Videos Latest Feature Sports Your Videos

Fire dancing craze in San Francisco

0 CommentsPrint E-mail CCTV, February 24, 2010
Adjust font size:


People throughout the world are obsessed with staying fit. But besides sweating it out in a gym, what else can one do? The art of fire dancing is becoming increasingly popular in the US.

In San Francisco the evening performance arts scene has taken on a fiery twist.

Dancers transfix passers-by with their flaming shows.

This fire dance instructor, known as "Glitter Girl", says she transformed her body and her life through her fire dancing practice otherwise known as "poi."

Isa Isaacs, Fire Dance Teacher, said, "Poi has been a totally life-altering experience for me. I used to be completely disembodied, not connected at all to my movements, and through poi I've gone from being a 300-pound couch potato to an internationally renowned fire dancing artist and it's been an amazing transformation."

"Poi" consists of flaming balls of fuel-soaked cloth at the end of chains with leather loops for the index and middle fingers. It was traditionally used by the Maori people of New Zealand to increase flexibility, strength and coordination.

This is Bill Bettering, about to turn 49, a CEO of a software company by day.

But by night he plays with fire.

Bettering says he enjoys the portability of his hobby.

Bill Bettering, said, "You know, it's a whole body thing and it's really fun and it feels great. You can do it anywhere, pack your poi in your suitcase and take them to the office or put them on a plane or whatever. I don't know, I'm just totally hooked on it, it's really fun."

There are various reasons for practicing fire dancing. One of the most interesting ones is certainly its "hypnotic" effect.

Kevin Quennesson, Graphics Engineer, said, "It's very meditative for you, but a lot of people like to look at that because it's like hypnotic, also, from the outside."

At the Crucible, a community arts center in Oakland, California,, students can learn a range of fire-related arts like blacksmithing, jewellery-making and fire dancing.

Teachers say more people are attracted to both the fitness and artistic sides of the dancing.

Years of training make proficient dancers' moves look quite simple and effortless. But wannabe starters take note - without guidance from a trained professional you are literally playing with fire.


Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comments

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from