Also called fire spinning, fire twirling, or poi, this is the art of dancing while spinning, twirling, 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 while aflame) is with the Maori 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 handled 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 incredible.