Marilyn Besasie has been in love with fire ever since she was a little girl; watching fires in her cousin’s fireplace, building campfires out in the woods at summer camp, even taking up candle making. As an adult, the love of fire never faded and when she saw fire spinning at the Burning Man Project in 1997, she was hooked. She dedicated herself to finding a teacher to learn this amazing new thing. But in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, there were no fire spinning teachers and it took her years to find one.
Her first teacher taught her the basics and pointed her in the direction of videos distributed on the internet. When she went back to Burning Man in 2001, she discovered the Temple of Poi and her life changed forever. GlitterGirl taught her the valuable Flowology Mindset, which has enabled Marilyn to take her fire spinning up to the level of fire dancing. She has flown from Wisconsin to San Francisco to be taught by Glitter Girl twice, and sees GlitterGirl every time she comes to Chicago.
Marilyn is pursuing her love of combining dancing and fire in Milwaukee where she has taught classes since 2003. In 2008 she also became HoopGirl Certified and collaborates with HoopVive, teaching hooping classes throughout the Milwaukee area. Her other interests related to fire include being a member of two troupes in Milwaukee: SnowFire and FireSirens where she dances under the name Russian Wulfgar, being the official Wisconsin Regional Contact for the Burning Man Project, and being on the Fire Safety Team for the Great Lakes Experimental Arts Lakes of Fire event.
As Vice President of the Institute for Thought non-profit, Marilyn brings her talents to the BurningSNOW Center for the Experimental Arts, a local studio that fosters the intersection of art and technology and helps bring Wisconsinites to the Burning Man event. With the SnowFire troupe, Marilyn has danced in the great Fire Conclave at the Burning Man event 4 times, using not only poi, but hoop, staff, fans and ropes. And her other passion has nothing to do with fire, but her love of animals; she is a fosterer for the Wisconsin House Rabbit Society.
Marilyn’s philosophy in bringing fire dancing to Milwaukee is embodied in the name of her school: You Are spHERE. When she teaches you fire dancing, it’s all about you - having fun, being here and nowhere else, being in the sphere, and gaining a new sphere of influence in your life. You become engrossed in your own Unisphere, where you discover new things about yourself, new talents you didn’t know you had, new ways to have fun, new ways to live your life. Essentially – You Are spHERE. She encourages you to develop your own style, use your imagination to create new ways of moving with poi, and become conscious of the great gift poi can give you.