Where did poi come from and
how do Goodness Gracious… use it differently?
The art of poi is an ancient tradition
dating back to the Maori tribes of New Zealand, although their
purpose was somewhat different than ours. The Maori warriors
used poi as a means of training both the mind and the body, to
improve balance, coordination, endurance and strength. Today,
we use the poi as a form of entertainment, a way to dazzle and
excite an audience. By first fusing the technical skill
of poi with the fluid art of dance and then adding music, a beautiful
spectacle is created.
What are poi?
The actual apparatus called poi
is made up of leather finger grips designed to tighten around
the fingers as the poi spin to prevent them from slipping off,
a metal chain which can be altered to any desired length with
a ball of tightly woven flame retardant fabric called Kevlar at
the end of the chain.
How do you use the poi?
The poi are soaked in a white fuel
(Coleman’s Camping Fuel being the most common brand with
little odour and next to no smoke), lit on fire and the spinning
begins. Now that our flame has been established, the options
are endless. We can move and dance with our poi, as long
as they are kept spinning. Infinite patterns can be created
and are often described as hypnotic or mesmerizing. Insert
any genre of music and the mood is instantly changed, from a very
urban, modern feel with Hip Hop or Pop music to a primal or tribal
feel when set to drums and everything in between.
What other fire props do
Goodness Gracious… use besides their poi?
In addition to our poi, we have
several more fire props at various sizes to create a series of
different effects. Some of these include, fire ropes
which are similar in design to the poi but with a much larger,
longer flame, fire fans that are held in the hand as
a typical fan would be but have flame at the end of each of its
five spokes, a ball and chain which rather than having
the ball at the end of the chain places it in the middle allowing
for a greater freedom and range of motion with the body, and our
smallest prop, hand pots, which give the illusion of
flame rising from the palm when viewed at a distance. These
and even some more fire toys make up our fire kit, which can be
tailored to fit any client, venue and theme.
How long will each prop last
Depending on several factors a prop
can last from 1-5 minutes. In outdoor performance the wind
and humidity can effect the burn time of a prop, taking off anywhere
from 30 seconds to 1 minute of its usual length. Other factors
for both indoor and outdoor include the size and nature of the
prop, which in some cases can be adjusted to suit a specific need,
the speed at which we spin varies the time dramatically as well,
so dancing to a fast upbeat song will decrease the length of a
burn and we can also lengthen our time using a different fuel.
Where can you perform with
poi and other fire props?
Anywhere we are authorized!
For outdoor performance we stay away
from dry wooded areas where there could be a lot of dry grass
or fallen leaves. For indoor performance our minimum requirements
are a 10X10ft space with a ceiling height of at least 12ft as
What safety precautions are
Besides carrying a small fire extinguisher
with us, we always have plenty of water and wet towels on hand.
Other than that we stay on our toes by maintaining a healthy respect
for fire. Safety is #1!!!