness fire pretty well in the modern age, and everone has experience of controlling fire.

But that's usually the only audience reaction. 'wow! They're playing with fire!' They don't realise that they're supposed to appreciate the different circular patterns being created, or the difficulty of controlling two flexible objects. So the spectacle becomes pretty monotonous after a short while.

Most juggling performances aren't spectacle orientated. They're an education for the audience. 1 to 11 or so objects up in the air and back down again. Sometimes they also actually count how objects they're throwing up for the audiences benefit. Imagine if the acrobats did something similar? Well first we start with rolly pollies and doing 360 jumps and then we go to cartwheels and handstand forward rolls and then.... etc etc.

What kinds of progression do you have with poi? Well, you can spin them - check. You can get the flame really close to you, and then really close to your face. You can spin them fast, you can throw them, you can get a few more poi, juggle them. You can get really big flamey poi. You can touch the flaming bits. You can do acrobatic feats while spinning them. You can manipulate them with something other than your hands... There doesn't seem to be very far to go in the 'amazing feat' progression table.


As for new and inovative forms of poi. Thank god for Ronan eh? I'm with Michael Moschen or was if Francis Brunn? Who said that jugglers today are too similar. Using the same props, doing the same tricks. Never trying to make a unique prop and then come up with unique tricks. Thank god for Michael Moshen.

Yeah sure there is the idea of planets and moons. Or maybe you could do a routine to flight of the bumblebees with bumble bee poi, or use those flying areoplanes that fly in circles on the ceiling, and put them on your poi. Or having those jumping/flipping robot toy dogs and have an acrobatic flipping dog act. Perhaps you could do eat the apple with poi, taking a bite out of an upstall. You could make the chain more important than the poi by having illusional designs on your cone poi, or doing the feeding the fish thing and being able to draw patterns in the air with your led poi. Perhaps you could make your arms as important as the poi by putting leds on them too and then the arm patterns would be as obvious as the poi patterns. Perhaps your could do poi in a straitjacket, and have the arms continue in long flat white poi. Perhaps you can make an act out of a huge disparate collection of single poi. Like socks, you've lost all the pairs. You can find some aspect of the poi and accentuate it in order to learn a particular set of skills - ronan poi for instance. You make poi more stiff, you get to club swinging. What about making the chain invisible like levistick? What about making the poi a weird shape like levistick? Making the handle the same as the head, like mini meteors. What happens when you try and intregrate contact staff with levi-poi like ronan integrate contact juggling with poi? What about small hoops on the end of Or making long long long tails, or tails that stay in the air, like bubble poi there must be more than bubbles that you can leave behind to show the circles your making, and there must be more than flags to accentuate the chain aspect of poi... Or use an external prop to highlight the skill you are doing, like juggling and useing a bucket... I mean, there's lots of possibilities... I could think of bad ones all day long...

You might also think that you don't need a 'gimmick' to do a performance with poi. I like gimmicks but I esepcially like finding an aspect of a prop to emphasize or a completely different prop to apply skills I already have to. So i can be unique! And like a precious unique butterfly dazzling throu the world of object manipulation, like a limited edition my-little-pony with sparkly hair.

I also agree with LTC that not many spinners have training in performance. I know that's what I need.

Who's vincent bruel and what did he do?

Parden my spelling, I just had an energy drink cos I got up at 6am.

Sorry this is so rambly. Going from what a cirus act is, to respecting the audience, to new poi prop shenanigans. I fail at coherence.


"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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Mother_Natures_Son
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!

Total posts: 2418
Posted:I havent really had time to read this... I'll get onto it sometime this weekend. But I'll say these things...

1) Lots of rubbishy performers. I have a friend who is an intermediate poister and he always considered his skills quite low... I kept telling him that he's got a good level of skill for the amount he practiced and encouraged him to branch into some more complex ideas and to continually push the boundaries of what he knows, but he doubted his capabilities.

He went to the gold coast and saw a performance and had his perspective completely blown to bits. The performer reportedly had a large crowd and was doing the windmill and some weaves and thats about it... It kinda sets a lower benchmark.

2) People who poi are usually dirty, smelly hippies.

3) Stemming off from point 1, theres the concept of poi as a "circus art" or a branch of "street performance" this kinda sets a lower benchmark as well... while theres the idea of circus as defined by cirque du soleil and the like... especially in the west theres a load of gimmicky, medium grade circus' which revolve around "tricks" rather than "performance"... which can often be the issue with poi as well.

I read part of your post, meg and I see what you said about "gimmicks" and I'm not saying the use of a gimmick is wrong... but my issue is more how the gimmick is used and what the purpose is. I've got heaps of ideas for videos that revolve entirely around gimmicks. And for the purpose of a video I feel thats fine, its a different audience. If you're trying to put on a professional performance however, it can't revolve around the gimmick, rather it must evolve around the gimmick...

But this all must be taken with the idea that I myself am a rubbishy, beginning poister who is only just starting to try find feet with his performance aspirations.


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mcp
PLATINUM Member since May 2003

mcp

Flying Water Muppet
Location: Edin-borrow., United Kingdom

Total posts: 5276
Posted:oh forgot to say about adding another element, like percussion to poi, like the spanish bolaoeristassssssss or whatever their name is. Or the maori's do. There's more there, that's for sure, and everyone understands rhythm.

MNS: I wouldn't say it was always a gimmick. Fire is usually a gimmick. That's why it doesn't usually work. Spinners ignore the fire aspect, instead of 'evolving' their performance around it.

It's only a gimmick if you treat it that way. I would really love to see flight of the bumblebees with bumble bee poi. er that was a tangent. I mean, it's the passion thing again. If ronan just did one contact trick with 'ronan poi' they would be a gimmick, until someone else developed them further. But he really explores that aspect of the poi, as well as other aspects, so they're not. If you attach fluffy toys to the end of your poi, it's a gimmick, if you explore what that means and what you can do with it, even if that lands you in clowning territory, it's not. I maybe think.


"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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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Its been hit on quite a lot already, but, with any show aimed a reasonable audience, the most important thing is to connect the audience with what you are doing.

The concept of spinning poi or anything, around on a string, with one in each hand just isnt that common an experience to allow the audience to be able to interpret the difference between hard and easy stuff, and so allow it to be appreciative and wowed!

One way is to connect is to build a story around it with familiar characters and themes, and then work out how the poi can become part of the story.

Another might be to spin something much more breakable,and recognisable as such, like ostrich eggs, instead of standard poi. Actually, that sounds like a great routine, make a big show and dance about looking after three eggs for the mummy ostrich, and promising not to break them, but then put them in nets or something and spin them, and actually breaking one... During this, the audiences reaction and concern about the poi hitting something and the eggs breaking will be seriously heightened compared just some spinning circles...

The whole story actually comprises lots of aspects, fear of upsetting someone, possible danger, plus angry animals... Hmm perfect!

Otherwise, a harder concept might be a poi battle type scenario. The two combatants will allows the audience to understand what they are doing, and by repeating some of the moves, it allows more focus on the skill.

But, overall, the connection with something familiar needs to be there, or the audience will switch off instantly...


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animatEd
BRONZE Member since Aug 2004

animatEd

1 + 1 = 3
Location: Bristol UK

Total posts: 3540
Posted:Sorry, yup, I was generalising with 'circus'. I was meaning what is considered contemporary circus. Rob already mentioned the trad circus style routine.

MCP said:

They don't realise that they're supposed to appreciate the different circular patterns being created, or the difficulty of controlling two flexible objects. So the spectacle becomes pretty monotonous after a short while.

yes. a lot of routines become very boring, very fast. Can be overcome with changing dynamics, providing 'catch up time' for the audience, or not falling into a base move when you can't remember what else to do... Sounds pretty easy, but doesn't seem to happen enough. But yeah, you won't know something like that unless you are told or discover it for yourself.

Interesting point about gimmicks... More thinkings smile


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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings, England (UK)

Total posts: 1182
Posted:Originally 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.


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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mcp
PLATINUM Member since May 2003

mcp

Flying Water Muppet
Location: Edin-borrow., United Kingdom

Total posts: 5276
Posted:Originally 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.


"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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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings, England (UK)

Total posts: 1182
Posted:well use some kind of bluetooth thing like a wii remote acting as a midi controller hooked upto ableton with drum samples triggered as movements on the remote are made. i mean you could set it up to trigger any kind of sound you wanted.

"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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mcp
PLATINUM Member since May 2003

mcp

Flying Water Muppet
Location: Edin-borrow., United Kingdom

Total posts: 5276
Posted:Simta: Are you taking the piss? Or are you adding a new idea to the pile? I can't tell cos you didn't seem to care enough to write your post well.


and another thing:

Maori poi might mean something to the maori's and that's cool. But I'm not maori, and the majority of spinners on hop aren't. It's nice that each thing they do has significance but in this day and age, significance to a culture is overlooked, and significance to an individual is more important. Especially in spinning, since mostly spinning has no significance in western cultures, so you can't look to your own culture for a meaning to what you are doing. Some people doing ffeicha or whatever are learning an art with as far as I know, no meaning, other than entertainment, and it's from another culture, that isn't their own. I wouldn't particularly care to do that, since it has no meaning for me, and it's co-opting another person's culture.

So modern people have to make up their own personal significance for the movements they do. Like michael moshen had created a strong personal significance for his contact juggling, which informed his act. It's not often that you meet somebody that knows who or how or when they learned all their tricks, and what they mean to them.

When did you last meet a person that had attached a meaning to an upstall, and had decided how to use it to express that or another meaning in a performance?


"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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simta
BRONZE Member since Apr 2006

simta

compfuzzled
Location: hastings, England (UK)

Total posts: 1182
Posted:i was being serious, you can use bluetooth devices as a midi controller, when used with a music program like ableton it can trigger a sample. hugo is definitely the person to talk to about that.

maori poi has significance to them. they can do a performance which is nothing more than just spinning but its part of a ritual that means something and that makes it more than just spinning.

when we spin it doesnt have that significance, which is why for a performance to be more than a series of movements it has to have *something* about it. if i understand bluecat this is what hes getting at, something in the performance that engages the audience.


"the geeks have got you" - Gayle

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railspinner


railspinner

journeyman
Location: canada

Total posts: 99
Posted:the idea of midi controllers in poi is a good idea, one could also use some kind of visualization software to correspond with the music and project it onto a backdrop.

The less people know the more they believe

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Mother_Natures_Son
SILVER Member since Aug 2007

Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!

Total posts: 2418
Posted:Yeah, I think thats pretty much what I meant by "evolve" rather than "revolve".

I understood thats what you were referring to, I just wanted to make it a little more explicit.


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mcp
PLATINUM Member since May 2003

mcp

Flying Water Muppet
Location: Edin-borrow., United Kingdom

Total posts: 5276
Posted:Yeah, I like to clarify. I don't want to step on anybody's ideas, i just like to make sure we share a consensus.

Clarification is a soothing balm for troubled internet discussions.

and if Rob comes back here and makes a remark like: "Really good discussion, but I don't have time for a long reply right now." I'm going to create a thread to organise a public slapping.

EDITED_BY: mcp (1226640019)
EDIT_REASON: bloopcat


"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:Rob - this discussion reminds me of a one that went on Jugglersdb... haven't checked where and how it progressed.

I guess there is nothing wrong with Poi - it's just in the way it's presented. EJC in Karlsruhe has displayed that there are plenty of other approaches happening, rather than the usual "spin in the park" routines... but basically I side the sentiment.

Also I would like to direct your attention to the performance group "Netzhaut" of Munich, who use Poi and firedance in their show more as a complimenting element to storyline, video-projection and music. This going on for about 6 years now.

As to the Jugglers approaches I need to add that on the EJC I have seen quite a lot shows that incorporated the "same ol' five ball routines" that jugglers never seem to get tired of.

Is it really that a 30's costume and a 60's costume are making the difference in repeating the same routines over and over? (yeah well and a storyline, I get it) wink

Maybe we also take into consideration that (contemporary) Poi and firedance are relatively new fields, in relation to club and other circus related arts.

Another thing to consider is that (as I notice) spinning turns much into "geeking" and follows the path of skateboarding and such.... nothing wrong with it, but the emphasis there is on the technical challenge, rather than the artistic expression, innit?

PS: Rob, I guess it would be "J" rather than "G" - but then again I might be completely misunderstanding who you're referring to.


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:Well, speaking from my own experience, in Grahamstown it is a very informal scene regarding spinning. As in it is mostly just jamming.

Without blowing my own trumpet, I am easily one of the top 5 or so skilled people who poi. I get good applause and so on, but someone else will come in and repetitively do the same three moves with a couple wraps and get a similar reaction. I have always put this down to the audience not really knowing what is hard and what it not, as well as "whoo! fire!" reactions.

Not really sure how I can change that here, since there is no real performance as such, just people taking turns to spin.

Rob: definitely something worth thinking about.

I agree with whoever it was who said that spinning stuff on strings is outside most people's experience, so they can not decide how hard it is or is not.


'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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