5 Ways to Spot Worked Wicks & 19 Ways to Gain Control with your Prop


Today’s post is about two different questions that came up recently on Facebook and GlitterGirl’s answers to them:

Question: When are wicks too worked to be safe?

Answer: In all honesty, it depends on the context. If you have to do a tool inspection, it’s 100% up to the standards of the fire marshal inspecting the tool, which even in the same fire department, can vary wildly. I’ve seen one fire marshal let something go that another wouldn’t. I’ve even seen the same fire marshal treat the same thing on two different props differently.

If it helps any, here are things I don’t think are safe if you’re performing, even if you don’t have to do a safety check with a fire marshal. Please note, the following applies in the context of a performance, not necessarily when you’re killing your wicks intentionally at a jam or in a practice where, presumably, you’d have someone there to catch the flying fire.

  1. wicks that are literally falling off the prop
  2. broken attachment points (say, a cable spoke on a hoop that has some broken cables)
  3. too much wicking that is white and burned away
  4. when there are more frayed strings than the main mass of the wick
  5. when cutting off said frayed strings actually lessens the integrity of the wick itself.

For more input on the subject, consult the Fire safety discussion group on Facebook.


Question: Does anyone have any advice on how to gain skill in controlling your flow toy? One thing that separates great flow-ers from top tier flow-ers is effortless CONTROL. I want that.

Answer: Here are 19 ways to gain more control with your prop.

  1. Practice and drills of course.
  2. What should happen first is an assessment of what aspect of control you most lack so that you can design the drills to focus on your weakness. So if it’s plane control with your left arm in one direction on a particular plane, you’re drilling that rather than something else that doesn’t need it as much.
  3. Assess all/any underlying patterns in body posture. Is it a muscle weakness? I’ve found that to be true for me and used cross training to improve my control quite a bit.
  4. Develop your core.
  5. Develop your stance so you are spinning in connection with your center and your energy flows from your center to the tip of your prop, radiating from there.20140922-065913.jpg
  6. Focus on subtlety.
  7. Dive deeper. Hone in. Sometimes you have to stop practicing other things so you can get good at one thing. This means you may have less span of moves overall so that you have cleaner moves, if it’s about specific moves. But if it’s about the prop control itself … more the expression of it. . .get out something you love to flow to and flow. Lots.
  8. Record video and analyze it. Look at it right after you executed it so you can remember how you felt while things you liked were happening.
  9. Change your props and use others that will develop what you need.
    1. If you spin poi, get a penny on a string and practice planes with it.
    2. Use unweighted poi and practice tosses.
  10. Intentionally give yourself a handicap with your prop so you can overcome it and develop greater dexterity through it.
  11. Believe. Visualize your success.
  12. Study others who have mastery and soak it in. Watch. Mimic.
  13. Let go of expectation of what control will look like and when you will have it.
  14. Be one with the prop and allow it to lead the dance; only when you allow it to have it’s own control shall you be in complete union with it.
  15. Push your limits. Try things that are hard.
  16. Drill things that are boring.
  17. Blindfold yourself and record a video. How did it look to see you do what you couldn’t see?
  18. Practice. Critique. Repeat.
  19. Have fun so you stay inspired to come back to the matt and try again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. . .

If you’re ready for fire safety lessons via private instruction, want to try Zero to Fire in 4 Hours!, want to join our next beginner class or have other questions, contact GlitterGirl directly or subscribe to our newsletter for mailbox delivery of this and other articles written by Temple of Poi founder and visionary, GlitterGirl, who has been a full time flow arts coach and instructor since 2002. If you seek professional guidance associated with creating a safe performance, obtaining a permit in San Francisco or other personalized coaching, contact GlitterGirl directly for a free consultation (GlitterGirl <that pretty little ‘at’ symbol> TempleOfPoi <daaaaaaaught> com).

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