Last night I lit up my fire staff for the first time and did a brief performance in front of friends, colleagues, and strangers. It was the culmination of the last six weeks or so of staff training that I have undergone at Fire Groove in Los Angeles. To be honest, it was an incredible experience. Not just the fire and performance, but the feeling of accomplishment and support that came from all around. My performance had plenty of flaws and it was obvious (to me anyway) that I have a lot of work ahead of me to still master the basics but I am certainly looking forward to the more advanced classes starting soon. I love fire dancing and am hooked.
It is more than the dancing and fire that I love though, it is really the community. Since leaving DC I have really been searching for a community. Much of my bike ride and my trip to Burning Man 2012 was part of the longing for a community that I have not felt recently. I have many friends but here in LA, and I love them each dearly, but it still felt like a bit was missing. I hope that my training and work with fire dancing will open doors to alleviate that.
The fire dancers I have met so far are a very open and caring group of people (they are also very beautiful people, I wonder why that is?). They welcome all who come in peace and they encourage the sharing of knowledge about their art. There is no desire to restrict knowledge or prohibit competition, instead collaboration is encouraged and sought after. Artists of all stripes are part of the community in one way or another, whether it is designing custom outfits, performance art, or traditional art, it is all welcome and those who support the community are loved. In fact, I hope to start designing some glow staffs in my spare time, I don’t know if my model or design can really compete with the others out there but it should be fun.
As much as I love the community I feel like I haven’t taken full advantage of it. I approached it with extreme caution and my introverted side kicked in a lot, but I think that will change. I don’t quite know what I have to offer yet but I hope to contribute more than just taking classes. This is a group of people who won’t judge my polyamory, open relationship, anarchist views. Even if it doesn’t work out that I become a greater part of this group it has opened doors for me, given me greater confidence, provided me with a skill to gift to Burning Man next year, and has been a hell of a good time.
If anyone is interested in taking a classes with Fire Groove, there will be a free intro class on January 5th and 6th. You should definitely come by and check it out.