Spinning Poi is a beautiful and unique performance art form. The name, “Poi” means ball on a string and is the name given to this art form by the native people of New Zealand, the Maori’s. Although Poi is a form of juggling where the balls are spun around your body, many people find it much easier than traditional juggling. In addition to being visually impressive, spinning Poi also help improve flexibility and strength in your hands and arms. With practice you will also see improvement in your overall coordination. The focus and concentration it can take to perfect each move will give you a chance to clear your mind. It’s also really fun and addictive, too!
Poi comes in a huge variety of choices. Your choices include everything from the basic tennis balls attached to strings with knots on the ends to fabric flags to fire and lots of options in between. A truly beautiful effect is created by spinning poi that have led lights within them. These are also much safer than fire and can be used indoors or out. For the little ones or just for fun, you can also use a glow stick with a long string attached.
You can quickly create a very simple pair of sock poi by placing tennis balls in the toes of a pair of long knee high socks. Make a knot in the end of the socks to hold on to and then start swinging. The most basic swing creates circles on booth sides of your body. Your hands twist to lead the poi around, letting the weight of the tennis balls create the even circles. Play around with the balls and see what feels fun to you. Your imagination is the only limit to what you can do with Poi.
Once you’ve mastered a lot of moves and feel very comfortable with your poi, you may want to step it up a bit and try spinning fire. The sounds of the fire buzzing around you as well as the colors and flashes of light are awesome! There is nothing quite like this experience. You do really need to understand and follow all of the safety procedures each and every time you spin fire. Where the other forms of poi can leave you with bruises and sore muscles, fire can leave you with permanent scaring and life threatening injuries.
Poi is a surprisingly easy yet stunning art form. Give it a try and see where it leads you!
An excellent site that includes free lessons, an extensive community forum and a large selection of poi products is Home of Poi.
Home of Poi and fire twirling Comprehensive information about poi, staff and twirling, including animated lessons, discussion forums, building instructions, articles and a shop.