Saturday, 30 October 2010

Yuta Poi Dance

Check out my favourite Fire Dancing video after the break..

Performer is Yuta, Japanese poi dancer. He runs his own community 
Poi is a kind of sling - ball on a rope/chain - which is used for performing. Mostly used in set of two. Word originates in Maori culture and means accessory for spiritual dancing and body training. 

Poi were welcomed by westernised culture dancing artists. There are several modifications, including:

Soft or sock poi. Sometimes also referred as "training". They are made as strong cloth stocking with some soft and heavy stuffing in one end and some kind of handle on the other, leaving mid section empty. Image source.

LED or Performance Poi. Brightly coloured, often with built in light, these poi are most similar in construction to original Maori ones. They have fancy counterweight attached to semi flexible rope and comfortable or invisible handles. Counterweight might have light bulbs in it, attached laces and any other beautifiers. Image source.
Fire poi. As those used in video. They share basic pattern with Performance poi, though have several dramatically different features: flexible rope is replaced with unstretchable chain, latch hooks are used for fixing construction because it's much heavier and last but not least is that counterweight is made of noncombustible material. That can be Kevlar or asbestos cable that wraps metal core. It's soaked in kerosene and lighted shortly before performance.

Meteor poi. Can be both fire or performance modification but meteor poi is one item rather than set of two. Imagine that instead of handles chains are attached to opposite ends of staff or short stick depending on dancer's style. This kind of device was inspired by Chinese and Japanese weapons such as "rope sling" and "Joh'yo" - Rope Dart. For Example Scorpion from Mortal Kombat game uses this kind of arms. If compared to weapon, Meteor Poi has longer staff and shorter chain with bigger and heavier counterweights.

Tails and Flags are sometimes referred as poi too if dancing style is same. Former is somehow similar to Rhythmic Gymnastics equip, latter is just a flag.

Poi topic to be continued. I will even teach you to make them in following posts.

What's so special about Yuta is that unlike many other Fire Dancers he's not aiming for hardest and most complex moves. He follows rhythm perfectly instead. His body and poi supplement melody, let it be full rights actor within the performance. There are 2 songs used in video: Endangered Species and its techno Remix. Both by Deep Forest. This is French duet, that works in New Age and Ethnic Electronica genres. They mix real ethnic and folk music with chill out and/or dancing beats. One of most wellknown songs of theirs and my personal favourite is "Sweet Lulaby" which is adaptation of traditional song from Solomon Islands.

Poi and music aren't only tools of Fire Dancing. There are other equips and ways of self-expression. Basically Fire Dancing is not genre, it's name of any performance that involves burning something and human's body moving. Accessory used are staves, maces and lashes with attached burning parts, fireworks (both stationary and handheld), even bonfires. 

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1 comment:

  1. You little wrong about Meteor poi -
    in most cases it's a piece of chain with two counterweights on the ends.
    It more like a bolo.