Fire in San Francisco’s Union Square: Temple of Poi Fire Dance School Releases Flow Arts DVD

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San Francisco’s Union Square was alight when Temple of Poi fire dance school sponsored a milestone event for fire dancing audiences in the United States. The Temple of Poi 2006 Fire Dancing Expo marks the first free and legal, full-length public fire dancing event in the United States - and a DVD of the event is now on sale. The event was held in honor of National Dance Week April 19, 2006. All profits from the DVD sale will be used to fund other events of this kind.

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Learning to spin poi opened up areas of self-realization for me in really exciting ways, not only in terms of creative expression, but in becoming a performer as well.

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Spectators watched as fire danced across Union Square during a landmark arts event that Temple of Poi fire dance school released Monday on a 90-minute DVD. In April 2006, more than 35 dancers participated in the Temple of Poi 2006 Fire Dancing Expo, the first free and legal, full-length fire dancing performance held in the United States.

Temple of Poi announced Monday their pioneering show is now available for purchase on DVD and all profits from DVD sales would fund future events like the Expo. Temple of Poi created and sponsored the event as part of National Dance Week’s mission to affordably spread the love and knowledge of dance.

Fire dancing is an art form where artists move fuel soaked tools and lit on fire around their body to create flaming trails in the air. Artists use various tools, including fans, staves and hoops with flaming wicks, and poi -- flaming balls attached to chain. It has exploded in popularity in the last 4-5 years, partially fueled by the 30,000-plus yearly attendees to the annual, week-long Burning Man ( festival held in Nevada, in which fire arts and uninhibited creativity are celebrated.

Isa Isaacs began teaching in 2002, founding the two-time Best of the Bay-winning premier poi fire dance school in the world, Temple of Poi. In response to a growing fire arts population and to a student base in excess of 900 students, Temple of Poi coordinated this public, and costly, event. Fire permits alone cost $520 in San Francisco and renting Union Square for the show costs at least $500 more.

Hundreds of spectators witnessed the show while five professional videographers recorded it. “Offering this amazing show to the San Francisco public for free and creating the opportunity for emerging and established fire dancers to perform is a big step in expanding the art form. Releasing this show on DVD with footage of this caliber is perhaps an even bigger accomplishment,” said Isaacs, explaining the DVD, just like the show, is a first of its kind.

"Working with fire has always been considered inherently unstable and is therefore often repressed. Acquiring the permits and resources necessary to produce a show of this nature at one of the most prominent venues in our city was a very significant event," said Sean von Stade, a 9-year fire dancing veteran, performer at the event and founder of Flowtoys, a company which manufactures tools most of the performers use for non-fire arts performances.

Says student and mN8Fx troupe member Khan Wong, “Learning to spin poi opened up areas of self-realization for me in really exciting ways, not only in terms of creative expression, but in becoming a performer as well.”

“This DVD represents a range of artists from beginners through full time professionals. Each tool, like the artist who wields it, has its own personality,” says Isaacs, also known by her performance name “GlitterGirl.”

According to Wong, “I think fire is what attracts many people to these arts, but once they get started it’s the flow of the movements and learning to dance with their tools that takes over their imaginations. The fire just puts it over the top.”

DVDs are on sale as of October 23, 2006 through or the Temple of Poi studios in San Francisco. Contact Isa Isaacs for bulk purchases, resale agreements, additional event bookings or [information about fire dancing lessons].

About Temple of Poi:

Two time Best of the Bay winner, Temple Of Poi is the premier poi fire dance school in the world dedicated to supporting a community of individuals seeking greater understanding of themselves through movement and flow arts. The school was founded in 2002 and began by teaching poi and later, hoop and staff classes. Today the dance school serves a client base approaching 1,000 clients world wide through in-person and on-line training while Temple of Poi continues to create pioneering opportunities in the flow and fire arts communities.


Isa “GlitterGirl” Isaacs

Founder, Temple of Poi

953 Mission Street, Suite 11

San Francisco, CA 94103



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