10 Moves Every Poi Dancer Should Know

For those of you investigating adding or expanding on your poi dancing, here’s a fun little top 10 brought to you by GlitterGirl designed to encourage your inner dancer to flow freely. Please note, these ideas are specifically geared towards poi dancers who wish to move with the music and articulate the experience of poi expression through dance. Here are GlitterGirl’s Top 10 Moves Every Poi Dancer Should Know (in no particular order):

  • Barrel Roll: (in spin example at 3:07 and antispin example at 1:27 Fire Dancing Lessons San Franciscoin this video taken 12/2007 and wow it’ fun seeing the old technique or lack thereof! )This pattern allows for so many possibilities with turning flowers on the front plane, it is a must have in every poi dancers arsenal. Please note, this barrel roll is like the body turning over a barrel, not what is commonly used for poi inversions.
  • Reels: (same direction turn around example at 0:26 in this video) Where reels lack in technical pop, their simplicity compensates more than enough by allowing the body of the artist to move more easily without the risk of running into the poi themselves.
  • Under the Leg moves with kicks: (opposite direction example at about 2:26 in this video) A technician might really appreciate the fluidity of a poi artist doing under the leg movements without lifting the leg, yet a dancer might find a lot more expression in the possibilities created when one does lift the leg while performing under the leg patterns, offering an array of kick opportunities.
  • Stalls: Other than allowing for great direction changes, stalls can create a visual staccato that works well in lots of electronic music performances.
  • Corkscrew and interesting variants: (antispin 4 beat shortly after 2:50 in this video) By nature of the way a corkscrew moves, the pattern itself makes it easy for a performer to address a U shaped audience and even more so, a crowd situated in the round. Dancers will want this move and lots of variants in their repertoire.
  • Holding the poi: (2:09 in this video) While wearing gloves certainly presents challenges to artists who prefer to feel every minute sensation generated by the shift of the poi in their hands, wearing gloves present a tremendous advantage for dancers who want to hold their poi and move around freely. Not only does this trick offer the dancer freedom of motion with their body unencumbered by the poi themselves, holding the fire itself is a crowd pleaser as well.
  • Giant/0 Petal Side Plane Flower turn around: (same direction example at 1:08 in this video) This move allows the artist the ability to turn, extend the arms and traverse space — all critical dance skills.
  • Weave Turn Around: (1:30 in this video) Versatile, fun, and likely to get a crowd response while allowing dancers to move through space, this beginner move is a must have for dancers.
  • Chasing the Sun Turn Arounds in Same and Split Direction: (same direction turn around example at 0:26 in this video and opposite direction turn around at 0:36 in this videoFor ease of turning combined with the potential for open and flexible body movements during the execution of these moves, the chasing the sun pattern in same and opposite directions both make my top 10.
  • Something uniquely your own: This should be some move or pattern which you dance with in a way that uniquely expresses your dance style. For me, one would be the “funky chicken” as Cary calls it – a front to back reel with a hip hop movement and knees and feet that move in and out (about 5 seconds into this video). Find your inner funky chicken and let it out to play.

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