Weird Science :: Written Posts

Vector graphics of poi patterns

As I've played around with my soft and hard transition ideas, I've found it helpful to move around the hand and poi paths of some popular moves in Illustrator and other graphics editing programs, but my technique for doing so has left a lot to be desired. Essentially, I've been putting the proper variables into an online spirograph program (located at and mirrored below), taking a screencapture of the result, and importing it into Illustrator using the livetrace function.

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Vesica Piscis charts

Whoops! I just rewatched my video on vesica piscis soft transitions and realized I'd promised to post the charts I'd used to work through these transitions and never did. Here they are, along with the original video--they depict a series of soft transitions from cateyes to triquetras and vice versa in which the overlap in hand paths between the triquetras resembles the vesica piscis pattern sometimes seen in sacred geometry. Enjoy!

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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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I Believe/The Disorder of Things

This weekend comes the fruit of weeks worth of labor: my glowspinning troupe, Revolutionary Motion is performing at Contradiction Dance's spring concert. Featuring some of my favorite local spinners: Surprise, E6, Mia, and Maddy, we've worked up a piece incorporating elements of modern dance and hip hop with our tools and we're stoked to be performing this piece in such a fantastic setting.

If you live in the Baltimore/Washington area, please consider attending. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

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And now for something more personal...

We interrupt your regularly scheduled poi program to bring you a special bulletin:

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The first Home of Poi collaboration vid!

Back in the day, used to frequently feature videos that edited together footage of many glowstickers into one fabulous vid that showed off the talents of many people all at the same time. Recently, the challenge went up on the Home of Poi forums to put together a similar collaboration vid between many of the spinners on the forums. Ten fantastic poi spinners answered the call and Poiboi edited them all together.

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Pineapple Pete and G: the Reloaded sessions

Things have been busy down under! If you're not familiar with Aussie poi auteur Pineapple Pete, you should give a look to this fascinating video from a couple years ago showing off some of his experiments at the "Church of Poi".

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Free Poi Class!

The studio I teach at has moved from Takoma Park to Silver Spring and we're celebrating the move by offering a week of free classes, including poi!

This is a great opportunity for rote beginners to get free instruction to start them on the road to the playful and challenging world of object manipulation. If you've been wanting to learn or have learned only a couple tricks and would like to learn more, this is the perfect chance!

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A few updates

Hey, all!

Those of you who've been crusing through here the last couple days have probably noticed the addition of a few items. After Sphericulism went down and then returned, I grabbed a copy of Rev's Manifesto so I could continue to read and be confused by it and a few recent queries from friends for copies of Cyrille's Geometry document from last year, I stuck up copies of both and added a couple other writing on poi theory that I thought kicked ass or that had influenced me a lot. Hopefully in the future I'll be adding additional documents into this section (Charlie's 9-square Theory perhaps?). If you've got a suggestion, hit the contact box and tell me what you'd like to see mirrored here.

Also, I added a rating feature to my videos and blog entries. There's really no great reason for that aside from the fact that I'm curious what people are digging on. Thanks to all the folks who've used this site since it launched a couple months ago. It's nice to have a home and to have people visit you there :)


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Awesome diagonal planes tutorial

Over the weekend, Zan posted an excellent tutorial video on diagonal planes, those bizarre bits of techery that came out of EJC this past summer. Zan breaks it down in such a way that it'll help you figure out how to keep your planes straight, some very basic diagonal transitions, and how to execute some pretty mean-looking turns with them. If this stuff intrigues you like it does, me give this vid a gander:

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Bring on the Blogs!

Times are getting exciting for those of us who love poi blogs: there are two new video blogs in town that I'm all about. First up is an Israeli poi spinner who seems to be taking inspiration in equal parts from both the European school of float/pendulum/contact poi spinning as well as the American unit circle schools of thought to create some of the cleanest technique I've yet seen (read: yes, I'm totally jealous of this guy's form ;). PoiBoi's latest blog can be found below. I highly recommend visiting him on YouTube at and seeing his other vids.

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Poi symmetry: why my hybrid theory is full of holes, Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about the many holes that had been poked in the theory of hybrid construction I posted a few weeks ago, among which are its incompatibility with any timings other than split-time or same time and the fact that it can't account for a static spin versus extension hybrid. Thus begs the question of how exactly we can define hybrids in a way that is extensible (ie, that works at any size shape we can image).

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Poi symmetry: why my hybrid theory is full of holes, Part 1

A couple weeks ago I posted a video conjecturing a new framework for understanding how poi hybrids are constructed--namely that they are examples of poi motion retaining multiple combinations of timing and direction. I've had a couple holes in this theory pointed out to me and I've come to see additional holes myself, so I'm putting together a breakdown of why my theory was flawed as well as laying the groundwork for a new theory based both upon this feedback and my own explorations.

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Musings on hybrids and soon to move

So I know there's been comparatively few updates recently and this has been especially frustrating given that some updates have disappeared in the past couple days as I've tried to work out why my blogger account has stopped feeding videos to my iTunes feed.

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Things that make you go HOLY #$&@ing SHIT!!!

If you're not familiar with Mel, the ubertechy spinner from Russia who exploded onto the scene about four months ago with his "Me and my shadow" video post, you damned well should be. At 20, he's a more accomplished poi spinner than most people I know in their mid-to-late 20's are.

Now he's posted a couple flow videos and they are a treat to behold. This is his performance at the recent Fires Festival and it features some of the most beautiful tech/flow integrations I've seen this side of Alien Jon or Zan.

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Anatomy of a poi intensive

After a long weekend of moving, I managed to get an hour and a half to focus intensely on some poi running up to Burning Man. Here is the breakdown of what turned out to be one of the best practices I've had in a long time:

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Spherical or plane-bent CAPs?

The past few weeks in my video blog, I've played with the concept of taking our current understanding of elliptical CAPs and translating them into 3-D shapes. I dubbed the concept "spherical CAPs" but I'm now starting to question if it's either accurate or actually descriptive of the concept. Here's why:

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Vulcan Tech Blog: objects in flight

Not as heavy on poi, but still hella fun to watch. Noel, Greg, and Jordan transferring balls in square patterns is probably my favorite moment of this video.
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The pain and joys of airwraps

I have a confession to make: I never learned airwraps when I began my journey into poi. It started out as just kind of an embarrassing secret I hoped nobody would ever notice and then I started running into guys who could do things with hyperloops that made me break into a cold sweat and run and hide inside large wooden objects.

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Music to spin to

While the vast majority of the time I'm spinning, I'm either doing so to improvised sessions by drummers or canned music that's been selected by my fire performance troupe, I frequently find that those rare opportunities when I get to put on my own music for a solo performance are some of my best.

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Do you know the math of CAPs?

A thread on Home of Poi asking for a definition of CAPs has turned up not just an interesting history of the concept, but the most comprehensive mathematical description I've yet seen of the move. I don't pretend to understand much (or, really most) of the mathematics in this post, but I'm considering it a moral imperative to educate myself and figure out the mathematics of poi (mainly because I suspect it has major implications for concepts like Alien Code and antispin flowers).

Here is Zaltymbunk's description:

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Plane-bending with CAPs

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Plane bending: the future is here!

G is the best poi spinner you've never heard of. I'd never heard of him before heading to Firedrums back in April and seriously I was blown away by him. While most of us have dabbled in plane-bending at one point or another (beginners plane-bend unintentionally all the time), few have taken it to the jaw-dropping extremes G has. Essentially, every stall is a zero point that can be used to transition to a different plane. All of the bizarre plane-bending combos I've been working on in the past few months have been inspired by his work.
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Experiments in body mechanics

I spent a good long time in my poi practice session today playing with the way my body shifts its weight as I spin. Teaching in a dance studio, I'll freely confess I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder due to the fact that poi sits so uncomfortably in the middle of dance, juggling, martial arts, and street performance that alas it seems to be none of these as well.

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No, I regret this isn't an entry on Warren Ellis's landmark sci-fi satire comic book series (I'm still figure out a way to make it apply to poi ;), the title is a great excuse to give it a plug. The planetary I'm talking about is the system by which planets rotate around a solar mass and create systems of compound elliptical orbits.

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