Actually quite impressive, but not as impressive as I thought. I mean, don't get me wrong, it must be incredibly difficult to do all those bends and stuff while juggling. Like... INCREDIBLY difficult. But looking at it from a performance vs performer perspective, it's like the contortion act is an entirely separate act from the juggling act. In other worse, each piece individually is an act on its own (though the juggling act is probably less interesting). 

While one might say that that is interesting and stuff, I would say that it's less good... less thoughtful. It's kind of like tech poi. Where one imagines that the poi are a vehicle for the performer. Or for "flow" spinners where the performer is the vehicle for the poi. In the tech poi example, one assumes that the poi is the main attraction and the performer is simply "in the way" of the poi... an obstacle to move around. In the flow spinner example, the moves are irrelevant, only the performer is important. Weaves are a dime a dozen AND buy one get 11 free (that's 144 weaves for 10 cents, y'all). 

My opinion, the last 30 seconds of this video is what I expected of the entire thing. Where neither the prop NOR the performer could be separated to create an interesting experience. In the poi example, the poi does not look interesting without the performer. And the performer does not look interesting without the poi. Each piece is not a able to be used separately... it is a single, cohesive unit. 

I am not against this kind of spinning, to be quite honest. To each their own. However, my ideas on how to perform and flow better stem from the above thought process.

I used to think that flow spinning meant that you weren't interested in the moves themselves. And tech spinners just stood in a power stance as the poi moved effortlessly around a person. But what I have learned about most performances is that neither piece is more important than the other. As another example... let's take a look at this performance from Florida Flow Fest 2011 by Zan and Aurora. 
Let's be 100% honest here. They do a few really neat partner weaves and well timed flowers... but they aren't doing stupid partner toroid weaves or anything. Most of their difficult moves come from the partner poi side. But a good portion of this performance comes from synchronized, simple moves. Split time reels, buzzsaws, and butterflies done facing each other or in tunnel formation.
However, I don't think another pair of performers could do this quite as well as they did. Why? They have a commanding stage presence and undeniable chemistry as a pair. They engage their audience while ALSO engaging each other. In reality, neither the poi aspect of this performance nor the performers themselves could be taken away or replaced to enhance or detract from this. We will not really take the music into account in this scenario because, really, dancing with the music is very obviously a main part of the appeal.

But, this is what I mean. We spend a lot of time working on moves when we should begin focusing on how we display them. Then, we spend a lot of time working on the dancing aspect that the poi almost seem irrelevant. And while I feel as though each piece should be worked on separately, they should be performed in such a way that it should look obvious that this performer and that performance go together perfectly. And no one can copy it and look better. 

Just some food for thought.

-Russell "Siraph" Paac

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    Our Bloggers:

    Russell "Siraph" Paac: Poi spinner, double staff, occasional contact staff, and occasional DJ... occasionally sane

    Brian "Don't call me Brian 'Brian Davis' Davis" Davis: Resident poi guru, randomly spins everything else, randomly beatboxes.

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