Forums > Beginner Poi Moves > Frustration, and learning to move!

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Runemist34SILVER Member
17 posts
Location: BC, Canada

Hey guys,
I've been away a while, school's kind of kicking my rear, but I'm really feeling the itch to start spinning again.
I have a question, though (okay, a couple questions), and I thought perhaps people may have some ideas for me. old
You see, I'm no stranger to dancing...I've taken some lessons, I've done belly dancing and some tiny bit of hip hop and whatnot, and currently, I'm pole dancing. It's super fun, and allows me some free movement...with the safety of my pole around!
And, well, that's kind of the issue. I was never really comfortable just gettin' down, freestyle, and since I found pole dancing, I don't EVER dance without my pole! While I may not do the advanced tricks (such as inversions) I still find some safety in it.
It came as something of a shock to me (which I don't think it should have!) that good poi spinning has as much to do with what the person is doing, as what the poi themselves are doing. It's an interaction between the two that makes it so interesting.
Sooo...I'm wondering if anyone has some suggestions to help get me out of my little box. I can spin, a bit, and I can do butterflies and a 3beat weave, and turns (not much else!), but it's the movement I'm stuck on! What am I supposed to do? Some of the moves I see others doing are SO simple, yet they look SO good! How do I get that?
And, my other question...

What do you do about the frustration of hitting yourself a million times in the head?! Every time I try to learn a move, it's like I'm trying to push down a brick wall with my bare hands! It's gotten to the point that I don't spin that often (I'll admit, it's been QUITE a while) because I just get so frustrated! What do you DO for that? mad

JamethGOLD Member
378 posts
Location: NSW, Australia

The hitting yourself in the head thing: for me the only thing to do was practice, it eventually got better. The first 6 months or so (I'm slow learning physical skills) I put up with it - I got myself cone poi with uncooked rice as weights so it didn't hurt so much (and had to replace my rimless glasses with titanium framed ones after I knocked an arm off the others 3 times).

I still hit myself when I'm learning something new, most of the moves I've done recently it's been in the body, last time I hit myself in the head was learning the 4 beat windmill...

The move thing is harder for me. Basically I put on music I like, stick with moves I can do easily and concentrate on the body moves rather than the poi ones. A friend who's a ballet dancer suggested working on groups of say 3 moves that look good and link together as a way of learning impro.

nico_BaeyensSILVER Member
23 posts
Location: Belgium

this is what helped me with moving around while spinning maiby it helps you.

try spinning at every posible point within the reach of your arms:
start with one poi and spin it ( any direction ) and try ( slowely) to extend your arm forward, then back to normal position, then slowely up, then back to normal position then try going behind you ( turn your upper body tongue2 )

then do it all turning your poi other way and with your other hand you do the same, i had to practice my non main hand ( left hand caus i'm right handed) more.

then after that you try it with 2 pois ( i recomend same time first) and move your arms( forward, back normal, up, back normal, behind (slowely!!))and try to keep your pois steady in their planes

after a while doing these things you can control poi everywhere your arms can get so dancing around is much easyer

about hitting yourself :s its part of poi if it hurts you can get softer poi or you can try using short poi so that they don't hit your face.

ps: nice!!! pole dancing!!! can u hang upsidedown on a pole then?
you must be strong then if u do pole dancing

pps: dang haven't written so much text in a loooooong time
EDITED_BY: nico_Baeyens (1296509710)

Dancing with the flames,
Fire in our hearts, fire all around
We feel the breathing of the fire, we feel the spirit of the fire,
we hear the rhapsody of the fires wild flames

brenonfire413SILVER Member
Fire Spinner Exarch
514 posts
Location: New Orleans, LA United States, USA

Well I have absolutely no dance skill whatsoever. I suck at dancing! And when I first started poi I really sucked at the basics: the turns, butterflies, 3bts and stalls. But practice to the exclusion of a lot of free time and casual hobbies payed off. I learned a ton more moves in the year plus at this game, after a while the movement and dance style evolved naturally. Certain moves and transitions evoke a complimentary body movement that happens over time. This is where a person's individual style comes from and separates performers who flow and club spinners who stand still going through a catalog of learned tricks.
My best advice as somebody who is still very novice in the fire arts, performance and expressive movement is to practice religiously and learn every detail of your movements. Put on music that's easy to dance to and just go with the movements of the poi. At first you will tangle and hit yourself a lot but eventually bits and pieces come together and patterns will appear where you can move around and flow quite easily.

"Are you sure it's safe to drink bleach?"
"Yes, bleach is 90% water, we are 90% water, therefore: we are bleach."
-Nathan Explosion, Metalocalypse

Runemist34SILVER Member
17 posts
Location: BC, Canada

Thanks everyone, sometimes I just need that little kick in the pants!
And yes, I know...hitting yourself unfortunately is part of the past time, and I'm trying very hard not to get discouraged by it. I'm thinking more practice would be wonderful, and I'm trying to find the time for it. University sucks a lot of time!
As for free movement...I've tried the spinning from various places my arm can get to (though I really should do that more, too!) and I am trying to pay attention...I suppose I'm just impatient! And yeah, I'd rather be a little more toward the performer side, but I certainly have some respect for the club spinners. We don't have clubs here,, yeah, I don't get to see a lot of spinning. At all!

And, @nico_Baeyens, yep, Pole dancing! I can't quite get upside down yet, because it's frigging hard...I don't have much upper body strength, so I'm starting at a bit of a disadvantage, and I'm working on it. It's been a long time, I tend to fall in and out of love with it, but I think I've got it down now smile

astonSILVER Member
Unofficial Chairperson of Squirrel Defense League
4,061 posts
Location: South Africa

As a starting point, just work on your feet. So, when turning, for example, you can do that a number of ways: bring you foot up high (knee) and then let it lead your turn. That will look different to crossing your legs and pivoting on your feet so they are uncrossed again. You can step forward different ways, including slightly sideways. You can also jump or do sort of falling steps where your body leads the feet.

Just playing with different ways of moving your feet will open up a fair bit of potential. smile

Since you dance, try and bring some of the leg and foot movement into your poi.

Bonus titbits:
Try focusing on changing height: A weave done high may look quite different to a weave done low.
Another thing to vary is speed of transitions: Continuously turning looks different from stopping to do a weave while doing those turns.


'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

nico_BaeyensSILVER Member
23 posts
Location: Belgium

whehe i'm impatient too tongue2

i really got the feeling i'm not learning new things with poi but at the same time i kno i have learned a lot not really the tricks but more the dancing part of it

i'm kinde stuck with the BhB weaves( yes all of them :p)and flowers i really just can't get the rythm good and thats weird caus i'm a drummer XD

well anyway good luck with learning to move around with poi and as already said its just a mather of time before its a second nature for you smile

Dancing with the flames,
Fire in our hearts, fire all around
We feel the breathing of the fire, we feel the spirit of the fire,
we hear the rhapsody of the fires wild flames

1 post

When you're spinning, work on just stepping from side to side or turning. If you move slowly and focus, you won't make the same mistake I did and hit yourself hard in the eye in front of a bookstore while idly spinning.

richiiStick spinner
43 posts
Location: Brighton, England

If your struggling for time to spin then take your poi everywhere with you in your bag. 5 mins waiting for a bus pull out the poi, any spare time standing around pull out the poi, bored pull out the poi. This list of times to add 5 mins of poi to your day is endless.

On the dancing side i just found that it came more naturally as i progressed with spinning. Certain movements just feel like there is a natural body movement to flow with it in my mind.

Ash3sSILVER Member
161 posts
Location: Durban South Africa

Awesome thread smile

Movement is also something I struggle with, which is frustrating because I also dance.

The hitting yourself becomes less and less as you get used to the path your poi take. Everyone is right... practice. I've been doing this for 7 or 8ish weeks now and I find that I rarely hit myself, other than when my poi tangle, purely because I know where my poi are going and where they're going to land if they do connect... basically, I've become a pro at ducking tongue2

But as for movement, the person helping me learn poi has given me homework in the form of finding music that has a constant rhythm. The reason for this is because listening to music helps you focus more on your poi and less on worrying about smacking yourself. It also helps you to go into a poi bubble and leave the outside world behind. The reason for the steady rhythm is so that you can get used to moving constantly and consistently with your poi without strange ups and downs or breaks in the music to trip you up.

My IT guy gave me what he calls "hippie chunes" which is basically psychedelic trance; Neelix - Chainsaw being the best of them. I also found some African rhythms in the form of Amapondo - Drums for Tomorrow. Both have helped me so much when it comes to actually starting to move my body with the poi instead of being planted like a tree in one spot.

DidgeridudeGOLD Member
Object Manipulationist, Chain Maille Artisan, Didgeridoo Performer and Teacher
37 posts
Location: On the Road, Gypsie Style, USA

Once you can do poi moves without thinking about them, then its easier to switch your focus over to finding the flow of your body, not just the poi.
Get comfortable with stopping randomly in mid trick, and keep your arms at a certain place for a few seconds then back to normal. For some reason the poi will want to behave differently when you hands are to the side, or straight up.
Just dont get discouraged. And maybe find some gentler poi ..(fluffy?)

I do not have a Soul, . . . I AM a Soul.
I Have a body.

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