Weird Science :: Tutorials

Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Tuck Turns 2

I've touched on this topic before, but I wanted to explore it in greater depth by applying it to all the different timing and direction combinations. Tuck turns are a great way to add an additional visual dynamic to reel turns--I highly recommend adding them to your repertoire!

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Extensions

One of those bad habits that nearly all of us develop in our first year of spinning poi is the tendency to focus the poi's movement on the hand and wrist such that when we begin to play with flowers and the like, it becomes difficult to think of the poi being an extension of the hand rather than controlled by it. Here are a series of exercises to being with this type of movement. Most 2D tech poi is highly reliant on the mobility of the arms, so the sooner one trains themselves out of folding the arms against he body, the better!

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Meltdowns

Meltdowns are a great combination of behind the back (BTB) technique and reel turns that look cool as hell. Here's how you can build up to them piece by piece.

 

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Atomic Weave

Atomic weaves have a very intimidating name, but there are ways to perform them that won't break your brain. Here is one such weave that feels midway between a split-time thread the needle and a buzzsaw weave.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Behind the Head

Behind the head tricks come in a couple flavors: those that are standard tricks with a behind the head flavor and those that are only meant to be behind the head. Here is a series of drills that start to build up this capability and a couple moves to begin practicing once they begin to feel normal. Lots of great stuff that comes out of this!

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Thread the Needle Turns

So you've learned your thread-the-needles, now what can you do with them? If you want to get a little mobility with this move, this is a good way to learn how to turn with it that gives it a good visual impact and utilizes some of the lessons we learned from crossers.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: What are planes? (Where to start with poi part 3)

In this installment: planes! What are they, why are we so particular about them, and what do you need to know about them to start spinning? Planes are a concept we borrow from geometry to describe how a poi rotates in relation to our bodies and how closely we adhere to that relationship. For added fun, each plane has two sides, called "plane facing" that you have to keep track of when you turn because every time your body changes the side of the plane its on, the poi will seem to have changed the direction it's rotating in.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Where to Start With Poi part 2

In this video: choosing head weight, tether length and type, and handle weight. I got some great feedback from the last video and it led to this--a deeper exploration of each of the poi components and the options that are available for them.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Where to Start With Poi part 1

Never picked up a set of poi before? This is the video for you! This is a video to familiarize you with the hardware and how it can be held. No matter what set of poi you pick up, this tutorial should help you get to know this tool and how you interact with it.

 

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Buzzsaw Fountains

Buzzsaw fountains were one of my favorite challenges in my first year of spinning poi and it wasn't until much later that I realized they were creating some of the basic skills necessary to get into inversions and barrel rolls later. Here is how you can practice this type of movement and get set up inside moves.

 

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Footwork in turns

Figured out basic turns but still finding they feel awkward? The problem might be in your feet! This is one of those problems that many of us who lack a movement background tend to encounter as we engage with poi spinning--our bodies aren't used to moving at all, let alone in a way that comes off as graceful. Compounding the problem, it feels as though our arms should be leading the way through our turns, but this seldom is good for us either aesthetically or physically.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Spiral Wraps

Spiral wraps are a great crowd pleaser and they aren't that terribly difficult to learn. Here are two approaches to go about it so you can learn both spiral wraps that go around both hands as well as the glowstringer-inspired approach where both wrap around the same hand.

 

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Crossers (redo)

I uploaded a crosser tutorial several months ago, but both the audio and video quality were quite sub-par. I had a gap in my tutorial shooting schedule, so I decided to do a better quality video and hope it's of more use in the long run than the other one was :)

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Behind the Back Waistwraps

Following up from last week's video on waistwraps, here is how you can accomplish waist wraps behind the back. It helps to have the behind the back weave under your belt, but if you've got that piece of the puzzle, this isn't that big a leap.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Waistwraps, part 1

This week we're going to talk about waistwraps, which are a way of adapting three-beat weaves into a wall plane orientation. They require having your turns in both directions down, but the trick is that you'll always be turning across your body in the same direction so that you stay facing the audience.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Tuck Turns

If you've got your basic reel turns down, tuck turns are an easy next step that can add an additional level of visual immediacy to your turns. They're also the first example many of us encounter of a type of movement that plays a huge part in later moves called body tracing.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: The Timing and Direction Game

Here's a fun game I came up with the other day to help solidify one's command of timing and direction: put on your favorite piece of music and alternate 8-counts. On the odd 8-counts, you do whatever moves in that timing and direction suit you and on the even 8-counts you freeze in place and maintain timing and direction no matter where your hands land. Fun challenge!

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Warmups

 It was requested over a year ago, but here is a video of some good ways to warm up and condition oneself before spinning. A lot of this is full-body intensive but the shoulder exercise at the end really will help develop the ability to perform flowers for long periods without fatigue.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Giants

Giants are one of those moves that take you out of keeping your hands still and your poi moving and set you up for extensions and flowers, which are essential to many intermediate moves. Here are a few basic exercises that can help these moves make a little more sense. That and they take up quite a lot of room, so they look really cool :)

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: The Archer Weave

The archer weave is a fun embellishment for the three-beat weave that leads directly into body tracing and a number of other fun techniques. When I first tried to learn it, I was baffled at how it could work. Here is an easy way to break it down so that you can see what makes this move tick.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Split-Time Thread the Needle

While on the surface not terribly different from a thread the needle in same time, a thread the needle in split-time (also called split-time opposites) produces a small problem for the performer in that it doesn't present a dominant hand until one hand is crossed over the other. Thus, to perform this move successfully is to switch between positions in which the hands are crossed over each other rather than simply on top of each other as in same time.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: Wraps

Wraps are a nifty tool for switching directions and all-around looking cool that poi borrows from the glowsticking and nunchukus worlds. Here are some basics as to how they can be performed and what they can be wrapped around to create nifty effects your audience will dig!

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: The stall workout part 2

Part 2 of the stall workout series! This time we'll be going through all the antispin stalls, which wind up being different because the stall goes through your body core rather than around it.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: The stall workout part 1

Having problems getting your stalls down? Here's the first part of a workout, that if you can master it will give you access to nearly any stall you could possibly want to play with. It bears some resemblance to Yuta's 8 stall theory but applies to every timing and direction combination.

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Basic Poi Dancing Tutorial: 5-beat weaves

5-beat weaves are an occasionally-helpful tool to add to your weave belt but they do involve retraining your arms somewhat how to perform a weave. Here's a step-by-step of how you can do this.

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