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

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
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 ]


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Orbit
Orbit

enthusiast

Member Since: 17th Dec 2003
Total posts: 270
Posted:Excellent analysis, NYC! I like to think that the communities in SF and LA are growing these days... I think, though, that your view of London may have been tainted by the extra-high turn-out during your visit as you're a known person on HOP and people made an effort to be there when you were there.

There's been a lot of research in the business world into why certain regions have advantages over others -- why Silicon Valley did so well compared to Boston, for instance, or why Milan is a fashion capital, Hollywood is the film capital etc. etc. These places have pretty much what you describe... a vibrant home market (lots of people in the region interested in that thing), a network of networks (cliques that are somewhat unique but also share information with other cliques), and successful related industries in the region (juggling) are some of the factors (can't remember the others off the top of my head).

With all the videos floating around, I think a big part of what can be done is helping to distribute these videos to your friends so that people who aren't on HOP (or Spherc or PIP or tribe) can see the vids. I've been showing vids on the big screen at SpinJam in SF to get people thinking beyond what they're doing.

Another random observation: Some of the best spinners I've ever met are graceful dancers who've had the benefit of coaching from technical people, or had a partner who was highly technical.

This may be a good thread to bring this up... How much demand do y'all think there would be for a magazine that talks about what's new and interesting in the spinning world (not just poi, but staff, hoops, etc etc)? PM me if you've got thoughts on that...



Richee
HOP librarian
Location: Prague
Member Since: 15th Jan 2002
Total posts: 1841
Posted:I love to read post like this and I love you allllllll smile

POI THEO(R)IST


NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:You SAY you love us... and then you don't even come to EJC. frown

wink


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Charist
newbie

Member Since: 23rd Dec 2004
Total posts: 8
Posted:Jealous now. I lived in London for 6 months before I knew what poi were! Now I'm in the middle of Florida where people think poi are only fish!

So the question becomes, how would I find other poi swingers where I am? How do you find a community if one exists?!



NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:You're in the right place silly!

You go to "Meet Others" under "Community" above and find all the spinners that have signed up. I know there are a few hotspots in Florida. Go find some spinners!


Well, shall we go?
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Charist
newbie

Member Since: 23rd Dec 2004
Total posts: 8
Posted:unfort, in my area (and 2 hours driving away) there are only 2 people, one with no contact info, but willing to teach and homestay even, and the other also a newbie but I threw a pm their way smile Any other suggestions?


NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Sure!

VIDEOS!

Here and some of the other websites. Gotta love the internet!


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bluecat
bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere
Member Since: 15th Dec 2002
Total posts: 5300
Posted:*bump*



because now i've been travelling lots, and seeing other cities, and intentionally bringing uk geekdom around the world, and fostering HoP in edinburgh...



and just wondering IF things have changed(edit: in london, or in your own city, or in othre cities you visit), HOW things have changed, and why...?



smiles

R

EDITED_BY: bluecat (1139823588)


Holistic Spinner (I hope)


bluecat
bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere
Member Since: 15th Dec 2002
Total posts: 5300
Posted:oh, and i think this should be in social discussion...

mod? dom?


Holistic Spinner (I hope)


animatEd
animatEd

1 + 1 = 3
Location: Bristol UK
Member Since: 31st Aug 2004
Total posts: 3540
Posted:Hmm... The same certainly goes for Contact Juggling.

You can see the difference between the London and American styles quite plainly, although, the American is beginning to catch up with the precision of them there europeans... I see good things happening...

In CJ, I've always seen European Jugglers as the slow, controlled, perfectionist type, and the Americans as the 'I got it there, that'll do. Although now a few of them are seeing the difference themselves, and taking more time to learn things well...


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.


NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Everything's the same here. Everyone hibernates in the winter, only a very small interest in technical appreciation, etc.. etc.. etc..

I think the Groove Hoopers have done wonders for the hooping community but poi/staff/etc.. isn't even close to keeping up.

I've been preoccupied so I haven't played Organizer in a while.

biggrin


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Yes, let's go.
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faith enfire
faith enfire

wandering thru the woods of WI
Location: Wisconsin
Member Since: 27th Jan 2006
Total posts: 3556
Posted:damn i always knew i wanted to go to london, and now i have another reason

so what the censored are we supposed to do stuck all by our lonesome ubbcrying


Faith
Nay, whatever comes one hour was sunlit and the most high gods may not make boast of any better thing than to have watched that hour as it passed


fNi
fNi

master of disaster
Location: New York
Member Since: 8th Mar 2004
Total posts: 3354
Posted:Written by: NYC

Everyone hibernates in the winter




only where you are wink


kyrian: I've felt your finger connect with me many times
lou kitten: sneaky little meatball..
ezz: please corrupt me more


NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Yes, that's what I said the sentence before. tongue

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Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]


Fine_Rabid_Dog
Internet Hate Machine
Location: They seek him here, they seek ...
Member Since: 26th May 2004
Total posts: 10530
Posted:I love london.

My staff spinning has become much much much better since I started going to meets there.

smile


The existance of flamethrowers says that someone, somewhere, at sometime said "I need to set that thing on fire, but it's too far away."


Just_Another_Clown
Just_Another_Clown

old hand
Location: London
Member Since: 1st Jul 2005
Total posts: 965
Posted:has it? umm really?

Since when? tongue


Q:"How many Jugglers Does it take to change a light bulb?"
A:"One, but another 99 others saying,'I could do that if I only practised more'" biggrin biggrin

Gate Keeper to Shocked_Prawn. None may pass.


Fine_Rabid_Dog
Internet Hate Machine
Location: They seek him here, they seek ...
Member Since: 26th May 2004
Total posts: 10530
Posted:This was, of course, before I met you.

You, however, seem immune to the London factor. tongue

Oooo... yeah... this is social discussion.. ooops redface


The existance of flamethrowers says that someone, somewhere, at sometime said "I need to set that thing on fire, but it's too far away."


Boo_Bunny
Boo_Bunny

Sparkely arty Mormon rainbow fairy
Location: infront of you
Member Since: 18th Mar 2005
Total posts: 933
Posted:i want to live in london now. pants frown

Property of Fine_Rabid_Dog


animatEd
animatEd

1 + 1 = 3
Location: Bristol UK
Member Since: 31st Aug 2004
Total posts: 3540
Posted:A theory I have for why London is apparently the place to be when it comes to Tech poi:

Two heads are better than one. Four heads are better than two. Eight heads are better than etc etc...

London has a lot of spinners close to each other (Relatively speaking) And learning happens much faster when there are a lot of people bouncing moves off eachother. I reckon you get the same amount of spinners anywhere in the world, and see what happens. Take weekends like Falmouth for example. So much gets learnt and taught there in that one weekend it's unbelievable!

Also, let's not forget, those London lot, they're a bunch of Geeks 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.


Richee
HOP librarian
Location: Prague
Member Since: 15th Jan 2002
Total posts: 1841
Posted:Take weeekends ummmmm, likieeeee.....
Stay tuned more to come. smile

:R


POI THEO(R)IST


mcp
mcp

Flying Water Muppet
Location: Edin-borrow.
Member Since: 20th May 2003
Total posts: 5276
Posted:Written by: bluecat

because now i've been travelling lots, and seeing other cities, and intentionally bringing uk geekdom around the world




Isn't arashi going to do the opposite this summer? ie spreading america danceyness? Will this two side negate like positive and negative numbers, or will they explode like antimatter? wink


"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.


Sporky
Sporky

addict
Location: Glasgow
Member Since: 25th Jul 2005
Total posts: 663
Posted:Ewwww Arashi exploding... What a way to put me off my breakfast wink

Have faith in what you can do and respect for what you can't


mcp
mcp

Flying Water Muppet
Location: Edin-borrow.
Member Since: 20th May 2003
Total posts: 5276
Posted:biggrin <slap> wink

"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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