poi balls, meteors and contact poi
Poi Balls, Meteors and Contact Poi
Renegade Juggling was one of the first prop makers to sell poi balls. Poi was first seen at the Isla Vista Juggling Festival in 1980-81 and was promoted tirelessly by a lone juggler Mike Thornley. He was taught by his sister Theresa, who leaned poi in Micronesia around 1975 where she was studying Polynesian dance.
It took another 20 years before poi swinging became popular, and it is now the most commonly used fire prop. It was at the Isa Vista Renegade Midnight show in 1982 or 1983 that the first poi swinging act was ever performed in the Western world (to our knowledge) by Mike Thornley.
Poi swinging has changed over the years, evolving from an adaptation of club swinging moves to more complicated styles and tricks.
- Flag poi and scarf poi is good for beginners or children. In this type of poi, you can hit yourself with the poi head and not get hurt.
- Contact poi is where the grip is a round ball and the poi head is made from a juggling stage ball. This type of poi can be thrown in the air as well as swung.
- Fire poi has three types of grip: ball, single loop and double loop. The single loop is best for beginners as it can cinch down on your fingers as you swing.
- LED Pixel poi and glow poi are pixelated LEDs, in which the individual LEDs are programmable. You can make pictures or patterns with the poi that are synchronized to music. LED poi has lights with changeable colors, but you cannot use them to make pictures or patterns, or synchronize them to music.
- Meteor refers to fire poi heads, balls or cups that are made with one head connected to each end of a section of rope or chain. The prop is more complicated to learn because it combines two props in one, namely the poi and staff.
Pro tips (intermediate to advanced)
The Meteor is a hard prop is master. If you are already very good at poi swinging and fire staff, it can be a very interesting prop. The skills from poi and staff can be combined to produce a very nice routine. It is uncommon to see the Meteor preformed. The length of the meteor and the use of shoulder knots is important. Instructions are included in all Meteor sets.