Also called fire spinning, fire twirling, or poi
, this is the art of dancing
, waving or otherwise moving flaming
objects around the body.
It's not clear when the practice first started. Given humans'
preoccupation with fire
it may have arisen independently in many different places. One place of origin for
many of the moves used in fire spinning (in which two fuel-soaked wicks
are swung on the end of chains
) is with
people on New Zealand
. Poi dancing is a traditional Maori dance, done WITHOUT
fire, in which 2 balls on ropes are swung around the body and beaten on the hands.
One can also light the ends of an appropriately-prepared baton or staff, and use standard
baton-twirling techniques. Another form of fire dancing uses
"fire fingers", which are
small (6 to 8 inches long) wire extensions that fit on the ends of a finger, with bits of
fuel-soaked wicking at the tips that can be lit.
All forms of fire dancing can be extremely enthralling, beautiful and even erotic to
watch, depending on the performer. Put together a beautiful dancer and the mystery of
fire, with all its shadows and highlights and the element of danger it imparts, and
you have a very powerful combination.
Fire dancing, particularly fire spinning, is also a very rewarding activity. When fire is
properly and shown the proper respect, the risk of getting hurt (though very real) is
slight, and the thrill is large. The sound of the fire whizzing past your ears is