In 2004 I left a relationship that was no longer serving me. I was overweight, depressed, and turned to substances to try and distract me from my emotional pain. I branched out and started making new friends since I had lost the majority of my former friends in the divorce.
During the formation of one of those friendships in 2005 or 2006, I discovered poi. The simple act of twirling fuzzy balls at the end of chain leashes got me out of my head and to stop my negative loops that I was stuck in. I started taking classes at a local event space and so began my love affair with flow arts.
Through practice I was able to move away from the substances that were ruining my life. I have been in recovery since 2007 and strongly believe that it is because of flow arts that I was able to stay away from them.
Around that same time, I became really seriously involved with spinning fire and I desperately wanted to share that with the public. The fire codes in Phoenix made it really difficult to do any fire dancing publicly during art walks and so my friends and I came up with the name of the troupe because we were mourning the loss of the display of fire. Every time we tried to spin, we got shut down.
Eventually, through many meetings at city hall and conversations with the fire department, we came to an agreement. Any time we wanted to spin fire downtown, we would need to apply for a permit with no less than 10 days in advance. Every spinner would need to show they are insured (which costs hundreds of dollars a year) and I would have to fill out a roughly 10 page application that showed MSDS for all fuels, a site map, a contingency plan, and a listing of every performer and every prop they planned on using. It still felt like I was mourning the loss of the right to display fire which was my art.
Over the years, we played the game, and applied for the permits every time we wanted to spin downtown. Eventually, downtown got developed to the point that there were no empty lots along the art walk for us to perform in. But by this point we had started performing for private events and so our need to display our art was being met.
Almost a decade later, we've moved away from doing street performances in our home town and focus on participating in large not-for-profit events that bring culture to our great state. Over the years we've also expanded to include so much more than fire, but the name still sticks because of the heavy restrictions that so many municipalities put on fire dancers.