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What Are the Different Kinds of Fire Dancing?

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Whether you’re hosting an intimate dinner for a dozen of your closest friends or a corporate retreat for 200 employees, no event is complete without unforgettable entertainment. While there’s no shortage of talented professionals to call upon, fire performers will bring the perfect blend of danger and delight to the affair. Indeed, once you’ve seen fire dancing in person, you’ll agree that no other form of entertainment is nearly as memorable, breathtaking, or awe-inspiring. 

Commonly seen at corporate events, festivals, parades, concerts, and weddings, fire dancing is exactly what it sounds like: Performers maneuver props that are engulfed in real flames while completing complicated choreography. For maximum impact, these routines should be performed after the sun has set, when the contrast between the burning props and the night sky makes the show all the more impressive. 

Cultures around the globe have used fire dancing in some form or another to tell stories, celebrate victories, and mark important ceremonies for thousands of years. From the Celts to the Polynesians, hundreds of ethnic groups have taken the art form and made it their own. As such, it would be virtually impossible to create an exhaustive list of fire dancing’s many types. You can, however, learn more about some of the most popular kinds below:

1. Poi Fire Dancing 

Hailing from the Māori culture, poi fire dancing is characterized by ropes or chains attached to weighted balls with wicks. Once ignited, performers swing these balls around their bodies in a mesmerizing display of athleticism. Historically, this type of dancing was a way for men to remain fit for battle and women to improve coordination for everyday tasks like weaving. Today, poi fire dancing is one of the most popular forms seen at special events, gatherings, and parties. 

2. Tahitian Forms

Tahitian fire dancing routines are often set to drums, making for a heart-pounding experience during which it’s impossible to sit still. There are all kinds of styles, and each has its own distinct characteristics. 

‘Aparima, for example, has fairly fast choreography and is accompanied by upbeat music. Hivinau, on the other hand, is slower and demands its dancers to form a large circle and chant along. 

To this day, Tahitian dancing retains its rich cultural context and is not always performed with fire. The circumstances surrounding the show ultimately determine how the choreography is done and which props, if any, are used. You can be sure, however, that if you hire Tahitian dancers for your corporate event or private party, they’ll bring along the kerosene. 

3. Samoan Forms 

Samoan fire dancers are revered for the emotions they can evoke. The Fa’ataupati, or Samoan Slap Dance, will have an audience laughing uproariously, for example, while the Manu Siva Tau will leave viewers inspired and ready to take on anything. The former is essentially an exaggerated form of shooing away mosquitoes and is highly comedic, while the latter is accompanied by a war chant and is often performed before sporting events. If you want your guests to feel a range of emotions during the evening, request Samoan dancers specifically. 


Turn up the Heat at Your Next Event 

If you want to wow guests at your next event with a jaw-dropping show, turn to Zen Arts for exceptional fire performers. Our professional dancers come from all over the world and are happy to perform both on their own and as part of a full-stage ensemble. Whether you want to elevate a small birthday party or a huge corporate event, we’ll supply unforgettable entertainment. To get a quote for your vision, reach out on our website or contact us for a quote.