A form of fire-dancing in which fuel-soaked wicks on the end of chains or cables are set aflame, and swung in circles around the body. This sort of movement originated with Maori people in New Zealand, and is called poi there.

A very large variety of moves have been devised, with names like the full spider, half spider, butterfly, hula, sidewinder, open spider, etc. These are names used by fire spinners in Austin, Texas; performers as close as Dallas may have entirely different names for the same moves. Many of these moves come in both forwards and backwards versions.

Please also see fire spinning chains.

Learning how to spin fire:

If you want to learn to spin fire, the best thing (actually, really the only thing!) to do is to find someone who already knows how and work with them. Some things to keep in mind:

  • One never starts out working directly with fire. Always practice any new move without fire until you are absolutely steady and comfortable with it. Even accomplished fire spinners spend plenty of time practicing without fire. Many of us have a separate set of practice chains that are similar in length and weight to our fire chains, but are never soaked in fuel and lit. Instead of wicks on the ends of the chains, sometimes practice chains will use bean bags, beanie babies, koosh balls, or some other weighted, but non-painful object. After all, since you are going to be trying new tricks with these, you don't want them to hurt when they whack into your face. See fire spinning chains for instructions on how to make your own set of chains.
  • If you are ready to try it with fire, don't do it unless there is another person there who has fire spinning experience who can be your fire safety person. Make sure you are in an area free of tall or dry vegetation. Concrete or asphalt is nice. Your buddy will have a bucket of water close by, and one or more towels that have been water-soaked. If you catch your hair or clothes on fire, your friend will approach you with the towel and put you out.
  • Wear clothing which won't easily burn. Cotton or leather is nice in this regard -- you can brush a flaming wick against it an it won't catch on fire. Many synthetic fabrics will readily ignite or even melt onto your skin -- bad, bad, bad.
  • Spinning fire naked is not all that bad of an idea, but it's still a good idea to keep the hairy parts covered. If a flaming wick brushes skin that is not particularly hirsute, you will likely escape with only a soot mark. If you thwack yourself hard with it, you might get a little burn. If you accidentally wrap your chains around an appendage, you could get a nasty burn.
  • Don't use gasoline; it burns much too quickly and can explode. People have different fuel preferences: Some like lamp oil (burns slowly for a long time); some like white gas (camping fuel); some like to mix the two; others like kerosene. Non-volatile slow-burning fuels are good. Keep your fuel containers well away from the area where you have flame.
  • There is a web site that has some little QuickTime videos showing some spinning moves:

    There are other resources available there that might be helpful.

Enjoy, and be careful out there.