Fire Safety for Fire Dancing
Fire dancing, also known as fire performing, fire spinning or "flow arts", is a wonderful expression of art, but once you migrate from practice devices to real fire, the danger becomes real. Play with fire and you will (one day) get burnt. Even in my first few months of dancing I've seen many near accidents: a rope dart breaking and sending a fireball rolling (luckily rolling) towards the audience, a fire hoop roll into the audience, a full fuel can accidentally let in the middle of the circle, people always crowding the dipping station and the dipping can left open a couple of times - once by me! It's very easy to make mistakes, so staying vigilant is a group effort.
On this page I'm keeping a small collection of articles I find on fire safety. This doesn't apply to the fire performance art skills of fire breathing and fire eating, but instead focuses mostly on spinning fire using the common static props like fire staffs, dragon staffs, fire swords, palm torch, fire fingers, etc, plus common dynamic props like poi and rope dart.
For you dance troop, it might make sense to have an agreement for people to sign - it is mostly just a reminder for them to stay sober and diligent! They don't actually need to sign, but it will remind people that playing with fire is dangerous.
Venue Layout / Safety Map
A safety map is a really good idea to show fire performers so they can flow the right way into and out of the circle. For trial by fire we try to go further with lights to mark the circle, but also lights to help guide the flow of performers though dipping, spin off and lighting up (way away from the dipping station), performing and exiting safely.
Before your first fire spin, I recommend reading this entire manual I wrote:
- Fire Dancing Safety: How to Put Out Props by DrexFactor Poi... really great information covering dynamic and static pros. He also has some great tutorial videos on spinning poi.
Putting Out a Static Prop
Note that the process for something like fire fingers is very different, and should be done while standing, with your fingers held up and in a very specific way. Always make sure you understand the properties of fire, and which way the fire will billow with each fold - it will billow, you just have to make sure it billows away from your face!
- Fire performance - Wikipiedia
- FlowArtsInstitute - Fire Safety Project Playlist - A set of 11 great videos by FlowArtsInstitute.com and