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Review: Fire Dancing In Obz

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It’s Saturday night in Observatory and the smell of paraffin is in the air. On the open grass of the Trenchtown bar, a group of guys and gals are shaking off their fuel-soaked fire poi and fire staffs. Lighters are flicked and the entertainment starts flowing: orange strips of firelight swirl through the dark night air. The courtyard at Trenchtown is turned, for two hours, into a flow ground of magic.

Watching The Cape Town Flow Arts Community is nothing short of hypnotizing. This self-proclaimed group of “tricksters, spinners, hoopers, flarers and dancers who love to entertain” weave and dance through the night, controlling the element of fire with admirable skill and dexterity. They’re good at what they do, and they love it. And they are here to share that love.

During the Saturday night gigs over the next few weeks, observers can take the opportunity to try their own hand at twirling some poi – albeit without fire for beginners. The Cape Town Flow Arts crew is enthusiastic about sharing its knowledge, and if you can tear your eyes way from the shirtless guy doing fire hula-hoop you can learn the basics of poi spinning, using some practice poi or LED poi.

The Flow Arts crew welcomes donations for these performances, all which will go towards stocking up on paraffin to take to this year’s AfrikaBurn. If you are lucky enough to be going to AfrikaBurn this year, go say howzit at their theme camp where they will have a Flow Ground with workshops on poi-playing, staff swinging and hula hooping. They will also lead the Dance of a 100 Flames event at AfrikaBurn, lighting up the night with fireplay before the San Clan burn on Saturday. The Cape Town Flow Art group would love nothing more than to get as many people as possible involved in this tribal form of movement meditation.

So mosey on down to Trenchtown this Saturday and give it a try… there is something magical, sacred and infinitely fun about playing with fire.  You shouldn’t get burned, but you might just get hooked.

Marilu Snyders

The Flow Arts Community show off their skills every Saturday at Trenchtown in Observatory until 27 April (excluding Easter weekend).  Details here.

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