Fire Dancing - Hawaii
- 1 About
- 2 Oahu (Fire-dancing)
- 3 Maui (Fire-dancing & Ecstatic Dance)
- 4 What is Ecstatic Dance
- 5 See Also
- 6 Links
Maui is an interesting use case for covid where cases are very low, because they test people coming in (see: Hawaii travel tips), but the hospital on Maui has only 200 beds and they are typically over capacity even without covid patients. As a result, the police generally don't like any dance gatherings, but they also realize that locals will form drum circles and dance regardless to blow off steam. It's part of the culture here.
There are a few little drum circle / dance events on Maui that appear to be happening.. they are:
Okay, so I decide to tag on Oahu... from what I've heard it's all pretty much shut down, but he cops don't at all mind about fire dancing around Honolulu, because the tourists are packed so tightly on Waikiki I guess distanced fire dancing isn't any concern.
Sunday Night - South Waikiki
- What: (Informal) Kapiʻolani Regional Park (Waikiki area) Fire Performers
... they just do it for fun, just after dusk, and they are very good! Just space out and sit down to watch them... they have acro-yoga before dusk which is fun to watch too. The group is called Trial By Fire - of which I'm a part of now - and I love their values of (a) teaching and inclusiveness (anyone, tourist or not, they will teach you to spin) and (b) safety and staying sober. Yup, fire dancers are asked to stay sober, because fire and alcohol shouldn't mix (fire is dangerous)... *but* people watching often bring some beers and seats to enjoy the dancing way into the night. If you want to spin then you have to prove to fire master you respect safety and have some experience with your chosen prop. Once accident with this audience of trusting tourists (some of them with kids) would shut us down, so we're trying to add as many safety measure as possible, while still keeping it fun.
- When: Every Sunday ~ at dusk. If you want a lesson spinning the staff come at 5pm and donate $10-20 for your lesson (extra $20 to take home a staff). They couple that teach this are amazing, it's really fun! They might tell you about some other events about.
- Where: Kapiʻolani Regional Park / Sans Souci State Recreational Park. Just walk to Queens Beach (just south of Waikiki Beach) and keep walking down the beach past the park and about half way through the park you'll see the acro-yoga and fire spinners!. It's about 50 meters north of "Barefoot Beach Cafe @ Queens Beach". map
- Website: N/A
Thursday Night - Kaimana Beach / War Memorial Natatorium
- What: (Informal) Kaimana Beach (just south of Waikiki) Fire Performers
... unlike Sunday, this is a little more chaotic, but it's more locals, so it's a really fun energy also! Just on the northern edge of beautiful Kaimana beach is an unused tennis court which is perfect for fire dancing on cement. It's some of the same dancers as Sunday, and it's not even that far from Sunday's event *but* this is a more local beach - not quite as touristy as Wakiki - so you have more locals watching, and since it's a bigger space you might see 5-15 people dance at once (versus 3 max at Sunday). Concrete means you can spin off on the performance areas for some amazing effects!
- When: Every Thursday ~ starting at sunset with just a few people, but builds up at like 8 to a decent crowd!
- Where: War Memorial Natatorium between Kaimana Beach and Waikīkī Aquarium. map
- Website: N/A
Maui (Fire-dancing & Ecstatic Dance)
Sunday Morning - North Side Ecstatic
- What: Email me for info... it's kept very secret, but it's amazing!!
Friday Night - Baldwin Beach Drum Circle and Fire Dancers
- What: (Informal) Baldwin Beach, Drum Circle and Fire Performers
... might be ~30 - 50 people, plus more people just out on the nearby beach enjoying the music. Unlike the (bigger) Little Beach event, cops tend to leave this one alone. (see video)
... Having said that... I've been twice, and the cops appeared the second time at around 7pm and did ticket the guy who organizes the fire-spinning and music, so I fear that part might disappear a while.
- When: Every Friday ~5 - 11pm
... the drumming starts before sunset, and people dance... then after dark the fire performers will take turns and slowly the drums get replaced with a speaker system. Depending on how many fire spinners there are it might last only 30 minutes, but hopefully it will last longer. I highly suggest arriving before sunset, if you arrive late (like most of my friends did), you'll miss the whole show. Arrive early (5pm) if you are happy to just chill on the beach as the drummers slowly arrive and it builds up.
- Where: Baldwin Beach, Paia, HI 96779 (map)
... the main parking area locks it's gates at 7pm (I think - read the sign) and they do lock cars in, so you might want to park outside if you want to stay for the fire spinners.
- What to wear: Locals are often in bathing suits, but you'll want probably want flip-flops to walk in because the little walk in and drum circle area can have prickles.
- Website: N/A
Sunday Night - Little Beach (Nude Beach) Drum Circle (sort of)
- What: (Informal) Little Beach, Drum Circle and Fire Performers
... can be lots of people so it is pretty common for police to come down and break up the party just before sunset. The locals warn that when that happens (assume it will), you want to be very careful to have a mask around your neck, be 6 feet apart, and do NOT have any alcohol or drugs on you. People get ticketed all the time. It's a naked beach, so that part is fine.
- When: Every Sunday ~5 - 11pm (?)
... I've heard people will be there and drumming most of the day, a few people might dance, and if the cops don't break it up there can be fire performers after dark. When I went there were many people (>100) but very few people dancing... so you might want to bring you own dance people and dance up behind the drummers.
- Where: Little Beach, Kihei, HI 96753 (map)
... to get to little beach you'll want to park outside the Big Beach parking lot (if you park inside you have to pay for parking and could get locked in after dark as per the sign!) and then walk onto Big Beach.. and then turn right to walk north up and over the rocks to get onto little beach. One way in and one way out, which makes it awkward when 8 police officers show up at night and you have to walk past them.
- What to wear: I've heard locals are often in bathing suits or naked (it's a naked beach), but you'll definitely want probably want flip-flops or shoes to walk over the rocks..
- Website: Fans of Little Beach, Maui Drum Circle (private Facebook group
What is Ecstatic Dance
I think the best thing you can do, for a full explanation, is read my Ecstatic_Dance article. It explains things in depth. In a nutshell: wonderful energetic tribal music where you are free to dance however you want (no instructions) and no shoes. When approaching people to dance, or during a dance, remember that putting your hands together in a pray like position is saying "thanks, but I want to dance by myself now". On Maui, people wear bathing suits and it's all outside during covid... and honestly a little secretive.
Wish I could give more details, but make some friends on Baldwin Beach and you'll get details to anything else going on.