When the Top 10 list launched in 2012, it was intended to be a way to celebrate the work of poi spinners all over the world, a method for acknowledging those who'd made an impact in the community. Since then I've come to think of it just as much as a historical document or time capsule of what the poi spinning community was like each year.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to have my path cross a gentleman whose work in the double staff world has been super inspiring to me in the past year. Casey Houle (JaFfi Tech on YouTube) and I ran around LA for a day trading ideas and filming what came out of it. Fun to work with a like mind--check out what we came up with :)
Zan Moore is one of the most talented and prolific spinners leading into the social media era of the Flow Arts. He has been a performer, teacher, festival organizer, and driver of ideas and information. In this interview, he shares the stories of his career milestones, how his outlook has changed over the years, and why the flow arts needs dedicated hobbyists.
Vulcan Tech Gospel is one of the most popular frameworks for understanding prop movement and transitions between tricks. It was created by residents of the Vulcan Lofts in Oakland, CA and has gone on to inspire countless studies, works of art, and even a smart phone app! In an effort to demystify this approach to studying prop movement, I put together this video that includes some awesome computer simulations and visual aids. Please note: this video only just scratches the surface of what's possible!
The flow arts community has seen an explosion in popularity in within the past 5 years and perhaps no metric is more telling of this expansion than the proliferation of festivals devoted to spinning and fire arts. As recently as 5 years ago, there were only 4 options to attend in the United States and this year there were nearly 50. As this aspect of our culture has continued to proliferate, however, it has generated with it a great deal of controversy as to what type of compensation those who contribute to it are entitled to.
Today's tutorial is on one of the less-performed antibrids, but still a personal favorite of mine: pendulum vs cateye. It's a helpful one to know because it includes transition points to go back and forth between isolation vs cateye, pendulum vs triquetra, and CAP vs pendulum--next week I'll cover the theory behind some of the transitions I use with these moves!
Profiles in Poi begins its 3rd season with Chris Kelly! Hailing from Eugene, OR, Chris made an explosive debut on the scene a couple years ago by being on the vanguard of the 3 poi and poi juggling movement. Here, he discusses how he entered the flow arts, the genesis of his company and Team Techris, and where he sees the future of the flow arts headed.
For the past three years, I've been collecting statistics every six months on the most popular poi channels I'm aware of to gauge interest and overall industry health. Last year, I expanded this survey to include Facebook likes and this year it's expanded to include Instagram followers as well. Overall, the industry picture is good with overall subscribers and views up since the same time last year.
So clearly it's been two months now since I sent my last newsletter out--my apologies, my travels kept me much busier than I had hoped but I will try and be better about staying in touch from here on out! Here's what's new in my world:
This morning, I’ve seen a whole lot of my friends linking to this article about the amount of money that YouTube stars make. The general consensus has been that many of them are in the wrong line of work and that riches and stardom are simply a clever YouTube channel away.
Six months ago I started up a little experiment, trying to crowdfund resources from the community to assist me in making my many video projects. Between tech blogs, tutorials, double staff tech blogs and tutorials, Profiles in Poi, The Month in Flow, Slow Mo Monday, and Stop Drop and Spins, I spend a whole lot of my time creating these video projects for the wider world.
Something a little different...I've had a pretty rough winter and wanted to put it into movement. This is a piece I choreographed back in January.
Sadly, YouTube has become an absolute shit-show if you're using any kind of music at all in your videos, so the original audio for this song was blocked on it. Fortunately, I can put whatever audio I want behind video on my own site, so enjoy! :)
For two years now, FLAME Festival has offered a unique experience inside the flow/fire festival world in that we allow our attendees to help us determine our lineup. Last year was our first time trying out this experiment and we learned a lot from doing it--a lot of what worked and a lot of what didn’t work. This year, in an effort to improve upon the system we created last year we set out to take many of those lessons learned and apply them to voting and teacher selection to do our best to assemble the best festival the Southeastern United States has ever seen.
These have been a long-time coming! Three years ago, my friend Memory suggested I put some of the poi patterns I'd been creating in my simulators on a t-shirt. At one point, I nearly put one design out but found the printing quality wasn't up to my standards. Then, last month I put out four images that I quite enjoyed on both my Facebook and my Instagram, asking my followers to vote on their favorites.
In the past couple months I've been posting extended versions of my Profiles in Poi interviews through the DrexFactor store. These have included longer versions of the interviews as well as the uncut b-roll of each artist spinning that I edit in to each interview. Today I've added the extras for Justin Warren and Christina Koller, so that each and every interview I did in 2014 is available for download.
I hope those of you who live in the Northern states have been keeping warm this winter--the cold weather definitely puts a cramp in practicing and rehearsing. With Spring hopefully around the corner, thoughts will be turning toward fire festivals and good times with friends. Here are some highlights of this month as we look to the next!
Two weeks ago marked a very auspicious anniversary for me--I filmed and published my 400th tech blog! When I published my very first tech blog on September 8, 2008, I could scarcely have imagined that six years and some change later that it would have grown into the institution that it has. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that despite offering a host of other content and trying to experiment with the form that my tech blog was and still is the cornerstone of my offerings to the poi world.
It’s a brand new year and I’m trying to keep better in touch with my customers as well as people in the broader flow community, so I’m launching this monthly newsletter to keep you in the loop on the things I’m working on as well as opportunities to connect with the wider flow arts world. This month I’ve got an exciting new resource, an inspiring interview, and information on which festivals you can find me at.
This year 11 people made the top 10 favorites video due to a tie. I've been asked to put together a comprehensive breakdown of how the votes came out this year as well as comparing them to the votes from last year. So first and foremost, let's see who made the list this year:
Four months ago, Jon Alvarez asked a seemingly innocuous question on the Poi Chat forum on Facebook that led me to one of the most mammoth undertakings of my adult life: has anybody set down definitions of all the poi moves in one place? The answer is sadly no, but it got me thinking about why that answer was no...beyond whether someone had set up a dictionary or encyclopedia, to the very heart of how we define poi tricks and discuss them online.