Fire, probably the coolest (ironic choice of words I know) ancient elemental force we have. One of the most important discoveries that propelled our species to be the top be the dominant species on our planet. If Zeus got pissed with Prometheus for giving us humans fire, then that shows you how important it is to our species.
As important as fire is to our development it has two natures, it creates, and it destroys. Ask that to the untold number of people that has lost people and property in fires of different kinds. And yet there is still this certain appeal that mesmerises us. The question is why fire is so mesmerising even after all these thousands of years since we have it
Why is Fire still Mesmerising to us?
There have been some suggestions that humans are born with an instinct to learn how to use fire. If we don’t learn how to master it, then there will be a lingering attraction to it when we grow up into adults.
Yes, instinctively we DO NOT KNOW how to create or use fire, but the need to learn how is. So basically the need to learn isn’t satisfied, it will be like a gnawing hunger that doesn’t go away. This means that for those of use in the more developed part of the world where the fire isn’t necessary for survival, the fire would be even more appealing / entertaining but in the less developed parts of the world where you need it for survival than it’s just… Meh.
The idea of a wood-burning stove, campfires, fireplaces in developed countries are part of nostalgia and gives of a sense of comfort. This does not happen when you rely on it for survival.
That said. It would still be wise to teach the basics on how to handle fire so that if and when they need to use it they can keep the fire under control or know what to do if an accident does occur.
Aside from using Fire to cook or warm yourself, there has been a reemerging trend in incorporating fire in performances. While this has been in existence since ancient times from different cultures as well. Performing with fire transcends human history and cultural lines, so it’s no wonder that even though it faded from popular culture that it never died out. The sense of awe and danger it gives to both the performer and the audience.
The Basics of Fire Dancing
Firstly, what is fire dancing? Like the name implies, it’s a form of dance/performance that integrates fire into the act. It usually involves dancing while utilising various props and instruments that are lit. Sometimes called fire twirling, spinning, manipulation, these dances are usually staged at night or in dimly lit places so that the fire can be clearly seen. While fire dancing is indeed beautiful, it is equally dangerous, especially for the performers and the immediate vicinity. So we’ll be discussing some basic safety tips.
1. Know your fuels – You will need three things to set something on fire; air, fuel, and an ignition source. With fire performers, you should carefully consider which kind of fuel to use and how to safely handle them.
2. Kerosene (Paraffin)- Basically the same fuel, This fuel burns the longest but leaves an oily residue and is quite smoky. It might not be advisable to use in enclosed areas.
3. Naphta- Commonly known as lighter fluid. It burns the hottest, brightest, and most importantly the cleanest. Naphta easily ignites, but also it evaporates very quickly. Due to its very low flash point and very bright flame, this is one of, if not, the most popular fuel for fire dancing, but extreme caution should be observed when using it.
4. Lighting the fire – Okay, you have your fuel, and you are in a well-ventilated area. So the only thing missing for the flame to ignite is, well, an ignition source. Remember to light the wick away from your face, and also do it well away from the place you refuel.
5. Learn how fire acts – Yes, fire is hot, and it will burn you, but it also has other properties you might forget when in the midst of performing.
- Fire burns upwards – When performing always keep in mind that whatever position of your baton, staff, poi, or whatever equipment you are using, that fire will burn upwards. Remember this as it might result in you burning through your equipment or burning yourself in the process.
- Fire requires Oxygen – Yes this is basic knowledge, but don’t forget that when you swing the wick faster it gives the fire more oxygen to consume. Basically like a car’s turbo or supercharger. So in the case that you have accidentally set a piece of your clothes on fire, DO NOT PAT IT OUT! The patting action may unintentionally introduce even more O2 to the flame . Instead of patting it you should use a cupped hand to cup the fire, smush it down and smother it instead. The same principle goes with other fires. Deprive it of oxygen and the fire will die.
- Fires can be loud – have you heard the term Roaring flame. Well, give a fire enough oxygen, and you will be surprised how loud it can be.
- Fire is bright – Don’t look directly into the fire when spinning it. It might leave you temporarily blind.
6. Mind your hairstyle – If you have long hair, tie it up, cover it or wear a hat. Wet your hair if possible to avoid it catching on fire. The most important is DO NOT USE products like hair gels, sprays, pomades, etc. as they can catch on fire as well.
7. DO NOT Wear Synthetic Fibres – When you perform, wear tight clothes that are made from natural fibres like cotton and such. Synthetic fibres usually (except for some that are specifically designed to be fire-resistant, like Nomex) can burn easier and melt onto the wearer’s skin. Not an awesome feeling.
For those fire performers or interested in learning the dangerous and yet beautiful art of Fire dancing, and who wants to do it in comfort without sacrificing safety, we have made a kilt specifically for them. The Phoenix Utility Kilt is our special fire-resistant kilt made from highly durable fire-resistant cotton and some other extra features. IF twirling around fire around yourself like a fire bender isn’t eye-catching enough, our Phoenix Kilt will add that extra bit of pizzazz to your act coupled with +5 to your fire resistance stat. Check it out now.