Are you ready to express yourself with this dynamic and captivating performance art and join the global community of Poisters? Awaiting you is a wild and engaging physical activity that’s less intense than martial arts but requires its level of focus, and less physical than competitive sports but requires its level of commitment. With Poi you can create rhythmical and geometric designs as you swipe through the air, whether that’s with fabric Poi or one of its many other iterations.
Poi come from the Maori people of New Zealand, where dancing with Poi has long been a firm part of Maori cultural tradition. Spinning outside of Maori culture is quite a recent development however popularised by the emergence of Fire Poi spinning that has spread far and wide. Although this new version was inspired by its Maori equivalent, it quickly changed. Poi users created new moves, borrowing from other disciplines to enhance their displays. Over time other varieties of Poi were created that stayed true to the tradition of Fire Poi spinning but allowed for anyone to get involved. Versions like flag Poi and the very modern LED Poi made it more approachable and less of a potential hazard.
Now, Poi is practiced around the world and can often be seen at large festivals and late night beach parties. Its fanbase promotes a strong sense of community reliant on sharing ideas and moves. So are you ready for you new life as a Poister?
How to get started
Thanks to the worldwide appeal of POI and it’s open and friendly fanbase, there is a wealth of online tutorials and groups to seek assistance and inspiration from when getting to grips with the art. To start with you just need a set of POI, we offer a great set of practice Poi that are soft but still offer the realistic feel of a heavier set. There is a strong chance you will knock yourself a few times when you’re initially learning so it’s best to start with something that won’t hurt. The ideal area to practice in is an open space with high ceilings or if the weathers rather nice it’s a perfect chance to get outside.
The standard spins utilized in POI are relatively intuitive for a beginner however developing control and timing become vital if you choose to start learning patterns, catches and Fire POI sequences. Check out these videos below to learn how to properly grip your POI handles, how to begin spinning and your first few moves.
Types of POI
Much closer to the original Maori Poi that were used in their performance art, these Poi utilize ribbons or some form of fabric as a tail to the weighted end. These extensions add to the visual beauty of the performance and their softer construction make them ideal for children and beginners.
LED glow Poi
These modern Poi come in many different colours and functionalities. Providing an entirely new kind of display, these Poi pack the bright lights of fire Poi without the need for a bucket of water on stand by. Their light trails look beautiful when photographed with a long exposure. For advanced users there are Pixel Poi, these rod like Poi are incredibly bright and can be programmed with your chosen designs bringing a whole new element to your peformances.
Available in various shapes, lengths and styles, all of them are from the same basic construction; a Kevlar wick attached to a handle usually via a chain. Fuel is absorbed into their Kevlar wicks and once set alight can be spun to very dramatic effect. Different size fire Poi can create different types of flame. The long fire ‘Snake’ Poi can make incredible wings of fire that streak through the air, double and triple burners (Multiple wicks on one chain) are capable of making rings of fire that seem to hang in the air.
Instead of a tether connecting the Poi weight to a handle, these Poi utilize a very long ‘sock’ that hold the Poi- whether this be a juggling ball, an LED ball or some other form of weight. The other end of the sock tethers off to a Point which is used as a handle when gripped. The ‘socks’ are available in a huge range of colours and designs but some of the most popular are the striped variety.
These flag-like Poi can create some of the most stunning displays. Constructed from large sheets of fabric their sheer size and colour create incredible visual flair. They spin very evenly due to their weighted edge. Whilst they aren’t that effective for smaller intricate patterns they do incredibly well making large moves that will be sure to catch everyones attention.
These Poi use a heavy silicone ball in place of a weight. As there are no swivels or exterior connections these are some of the smoothest Poi around. The heavier weight makes these ideal for someone with experience or someone looking for more of a challenge. The silicone balls can also be used for contact juggling moves between rotations.
For you advanced Poisters
While we don’t expect you to be able to master these moves straight away consider them as inspiration.
Now you’re at the start of your journey be sure to upload photos of your successes to our Instagram page, we look forward too seeing your progress. Stay Tuned for our next article looking into the wild world of Diabolo!
As always make sure to follow us so you can find out all the latest in the world of Juggling and Circus equipment and toys.