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Poi Mentors

by GlitterGirl, July 16, 2006

Not all mentors are created equal. Some serve us by helping us get unstuck in our minds about some perspective we're stuck with. Some help us understand how to be more self expressed in our artistry. Some inspire us to just keep trying. Some offer technical distinctions which illuminate previously elusive concepts.

The idea, then, is to find the mentor for you who will help you most in the area in which you need assistance .

In Fall of 2003, I was blessed with meeting Nick Woolsey. Getting to know Nick was a fabulous gift for me. For one, his skills are amazing -- watching him can sometimes make me forget to calculate what move in what direction he might be doing in the moment -- that's saying a lot.

Nick is one of the best poi spinners (not dancers, not dance performance artists, not performers, but spinners!!!) I've ever been blessed to witness. As a technician, Nick is dedicated and it is reflected in his Zen-like presentation of evenness, flow and clean lines. His style is perfection in motion, even in moments where, if it were possible, you can see something that is .0001% "off" -- Ha. His ability to wield his poi with ease and exactness inspired me on a multitude of levels to step up my own practice, and here I am, nearly 3 years later, massively improved for it.

Nick also taught me about the mountain. During our times together, my experience of Nick was that he noticed the place he was climbing up the mountain and all the ways in which he could improve on his journey. I commend that -- it inspires and reminds me of all the ways I am still a beginner with poi when I notice how far away the peak of the mountain really is.

Nick also taught me that looking down the mountain is equally important -- hence the 3rd principle of the Flowology Mindset(TM) --- self-to-self comparison through time. As I witnessed his growth, I found a place to witness my own, and this was an amazing gift. Suddenly, instead of only seeing the things I hadn't yet accomplished in poi, I could also embrace all the things I had accomplished.

When we first met, what struck me most about how we differ is that in as much as Nick's style focuses on precision and exactness on a technical level, mine focuses on expression and creativity in motion. Both styles are beautiful, though each style will resonate differently with audiences. By opening to the beauty of his style, my sense of aesthetics shifted in that I moved towards incorporating many more wallplane moves, what I would describe as the cornerstone of his style back then.

You might be wondering why I share this, so I'll share. Mentors are valuable. As my mother told me when I was a child, everyone has something to teach you, even if it is what you don't want to do or be. As an educator, I believe it is important for me to encourage the students and community members of Temple of Poi to consider multiple mentors who can help them acquire varies skills, vision, ideas, practices, drills and concepts. I encourage this not because the concepts I teach are "wrong" -- rather, because every idea can help expand your understanding of your practice.

At Temple of Poi, we help you understand poi from the basics onward using a very specific and structured curriculum. We focus on cultivating artistic self expression and performance presence using ever increasing complexity. We embrace fast paced yet approachable choreography. We help you evolve your practice and understand complex techniques, offering drills and troubleshooting to help assist in your poi evolution.

And, if you're looking for additional mentoring which is more focused on technique and precision, I encourage you to work with Nick.


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"To me, you're more than just an instructor, you are a mentor. I think about Flowology all the time and it has really, really helped me deal with stuff, just everything."
~ M. Besasie; June, 2007

"I have to say that any progress and willingness to learn and any commitment I've made to myself and to Temple of Poi is completely because of the open, welcoming, friendly environment that you have created that just nurtures my desire to continue learning and to continue being a part of the Temple Of Poi community. Week after week I really am amazed that you have completely cracked the code on teaching such a complex art form, in a way that caters to all sorts of learning styles. So, thank you for being in my life and helping to create this whole new dimension of who I am."
~ J. Grosser; May, 2005

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