How to handle creative plateaus

You’ve been rocking out your prop for weeks or even months. You’ve picked up so many tricks that amaze both you and your friends. You’ve worked hard and have seen so many results from that effort.

But then it all comes to a grinding halt.

Suddenly practice feels like a slog--hard work with little benefit seen. You either can’t find any new tricks you want to learn or those you do seem maddeningly out of reach. Your passion and energy are starting to can be only one thing. You’ve hit the dreaded plateau!

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When am I ready to spin fire?

You’ve seen those rock stars out on the burn field, dancing with fire like they were born to it. You’ve gotten ahold of your own tool and you’ve had your first lesson--now the important question: when are you ready to spin fire?

For so many of us, the fire is the hook that draws us in. It is a primal element that makes us stand up and go: Wow, I want to do that! Many of us, when we first light up, want to look like the people who inspired us--spinning effortlessly and beautifully to an adoring crowd.

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Keeping your practice on track with Proxy Goals

“If you want to become a great writer, write every day.”

The origins of this quote are so deeply shrouded in the past for me that I can’t remember where I first heard it. A cursory search suggests that Stephen King may be the source of it, but there’s no way for me to be sure that’s where I first heard it.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Plane Control

I've done a lot of tutorials now on moves for beginners, but this is something that I think is equally if not more important: developing plane control. You'll never learn a move that doesn't require it and there will never come a time when you don't need to practice them. Here are three drills to help you get down your plane control and make your tricks that much prettier.

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Ronan practice session

For a large portion of the past year, I've had a massive poi mad-on for technique like Ronan McLoughlin's. He's from Cork, Ireland and has one of the most original poi spinning styles I've ever seen. Unlike most poi spinners (myself included), Ronan centers his style around stopping the momentum of the poi rather than keeping it moving, resulting in a dizzying array of stalls, pendulums, and contact work that always leaves me scratching my head.

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Flow Practice 5/17/09

Out in Malcolm X Park, I wanted to practice integrating a couple things I'd been playing with into normal flow to see what would happen. These items include the stall patterns I've been working with lately like 3D stalls (with some Yuta-style patterns), and improving my stance and footwork so my lower body is less wooden when I perform. For reasons I can't explain I seem to be blowing on something very hard every few seconds and for the life of me I can't recall why. Hopefully this vid gets flamed less than the last time I posted a video of myself playing with flow.

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Poi Tutorial: Arm warmups--same direction

Here's a slightly late follow-up on my promise for a tutorial that shows the same arm warmups I posted last week, but this time rendered in same direction. Also a practical application of thinking of these movements in terms of the junction points between forward and reverse in turns.

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Poi Tutorials: Arm Warmups--Opposites

A student asked me to post online the arm warmups I have people do at the beginning of every class, so I've taken their advice and posted a tutorial on it here on YouTube. Due to limitations in the length of videos, this covers only two direction combinations: opposites split-time and opposites same-time. I'll be adding same direction same-time and same direction split-time soon. Enjoy!

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