• All Purchases made this month instantly go into the draw to win a USD $ 100.00 credit to your HoP account.
 

Forums > Social Discussion > The London Factor. (Or 'What Makes a Successful Technical Poi Community')

Login/Join to Participate
Page: 123
NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:The London Factor, or What Makes a Successful Technical Poi Community.

During my visit to London I was taken back a bit by the technical level of spinners in London. Even those that had been spinning for a very short time were successfully doing high level technical tricks. Many different factors seemed to be working together to result in this veritable breeding ground for poi spinners. I thought it would be both interesting and useful to reflect on what those factors were and how they could be harnessed in other poi communities.

[Disclaimer: This is simply a reflection on why one community seemed to me to be very effective at fostering technical poi skills. It does not rank London above your city. It does not imply that those in London have larger genitalia than you. It does not put technical ability above performance or dance or love of the art. I am also taking all of the love and warmth that I received in London and setting that aside as well. I’m PURELY focusing on how what I observed could be used to better my and other communities’ TECHNICAL ability. Yes, I KNOW that there are other uber-communities like London and they’re all equally special. These are simply my observations. I also chose to put this in the ‘social’ section since most of these factors arise from social gatherings rather than technical know-how. And one more thing, I clearly spent a bunch of time on this and I’m curious to see what others think BUT if you are going to post can you do me the courtesy of reading the whole thing first? Thanks! ]

Factors which I believe fostered an effective technical poi community:
Large Exposure to Poi- Damn, there are a hell of a lot of spinners in London. It seemed you couldn’t walk through a park or club without seeing a pair of poi either being used or for sale. I think with the thousands of people exposed to poi you’d naturally get a few hundred that really got into it and then of those, quite a few obsessive people who were naturally talented. I only know of two places in New York where you can actually buy poi and I’m sure that VERY few New Yorkers have ever even heard of it.

Different Groups Within the Community- This was interesting to me. At “Poi in the Park London” there were several very large but independent groups of spinners. It seemed that no one there knew much more than half of the folks that showed up. I think this actually works to the benefit of the whole. You’ve got independent pockets, each working at developing and refining new tricks. Once a new trick is exposed, it spreads through each pocket of people who then make it their own. In contrast, my smaller poi community only works on stuff together and doesn’t have the opportunity to ‘jigsaw’ like that. The London crew counteracted some of the intimidation of its massive size by having name tags at big gatherings which was a really nice touch, especially when most of us have more than one name.

Social Circles- It surprised me that many of the poi spinners actually hung out with each other during non-poi events as well. When your true friends are out spinning poi on a Saturday afternoon, it’s easier to talk yourself into going and having a spin.

External Input and Support from Surrounding Environments- It seems that London has a large influx of people from neighboring communities as well. Scotland, Sheffield, Paris, and even various Juggling conventions help feed the influx of technical moves and information.

Juggling Background and Philosophy- This is actually a huge factor. In New York, Poi is a subsection of fire play. As long as there is fire being flung about, it’s all good and there’s no need to improve. London though seems to have an underlying juggling philosophy. A juggler learns a new trick and then asks ‘what else can I do with this?’ Can it be done on the other side, can it be done behind the back, can it be done backwards, can it be done faster, slower, what if I try it with my hands in a different position, what if I combine it with other moves and patterns? The fact that most of the poi that I saw was NON-fire poi means that people are able to really focus on the technicality of it. Jugglers also can be quite obsessive people. This is perfect for developing elite spinners.

Variety of Equipment- Sock poi, aerotechs, tennis ball poi, beanbag poi, cone poi and fire poi all lend themselves better to different tricks. Having options of tools help learn different trick. I know I’d have never gotten a hyperloop had I not had some sock poi to learn with.

Jedi- The number of elite and utterly inspiring spinners in London is mind blowing. Of course newbies are picking it up and sticking with it, there are some amazing role models to both learn from and be inspired by. Also, the Jedi can be comforted, supported and inspired by each other. It can’t be much fun being the only Jedi in town. Also, I truly respect the fact that there are a large number of elite spinners that are truly bustin’ their butts, practicing, refining and learning. They’ve put in more hours than I ever will and it shows in their community.

Organizers- Let’s face it, fire spinners aren’t the most organized of folks. You do need someone to crack heads, pick venues, organize events, post threads and send emails. London has it’s share of those who work hard to keep things organized, predictable and regular.

Education- There is also a large focus on teaching and learning. If you’re able to ask questions and get them answered, of course you’re going to learn. There seemed to be little emphasis on competition or pecking order which could hamper learning.

Opportunity- Having regular meets twice a week and irregular meets even more than that lends itself to ample opportunity to practice and play.

Of course, this is all useless whining if we’re not to focus on a solution to how one can use these factors to nurture one’s own fire community. By looking at the above, we can try to prompt the growth of these factors in a newly forming fire scene.

One should try to:
Expose as many decent people to poi as possible- I think my crew used to believe that the more people that were spinning, the more of a headache it would be. Perhaps in some ways that was true, especially with fire but with non-fire poi in the park, the more-the merrier. Technical prowess seems to grow exponentially by the number of tech spinners because they get to feed off each other.

Join the Cliques- If there are other poi groups in the hood, get them all together on a regular basis. Grab jugglers, staff spinners, drummers, diaboloers, devilstickers, and anyone else who would contribute to the scene.

Report back from other communities- Make sure people in your crew are branching out. Go on a road trip and find other poi communities to inspire and be inspired by.

Focus on regular, organized, weekly, daytime, learning, nonfire events- You shouldn’t be trying new tricks with fire, so why not spend as much time spinning socks/tennis balls/glowstics/aerotechs as possible? Keep it at a set time and a set place. Let people associate a certain day with the event. Moving it only confuses people and messes with schedules.

Treat it as juggling- OK, you can juggle 3 balls, now what about 4? 5? OK, you can do a 3 beat weave, what about 4? 5? 6? 7? Can you do it behind the back? On both sides equally. Embrace poi philosophy and technical appreciation.

Teach others- Maybe it will be depressing to teach a newbie a trick that it took you 6 months to get, but it will push you to be better AND maybe you’ll be inspired by something they get 6 months from now. Plus, fostering a warm and caring community will make it a lovelier place for you to play as well.

Make it fun- Bring things to play with as well. The poi will happen, bring a barbeque, bubbles, drinks, fairy wands, music, Frisbees, snacks, cameras, blankets, and whatever else will lend to people having a great day there. This way people will continue to come even if they don’t feel like spinning right when they get there. They can hang out until they feel inspired or just cheer others on. More learning will happen if people are having fun for 6 hours then if they are working hard for an hour, get tired and go home. Plus, it’s more fun if you have fun.

In conclusion, every fire community has it’s own personality but each community can also be influenced by seemingly minor adjustments. By learning what affects each community in a positive way, we may be able to transfer some of those qualities to communities which may lack in those areas. There is more to life then technical poi spinning indeed, but by looking at the successes of technical poi spinning communities we can learn how to promote a more technical environment elsewhere.

Love to all the technical spinners in London. Keep on pushin' the envelope.

[ 02. September 2003, 06:05: Message edited by: NYC@NYC ]


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

Delete Topic

NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Yeah Bluecat but even you don't know the horror of:

3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 1.

EJC '02 4life.


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

Delete

bluecat


bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere

Total posts: 5300
Posted:seen it, heard about it, heard the ringtone.



Holistic Spinner (I hope)

Delete

BamBam


BamBam

Pooh-Bah
Location: London

Total posts: 1810
Posted:Bloody nerds

A kiss blown is a kiss wasted, the only kind of kiss is a kiss tasted.

I'm a woman. We don't say what we want, but we reserve the right to be pissed off if we don't get it. That's what makes us so fascinating and not just a LITTLE bit scary.

Delete

UCOF
SILVER Member since Apr 2002

UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: , United Kingdom

Total posts: 15414
Posted:yep..totally havent a clue.

but then again...i dont juggle (much)


Delete

coleman
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay, United Kin...

Total posts: 7330
Posted:quote:Originally posted by bluecat:
8,3,3,3,7,3,4 mills(with 4)

i think thats right.
i think that's wrong
for both three balls and four balls i'm afraid dude.
and if you say mills with siteswap, you have to say which mills ball you are starting on.
which is why, for example, there are three versions of 441mills.

3bdw needs another showing i think glass...



"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

Delete

bluecat


bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere

Total posts: 5300
Posted:thus proving my point.



Holistic Spinner (I hope)

Delete

coleman
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay, United Kin...

Total posts: 7330
Posted:damn.
i just proved i'm a geek didn't i.
you tricked me or something.
it was a set up.




"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

Delete

NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Getting back on topic, now I've run into a new problem. I've turned into a blathering poi idiot now upon my return to New York. I'm saying things like:

"Yo, there was this guy in london and he did like this thing... well I can't really do it but it was like a hyperloop airwrap thing but it was behind his back and I don't really understand it but it was really cool... heh, heh, heh..."

And my friends are looking at me like 'sure dude, riiiight'... So I need to stop bragging about "there's this guy in London I know" who can do "crazy stuff" because I'm starting to annoy even myself.

It's especially frustrating for me becuase the tech people don't post many tech videos so I'm stuck saying "No, really, I've seen it done! There was this guy in London..." with no proof.

Buzzsaw isolations into watermills into hyperloops... it's all rumor and speculation... "I really did see it! There is this guy in London..."

Ug.


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

Delete

Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:I'm kinda like that here in NZ with all the contact staff stuff...took me a while to clamp down on my mouth.

A technique that was quite effective was, before telling anyone about this move I've seen, is to try and attempt it myself. (Keeping my mouth shut).

That way, i learn a bit more, and seem to be doing something either inspired or stupid...

Then, someone asks me what i'm doing, and I say "I saw this guy do..." and I'm trying to do it myself.


People are amazing, if THEY ask you a question, they will believe the answer much more readily than if you told them it in the middle of a conversation...

Give it a go, and , if anything, it will improve your skills no end.


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

Delete

NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Good advice I guess... But, dude I saw this guy in London and he was...

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

Delete

TheApprovingNinja


TheApprovingNinja

From the Ashes of a Ninja Rise THE HIPS OF RAGE
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 371
Posted:Have you shown the NYC crew claus' diagrams? There are many paths to geekdom not all involving airwraped isolations

Viva UGLY STAFF

Delete

NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:I've actually not seen Klaus' book. Even though I did spend a bunch of time with him at EJC. I was his personal bartender from about 3AM, which was nice. He's quite a decent guy with a very different view of poi than all of us.

I should have bought one and had him sign it. Silly me.


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

Delete

Shibaki


enthusiast
Location: Tampa, Fl

Total posts: 309
Posted:very awesome thread NYC...
i am so very eager to experience london now, and happy that i get to soon

dom, i have to say that your style, though extremely technical, is a Dance, very graceful, that is mesmerizing. B+

i dont see how we could bring these suggestions home to florida. there are not enough people spinning, and althouhg we have good organization, it is all a bit far away to have random meets, or regularly weekly meets... and everyone seems to always be so busy.


Wow

Delete

Dom
BRONZE Member since Dec 2001

Dom

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Bristol, UK

Total posts: 3009
Posted:Only B+!
I've got some practice to do!


Delete

bluecat


bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere

Total posts: 5300
Posted:he's lovely is klaus

dom. i think i am still at D-

where do i go from here...?

as for wether this kind of thing can work elsewhere.... i don't know. i have never met such a community of obsessed spinning nerds . which is great(for them i mean). it does kind of help that as well as being very large, london also has a huge transiennt population, including many spinners who come accross the HoP community and say...'well i guess i could add a couple of days and spend them in london'... and end up staying for weeks.


on top of this, there are manymanymany londoners on HoP.

i have discovered this to be a weird issue in edinburgh. there are vast numbers of spinners(100 at the last monday meet) but only...4 i think on HoP, so there is no easy communication between us, not much crossover between jugglers/spinners... and one last factor: beltane.

for those of you who don't know what this is, go here. it is lovely, very spiritual, has loads of fire performers... most of whom are not interested in technicality, but in the floatyhippydancy stuff. which in this case is very appropriate and lovely. even more so because generally there is not much time to choreograph 25+ people, so tech stuff would be silly.

so on the whole i think london is a bit of an anomaly.


hmm.

might just have to visit.

oh. i am!
in three weeks. for aaaaaaaaaaaages


Love
R


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

Delete

Matthew B-M


Matthew B-M

Lemon-Aware Devilstick-wielding Operative
Location: East London Wilds

Total posts: 605
Posted:The "allowed to play" thing is interesting. See threads on HoP passim about people being stopped from spinning in the Yookay. Also, the commons in London are very different (rule wise) from the Royal Parks, where as various people have pointed out before, you are most certainly not allowed to spin fire (though I've been known to spin non-fire in Regents Park).

Luv 'n' Lemons
purity :: clarity :: balance

Delete

Shibaki


enthusiast
Location: Tampa, Fl

Total posts: 309
Posted:much love to you dom... i think i underestimated just a bit actually. your right A-

Wow

Delete

Knoxious
GOLD Member since Feb 2002

.
Location: , United Kingdom

Total posts: 420
Posted:Hi y'all

I just thought as I have been 'in the London scene' for a while now that I'd add a slight historical flavour to this thread. I feel it explains a bit why the London scene is as it is....

Two words: Just Jugglers

Just Jugglers were a (very ) non-profit company of 5 or so top jugglers/swingers who organised the 2 'original' workshops in London: the Wednesday Brixton workshop and also a Tuesday night workshop.

*As the Wednesday night workshop is still running, hasn't essentially changed in form since it's conception, and is a bit more of a jugglers night my rave is more aimed toward the Tuesday night workshop*

Just Jugglers workshops had all the positive aspects of NYC's breakdowns going for them: a wide and varied skills base from the people attending (thus a high crossover of tricks/equipment/style), a high turnover of visitors (and with them crazy new moves and visions), education (lessons; both spontaneous and organised) and Jedi (all the JJ crew were Jedi and their freinds were too!).

Other cool things about the JJ workshops... they were always held in large venues - usually slightly dodgy/underground nightclubs - big enough to hold heaps of people spinning at once. There always a fire area, generally a bar and alway a relaxed attitude to smoking. Just Jugglers workshops always had music too...the company owned their own soundsystem and had a few Dj's under their wing so there was always (and sometimes to the chagrin of the mellowfolk) slammin' tunes to dance/spin to. Great for 'trialing' what youd been practicing/learning. Also, occasionally the workshops would blend into a JJ organised rave/party...some sweeeet nights there! (Anyone remember Full Moon party held at the Elephant & Castle Drome?)

*footnote: The Daddy of all venues was the old "Drome" (now the SE1 Club) - under the arches of London Bridge train station. The venue was made up of several HUGE interlinking arches; big enought to have fire in one, a lesson in antoher and a general room in another. It totally rocked...RIP *

But I really think that the main factor that made the workshops so successful, and which has ultimately set a precedent for why the London scene is how it is now was the Just Jugglers attitude of having 'hosts' at their workshops. Whenever someone new/unkknown walked into the workshop, or if a passerby looked interested in what was happening, they would soon be greeted by a JJ 'host' (usually a JJ organiser, but not always). The newbie would be welcolmed, informed about how the workshop ran and usually introduced to somebody who could help them learn something with toy of preference.
This positive 'networking' of new people into the community really counter-acted the whole intimidation issue that can arise for newbies...no-one felt left out!
Of course it makes it easy when your dealing with us lovely juggler types... but I really think that it was this that really helped to build the solid foundation of spinners that you find in London.

Unfortunately, after a few years Just Jugglers ran out of puff. It was harder to secure large venues for workshop profits, and eventually the reigns were passed over for the Brixton workshop and the Tuesday nighter finished...the spot was filled by the Kensal Rise Swingers Nights and then two bright young sparks (namely Euan/Spacemonkey and Carrie) came up with the fantastic idea of the Spitalfields workshop.

I just wanted to add that history into the soup...and to pay homage to a crew of people who put in so much effort, time, money, heart and soul to create, build and flourish an amazing community of beautiful like-minded people

hurrah for Just jugglers! huraah!

I hope this means something to someone!

dave

[ 07. September 2003, 12:05: Message edited by: Knoxious ]


Delete

Cassandra


Cassandra

Froggie ... Ribbit !!!
Location: Back in Paris... for now !

Total posts: 4224
Posted:To me it means that you have a lot of free time to type and therefore we could have spent more time together in the parc instead

33
33
441
Cassandra


"I want brown bread... no, that is diesel oil..."
"So I was raised in Europe, where History comes from ..."
"NON !!! La Plume de mon oncle n est pas Bingibangibungi !!!"

Delete

Gnor
BRONZE Member since Mar 2003

Gnor

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Perth, Australia

Total posts: 5814
Posted:Sounds like London is a fantastic experience for fire stuff.
Thanks for the posting wish we had that in Perth.


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

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

Delete

NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:So here's another example...

I'm in a park today (Sunday) and I'm playing with some of my first hyperloops and I'm wondering what I KNOW is a very simple question (How do you get those buzzsaw beats in the middle of a right to left, simple hyperloop?)

And my though is 'Damn, this would be like a 10 second problem if I was in London right now' because I KNEW that at that exact same moment there was a huge crowd at PiP London of which any number of people could have answered.

So now I'm stuck on that for a while, until I 'do a search' and decypher it from poi moves or find a video and break it down, or do any number of things far more complex than simply yelling "HEY, COLEMAN...!"



Then again, if I was in London I wouldn't have been able to give up, walk across the street and have a REALLY GOOD slice of pizza. (Sour Grapes? )


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

Delete

MEERCAT
BRONZE Member since May 2002

MEERCAT

A Meerkat that eats chicken
Location: Cambridge UK

Total posts: 194
Posted:

<<<<<<< Only member in my communitiy


Delete

NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Whoa... 15 month bump up!

***


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

Delete

Pink...?
BRONZE Member since Apr 2002

Pink...?

Mistress of Pink...Multicoloured
Location: Over There, United Kingdom

Total posts: 6140
Posted:15 months? no! Not been that long has it? eek

Never pick up a duck in a dungeon...

Delete

rbmnyc
BRONZE Member since Jul 2003

rbmnyc

lurker
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA

Total posts: 194
Posted:NYC - beautiful post ... why didn't I see it before? (probably cuz it's 15 months old??)

anyway - I just want to commend you on following through on all these thoughts and establishing a regular day/time for poi meetups. clap ar ound of applause for NYC, OK everyone??

I'm really impressed to see that you thought this all out, set a plan of action, and followed through. There is so little of that in this world. Inspiring.

xxxoooxxxooo


Delete

NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:*bows*

Yes. My plan seems to have worked perfectly. wink

And now you see you were just a pawn in my dream of establishing a diverse and talented group of warm and huggable people. hug (Yay!)

Since we seem to be lacking in Staff skills I'll see if I can't grab a Brit and drag her over here in what I like to call "Phase 2"

Mmwaaahhahahahaa! eek

ubbangel


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

Delete

ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Total posts: 2474
Posted:you could atleast call it something cool ..... like the nemosis program

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

Delete

Dr_Molly


Dr_Molly

Pooh-Bah
Location: Away from home

Total posts: 2354
Posted:umm

I can cope with you deciding to call me Zoe, but I will NOT be called phase.
And certainly not phase 2.

and Ben, you're no better.

(somehow I think you might prefer a pat on the head and another cookie to rapturous applause :cookie: :cookie: : pat: : pat: )


Delete

NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Not calling YOU "Phase 2"!... it's a top secret project INVOLVING you. biggrin

The real name is far too top secret to post here. wink

Plus this is a PG site. eek


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

Delete

rbmnyc
BRONZE Member since Jul 2003

rbmnyc

lurker
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA

Total posts: 194
Posted:ubblol

Delete

Page: 123