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Poi Fire Dancing Theory - 7 Layer Dip: Size

As we continue our exploration into the 7 Layer Dip, I'll skip right over the skills layer and direct you to the awesomely informative Tech Poi tribe. The skills themselves are, of course, important, but one of the most impactful performances I ever witnessed with poi was a student who did, literally, 3 moves. The reason it was so impactful? Her passion, her presence, her authenticity and how she performed and danced in such an elegant and graceful way, using the poi as an extension of her body.

Instead of talking about the skills, let's move right on to talking about size. Really, there is a reason that people say "size matters" -- because it does. I mean, if you're piercing your ear, you might not want to use a 1 inch needle as it might be too big -- yet if you're trying to syphon water out of a your basement, that same gage opening is way too small.

Instead of thinking of the size of the movement as either big or small, another way to consider it is in terms of the contrasting sizes used throughout the performance. Just as the flow between the moves can create a dance of its own, the size and the variations between sizes can enrich that experience, deepening the journey for the onlooker. Instead of focusing on only small moves like buzzsaw or large moves like giants, focusing on developing a range of sizes will help create visual expansion and contraction and expansion and contraction and so on as you flow through your show. You can even combine movements using one poi at full extension in large movements while the other poi is choked and moving in smaller and tighter movements.

This idea of size can also be considered in terms of each pattern you play with, like adding extensions and short movements to things as basic as pinwheels and weaves -- perhaps in asymmetric ways -- to both vary the aesthetic as well as expanding the impact of the skills as you present them. For most audiences, the differences between a regular weave or pinwheel versus one done with extensions or asymmetric extensions creates a more dynamic experience that builds on itself...


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