5 Poi Spinners to Watch in 2013

While I was collecting votes for the Top 10 Poi Spinners of 2012 effort, it quickly dawned on me that some of the most interesting people I was discovering as part of that process were not going to make the top 10, so I thought it appropriate to highlight some of my favorites who seem poised on the edge of breaking into the mainstream in 2012 and possibly climbing the list by the end of the year if they make good on the promise they’ve shown in the past year. In no particular order, here are 5 spinners that are likely to be making big contributions to the world of poi in 2013:

Jonathan “Daddy” Alvarez

I first met Jon on a rooftop in Brooklyn years ago during a farewell party for two of my dearest friends in the world. Long before anybody called him “Daddy”, the then-long haired Jonathan already was wowing his peers with his clean technique and mastery of difficult poi concepts. Having now moved to the Vulcan, Daddy is applying himself to the study of his art in ways that are both inspiring and fascinating. His current explorations include a nifty hybrid of new and old school contact poi with an equal measure of shotguns from glowsticking thrown in for good measure. Plus which, the kid’s throws are incredible!

Tim Goddard

Tim has been slowly building a cult following with his Timmehtek videos that seemingly always display a new and fascinating idea that no one’s ever thought of. A huge catalyst behind this year’s craze for horizontal body tracers mixed with standard wall-plane spinning, I’ve caught myself more than a few times in the past year wondering “How DID he come up with that?” If we can somehow get him over to the States to hit the fire festival circuit this year (hint hint ;), I think we’ll see an awesome cross-pollenation between Tim and so many of the American spinners he’s been inspiring.

Motofumi “KiM” Kimura

While clearly inspired by Cyrille and PoiBoi’s more advanced contact poi explorations, KiM has been developing a style all his own. While guilty of one of my personal pet peeves when it comes to contact poi (dropping on the floor is the laziest way to end a trick ever), the contact rolls KiM has been discovering rival his inspirations in their originality and most importantly, difficulty. As his recent work suggests, KiM is no slouch when it comes to traditional wall plane spinning and partner poi, either.

Justin Warren and Christina Koller

These two seemingly came from nowhere when they presented a piece at Summer Wildfire’s Performance Class that quickly became one of the highlights of the festival. They then pulled an even more impressive piece out of their back pockets at the NYC Flow Show in December--demonstrating a gorgeous partner poi piece in which every single meshing entry was done blind (including partner corkscrews--seriously?). After a few whispers that they must be tracking each other’s shadows to manage the feat, they then demonstrated some of the more difficult entries at the cast party after opening night...on fire...with Christina wearing a blindfold. Nobody should be that good. If they can keep up their astonishing practice ethic, they will own the partner poi scene for the next few years. I'm here to tell you the hype is justified...they are that good.

Dima Holmsky

* Updated 2/10/2013

Whoops...so the video I'd originally posted on here was of a Russian poi spinner named Dima, but not Dima Holmsky. Apparently they have a couple Dimas over there ;) Next year if I highlight a Russian spinner I'll do my diligence and get a Google translate of the description of a video to avoid cases such as this :-P

At any rate, in addition to being insanely young for how gifted a spinner he is, Dima shows off a clarity of technique here that I rarely see any more. The best spinners have a habit of making their moves seem so logical in the context of their spin you come to wonder how the move could have evolved any other way. Let's hope Dima can get access to a camera this year so we can see how he's doing now!

Special mention:

These guys almost made the list, but I still wanted to give them a shout out :)

Kory San

Kory has been consistently one of the most underrated contributors to the Tech Poi Group on Facebook. He has the spirit of a mathematician or scientist and demands the utmost rigor out of descriptions of tricks and frameworks, going so far as to pursue these definitions even as the inventors of them do their best to obfuscate the fact that they haven’t thought through their definitions terribly well in the first place. Years from now when beginners learn coherent definitions for tangles, inversions, and other controversial topics from the past year, they’ll have Kory to thank for untangling the dogma surrounding these tricks and ensuring that we have a clear framework to work from.

Gina McGrath

I had the great privilege to work with Gina as part of The Foreways Project as we got the piece we’d written the previous Christmas ready for the stage. Gina was pinch-hitting for Jen Swanson, who’d been called away on family business, and quickly revealed herself to be a poi spinner of equal talent and spirit, rapidly becoming an active agent in the development process and making critical contributions to the overall piece. Unfair as it seems, Cincinnati is possessed of not one but two top-level female poi spinning talents--Gina definitely shows a huge influence from her close friend Kate on her sleeve, but has an inspiring list of her own original contributions to the poi world to bring to bear. Now if only she’ll make a video to show herself off to the rest of the world ;)


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