Freaks, carnies, and inspired-ones Unite!!! Last weekend was the annual Fire Drums festival in the Santa Cruz mountains. Over 500 fire freaks of all sorts united to spin, hoop, dance, twirl, bond and collaborate over a 3 day weekend. But, I’m not doing it justice so-as the website says- “Every FireDrums gathering has unfurled it’s own unique tapestry of bonding friendships and new found artistic desires”.
Now, if you think this sounds a bit intimidating and wonder how a yogini from Pennsylvania happened upon such an event, you’re not alone. So, to do true justice-a little background-I was introduced to fire arts by 2 amazing ladies who I first witnessed fire spinning at Burning Man 2008. I was so in awe of these powerful, graceful women that I was inspired to learn this art. I spent most of the fall of 2008 in my living room with a set of glow poi-mostly hitting myself in the head, as I learned the most basic moves. After many bruises, I realized this wasn’t as easy as it looks!
But, after being introduced to the Fire Arts Collective in Oakland, I had a group to practice and perform with and- in the fire Conclave at Burning Man 2009-I performed!!!!
Call me a fire geek, but performing in front of the Man with a troupe of Fire Goddesses was a dream come true! In spite of windy conditions, and my own “distracted” condition-I had a blissful experience spinning poi circling the Man along with many other performers-who practiced all year for such an occasion.
So, this year’s Fire Drums festival was a full circle for me. This ever-growing festival hosts performers of all sorts- hoopers, staff experts, poi performers, dancers, jugglers, flow-ers, and fan-freaks. Classes include “Ball Juggling and Such” and “How to Fire Breathe and Live to Tell About It”.
My friend Hoodie (an experienced staffer and videographer) drove down with me and we met up with my group of amazing ladies. We camped out and somehow attended the workshops dressed to the nines in leather and eyelashes!!
From 9am on we had workshops on hoping, poi and staff. Amazing instructors such as Zan from the “Encyclopoidia’ and David who did an amazing Handbalance workshop to the amazing Tammy FireFly who did “Understanding POI Manipulation, body mechanics and techniques” –Tammy is a girl who specializes in “Aerial Acts, Angel Griding (???) , Fire Manipulation and such.
We overloaded on workshops and entered the evening Fire Circle exhausted but charged as we watched these amazing experts in their field perform. The drummers accentuated the fire circle as the primal beats set the pace for fire performance. Despite the professional talent we observed, we felt confident to enter the circle on Saturday evening and celebrate our love of fire and each other!!!!!
We left exhausted, sleep deprived but inspired and thankful for such an open, accepting community!!!