One of the first things you always get asked as a circus performer is, “Can you juggle?” For me the answer is always no. I’ve tried to learn on multiple occasions and have have even gotten up to three throws, but alas, I still can’t juggle.
Being a juggler would make explaining myself so much easier. Whenever I say I’m an object manipulator, there’s always a paragraph of explanation that comes with it. Almost no one knows what poi are, contact juggling and buugeng are unheard of, and staff and double staff requires a surprising amount of explanation.
Recently I’ve begun to describe myself as a fire spinner, but that’s really only out of convenience. People have generally seen fire spinning of some sort. Most won’t know whether it was poi or staff or rope dart, but they get the idea. I actually have a real problem with this though. I am very much of the opinion that poi, as an example, is only legitimate when on fire. This extends to most other circus/ flow arts, except those that are entirely about the fire (such as fire eating/breathing/transfers). If the fire is what catches your attention, that’s great, but there’s more to it. Fire is just on expression of poi, but it is also limiting. Fire can only be done in certain places under certain conditions, glow or regular poi though can be done almost anywhere (as long as it’s not raining). I’d also never dream of doing contact poi on fire, nor would it be easy to convince myself to do any throws. Fire also has a certain quality to it that you don’t always want, occasionally it’s time just to take out those old sock poi you started with and spin them around for awhile.