7 Layer Dip: Size (Layer 3)

Posted on June 17, 2013 by


Poi Lessons San FranciscoAs we continue our exploration into the 7 Layer Dip, we’ll begin focusing on the size layer of the dip. As we already discussed when talking about the height layer of the dip, contrast is really a key piece of performance. Tony Robbins talks about this in his TED talk presentation about the 6 human needs we have. If you listen to the presentation at about 11 minutes in he begins talking about our needs. The first thing he mentions is we need certainty. In the context of performance, for example, everyone wants to know they are both going to be safe as well as being entertained. Depending on how aware the audience is will determine how much the audience expects in terms of skill level of the moves themselves. For example, less educated audiences will be far more impressed with a poi artist doing a buzzsaw and more educated audiences will find CAPS or Hybrids more potent. So when we’re creating a performance, we want to create a certain amount of predictable and reliable movement that gives the audience a sense of certainty about what is coming next.

Tony goes on to say, “If you got totally certain… if you know what’s going to happen, how it’s going to happen, and when it’s going to happen, what would you feel? Bored out of your mind! So God, in her infinite wisdom gave us a second human needs, which is uncertainty.”

In the context of performance, this shows up as increasing variation in your spinning. As much as height creates variation, size also does that. (Regardless of what anyone’s told you, size does matter. 😉

Here’s a few things to consider related to size in performance:

  • First there is the size of the poi (hoop, staff, fan, etc.) movement. For example, when doing a weave — be it a 2 beat, 3 beat, 5 beat, 7 beat, isolated, polyrhythmic or any other variation you can think of — there are various points in the movement when you can add an extension of the poi. By doing this, you’re taking your same weave (whichever one you’re doing) and adding a new visual element to it and allowing it to become a visually different movement even though no new skills were introduced. Imagine the difference, visually, between watching someone performing the weave in regular size and then, for contrast, making it bigger.
  • Second there is the size of the tools. This is really very specific to poi since there are two or more tools being used and poi somewhat uniquely has the ability to change in size on the fly. If you wrap the poi up on your hand and make it shorter, suddenly, you have a different aesthetic for the audience while also creating different possibilities in terms of positioning (i.e., inside planes) than you could have with longer poi.
  • Third, there is the size of the tools relative to each other. Again, this is very unique to poi because not only can you make your poi shorter on demand, you can do so asymmetrically. This adds a whole new way of playing with the tools because the same move now has a very different visual impact.
  • Fourth, there is asymmetric application of extensions. Imagine doing a weave or a pinwheel where only one arm does an extension. Take that �step further and you can apply asymmetric size of tools and asymmetric application of the extension to create an even broader range of visual possibilities.