Weird Science :: Written Posts

When Mistakes Aren't Mistakes

We all have this moment: we’re working on something new and unfamiliar and WHAM! The poi hits us.

Some days it’s a minor annoyance and some days it makes us what to tear our hair out and throw the poi down, never to pick them up again.

Even after more than 10 years of spinning, I still have the latter days. I still have those moments when something is so frustrating and feels so unattainable that I have trouble imagining it’ll ever make sense to me.

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Poi Dancing - Yucatán Flow

Life wears us down and tends to tear us away in tiny little pieces, making it hard to remember how full of wonder the world can be.

What's really awesome is when you're able to find moments of beauty through it all. If you leave yourself open to this kind of discovery, you'll find these moments of beauty appearing more often than you might think!

Several weeks ago my girlfriend and I took a vacation to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. I will totally admit that I was pretty grumpy and exhausted and wasn't even sure I wanted to go.

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Top 3 Behind the Back Poi Tricks You Should Know

I've been in the poi community long enough that I've seen several waves of tricks come through that become cool, then passe, then rediscovered all over again.

When I first started spinning, behind the back tricks were one of those tricks that were absolutely essential if you wanted to be taken seriously as a tech spinner. They've lost a lot of that sheen in the past several years but I still see people on occasion doing creative things with these tricks.

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Ridiculous Thoughts | Poi Dance Choreography by Drex

I'm absolutely heartbroken with the news yesterday of Dolores O'Riordan passing. The Cranberries were an incredibly important band for me as a teenager and probably the first band that convinced me that it was worth listening to music that had been recorded after 1973. I took some of that heartache and decided to make it into something beautiful with it. I hope you enjoy it.

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Top 10 Favorite Poi Spinners of 2017

2017 was definitely the year of string manipulations and continued our community down the road of fusing poi with juggling. I'm also pleased to see that it is the first year we've had three women in top 10 (can't wait till it's half or more!).

Chris Kelly returned to the top spot after being dethroned by Tim Goddard last year. It should be noted that they were separated by only 3 votes so if this keeps up it'll be anybody's game next year.

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How much do Flow Artists make?

A couple years ago I remember running across a blog post by the cellist Zoe Keating. In it she laid out in fairly explicit detail where her income for the past year and come from and how much it amounted to.

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Who owns tricks?

The flow arts have grown by leaps and bounds partially thanks to a culture of open source sharing--but that culture may have a darker side. I've seen many online debates over ownership of tricks and a recent conversation with a friend prompted me to reexamine my own stance on the issue.

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Mayday ATL Fire Safety Blanket Review

About a month ago I was sent a very special package!

A company in Atlanta called Mayday ATL is now making fire safety blankets that they hope will make the venerable duvetyne a thing of the past.

Their new blankets are made of aramid fibers, so they're both naturally fire resistant as well as machine-washable. In addition, they feature a trim of reflective material to make them easy to spot in the dark and embroidered personalization.

I decided to put Mayday ATL's blankets to the test in this review--see what I thought of them!

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Leave an Open Door

I spent most of the year choreographing it and I got a lot of requests for a video that was just my performance of this piece without the tutorial around it. Here it is with some minimal edits--I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed choreographing it!

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Poi Spinning Combo Choreography: 2017 Routine

I know from my surveys that without a doubt the content you all most like to see from me on these newsletters are my Poi Combo tutorials.

Well...I've been kind of holding onto a bit of a secret with these all year. And that secret is that every combo I've done since March was part of a full-length routine!

That's right. All the combos fit together like puzzle pieces and this morning I published a tutorial that shows you how to stitch them all together.

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How to Choreograph: Blocking 101

If you want to choreograph your own pieces, Blocking is an essential skill to have. This is the process of breaking songs up into smaller bits that correspond to dynamic or instrument changes.

In this video I show how this process works and choreograph a short piece as a result of that blocking. Check it out for yourself and learn this very valuable skill!

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Which prop is right for you?

I got asked in a recent Q&A how one can find the prop that they were meant to spin. The answer I gave was something I'll reckon the person asking didn't quite expect but in my experience it's the right one. Check out my thoughts on the matter here:

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Profiles in Flow: Rachael Lust

Rachael is one of my favorite hoopers out there! I'm constantly amazed not just with the creativity and dedication with which she approaches her craft, but also how deftly she balances her roles as a flow celebrity and mother.

I got a chance to sit down with Rachael last week and talk to her about her career and how she's managed to do the impossible. Check it out to get her tips on how to go viral, put together workshop tours, and manage your social media presence!

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Advanced Poi Choreography Combo: November 2017

I want to let you in on a little secret: tech and flow are not opposites.

Lots of people think they are because they decided to pursue one over the other, but there's no reason they can't live together in harmony.

Take my last combo for the month of November! Here you'll find rapid transitions between pattern-based tech poi tricks as well as beautiful jumps and pirouettes. It's the best of both worlds!

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5 Poi Tricks Every Beginner Should Learn

I remember one of the biggest hurdles when I started spinning poi: there are SO many tricks to learn.

How do I know which ones to focus on?

I didn't have a very structured learning environment, so what I learned was a hodgepodge of what looked cool, what my friends told me I should learn, and what tutorials I could find online.

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Speevers Super Soky Poi

Speevers is a juggling company based out of Israel that is now making LED and practice poi. They sent me a set of their Super Soky poi to review, including their new Jupiter ball LED heads.

The good news: I really dig the twist they've put on sock poi. They're just as fun to use during the day as they are at night.

The bad news: They're incredibly hard and may not be the best set to start out with.

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Should the Flow Arts go Mainstream?

Every so often I see someone online saying that poi or the flow arts are "the next big thing."

I can't tell you whether or not this is true, but it does leave me wondering if that's a thing we want to have happen.

Many love the idea of millionaire spinners or to see poi in the Olympics or other mainstream venue. Others don't want the ills of the outside world to intrude on our cozy pocket of humanity.

In this week's video, I consider both sides of the debate and share my own thoughts on this question.

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November Poi Flow

It's been ages since I've shared a flow video and I wanted to show off some of the dance technique I've been honing these past couple months.

The beautiful fall colors here in DC gave me a moment of inspiration, so please check out my November flow video. Let me know if the dance work has been paying off!


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Beginner Poi Dancing Combo: Choreography tutorial for November 2017

If there's one thing I wish I could do better with my flow, it's this: dancing with my poi. Learning to get all the tricks is one challenge but moving with them is entirely a different one.

This month I set down a challenge with my poi combo tutorial: it had to be more about moving your body than the poi. Not only do I think I succeeded, but I'm also happy to report that this combo requires only 3 poi moves.

That's not a typo: you only need 3 tricks to do this combo and they're all beginner level tricks.

Give this combo a try and let me know what you think of it!

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Tips on Starting an Etsy Shop with Olive Pizzo of Harmonic Threads

Starting up a new feature through my YouTube and now a new Soundcloud account: Profiles in Flow. Every month, I'm going to interview a Flow Arts entrepreneur about how they got started, the challenges they've faced, and their tips for creating successful businesses.

This first episode features Olive Marie from Harmonic Threads. In this hour-long interview we talk about how Harmonic Threads got its start, how its grown, the stresses of entrepreneurship, and her tips for people starting out. If you've ever wanted to start an Etsy business, this is great advice to help you! 

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What are the best LED poi handles? (2017 buyers guide)

In the past few years, LED handles have grown as a market for prop makers driven by demand from poi spinners learning gunslingers as well as juggling. Today, I’m going to test four different options for LED handles to see how they stack up and which ones are the best fit for you.

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October 2017 Poi Dance Combo

Patterns are hard to remember, let alone where to transition out of them. Not to mention it's super easy to get lost as you're doing them. Have no fear, fam...I got you!

I've been doing monthly poi combo videos for most of the year but I haven't done an advanced combo since the spring. I wanted to throw a bone to those of you who've been learning the techier stuff in my 1-minute tutorials.

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How long should poi tethers be?

It's one of the most common questions that poi spinners have when they begin their spinning careers--how long should your poi be? There's an awful lot of caveats when it comes to answering this question, but here is the best I can do.

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Review: Ovo Handles from Lanternsmith

Lanternsmith revolutionized the poi handle game several years ago with the introduction of their Pomgrips. Now they've just released second generation poms as well as introducing a new handle form factor they're referring to as Ovo handles. These are specifically meant to be heavier and include more internal room than the Pomgrips. What do I think of these new handles? Click below to find out!

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August Poi Combo've got a few tricks under your belt. Inevitably the question comes up of how you put those tricks together into combos and choreography.

Fam...I got you!

Every month I post a new poi combo that uses tricks that I've covered in my 1-minute tutorial series. This month that combo is for intermediate level spinners!

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