Poi enthusiasts have the Maori people to thank for the fascinating art form. The methods and materials for the craft have changed through the years,
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Poi enthusiasts have the Maori people to thank for the fascinating art form. The methods and
materials for the craft have changed through the years, but one thing remains—creating
beautiful patterns with skillful swinging of a chosen prop. Throughout poi history, performers
have used all sorts of materials to showcase skill, ranging from ribbons to fire and other kinds of
glowing materials that create stunning light and blur patterns when swung around. LED poi balls
are modern takes on the traditional fire poi, which makes the craft a little bit safer for both the
performer and the audience. LED poi balls also allow poi handlers to create even more unique
and crisp patterns as well as imagery that are difficult to impossible to achieve with traditional
materials. Swinging techniques are easy to transfer from one material to another, but constant
practice is critical if you want to achieve mastery.
Beginners will do well to practice with materials that are soft, but have the right size and density
to mimic typical poi materials and have enough weight to swing well. some popular choices
include tennis balls and bean-filled socks, which create the perfect weight and dimension for a
practice poi. These materials also help keep practice sessions safe, so you can get techniques
down before graduating to actual poi materials while keeping yourself out of harm’s way.
Poi involves skillful manipulation of weights that are attached to ropes or chains. A unique
performance artform, it requires the grace of dance and the clever use of the hands, wrist, arms,
and the rest of the body in order to create dazzling patterns. Below are simple but useful tips
when practicing for a stage performance with LED poi balls:
•Use practice poi balls during your learning stages so you can get the techniques down
before trying out actual poi balls. This will help you avoid injury, while keeping your
equipment free of practice nicks and dings.
•Find a good spacious, practice area—an open space where you can freely swing your
practice poi around.
•Momentum is key to consistent swings. Try achieving at least a 1 full rotation per second
swing rate, which will give you better control of your equipment. Practice rotating with
your wrists and try to do exercises with music to learn how to swing with the beat.
•Learn planes. There are three basic planes created with poi—the wall plane, which is
formed with the poi spinning in a circle right in front of you; the wheel plane, which is
formed with the poi spinning alongside you; and the floor plane, which is formed when
the poi circles over the head or under the arm, parallel to the ground.
•Learn timing. Timing is key to executing tricks and maneuvering poi balls in split time.