Category: Fire Dance


Studio Open House!

We’re very happy to announce that we’ll be having an open house at our studio in the Unified Training Center on Saturday, April 28. Check it out! http://utcopenhouse.eventbrite.com/#addtloptions

Even if you aren’t interested in the workshops, we’d love to see you. We’ll be hanging out, jamming, shopping, and other fun stuff!

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These materials are designed to be used in conjunction with in-class instruction, which includes safety training and further break down of movements. The authors assume no liability for your use of this material.

TORCHES

TAXIM/MAYA

Basic Cue: Center, Start move purposefully/ slightly exaggerated to right w/ arms in basic taxim or maya position.

Variations:

    • Basic arms raise/ lower from rest through second up to 5th



      .
    • As arms raise over 2nd



      position, move into releve´ – when they lower back to 2nd



      position go back to flat.
    • Travel: cue by turning body and leading w/ arm
    • Turn: cue with head turn – gradual turn –  lead passes around formation for timing of move/turn until it returns to original position.
    • Levels: cue by briefly raising on toes just before starting to lower – then cue to rise by briefly lowering slightly farther just before starting to rise. Move slowly.

    Alterations for Torches:

    Standard Cue and Technique:

      • Keep palms facing ground throughout move.   Arms are more exaggerated and with some timing alterations, tracing/leading  the movement of the hips.

      Variations:

        • Arms: Hipwork will disappear (at least in low lighting common during fire performances) and be deemphasized if arms are raised above hip (or at most waist) level.  Because of this,you will want to keep higher arm variations to a minimum.
        • Turn: cue is still w/ a head turn, due to limited visibility during fire performances, you can also add a verbal cue of yeeeaaahh (not required during torches – but will be a required cue for gradual turns if you move onto staff) and be sure to turn very slowly.

        Considerations for Torches:

          • Be sure to keep hands far enough away from body to not let the flame get close to your clothing.
          • During higher flame, be sure to either move very slowly, or adjust the angles of your hands and arms to accommodate the flame throughout the movement.

          CIRCLE PIVOT WALK

          Basic Cue: Body twists slightly towards stage right (Left side towards audience – head still facing over left shoulder), right leg bends up on toe, right hand pulls up as if pulling leg by a string, left hand down behind left hip similar to hipwork position. Move begins on next downbeat going to the right.

          Variations:                   

            • Turn: cue – when move completes a cycle and prepares to go right again (positioned in basic cue position again) turn head over right shoulder instead of left shoulder.  ¼ turns – move completes full cycle to right and left facing all 4 sides.  Lead passes around formation for timing and body angles.

            Alterations for Torches:

            Standard Cue and Technique:

              • None

              Variations:

                • Turn: cue is still w/ a head turn, due to limited visibility during fire performances, you can also add a verbal cue of a double yip (not required with torches – but will be a required cue for quarter turns if you move into staff).

                Considerations for Torches:

                  • Be sure to hold hands far enough away from body to a) not let the flame get close to your clothing and b) provide enough of an angle in your arms so the flame doesn’t get near yourforearm.

                  STAFF

                  TAXIM (STAFF)

                  Basic (STAFF) Cue: Cue a slow, Close Figure 8 (Under) – begin the hips with the Figure 8.

                  Variations:

                    • Turn: cue – add the verbal cue for gradual turns “yeeeaahh” to the standard head turn cue – can turn to either direction, just begin the turn slowly and intentionally in case the follower(s) cannot see the direction of the head turn due to lighting, etc.
                    • Is typically done with the staff in the right hand, but can be done with the staff in the left hand – especially if you are in a position where the flame would be more visible on that side for some reason.

                    Considerations:

                      • Be conscious of the flame and your clothing during the Close Figure 8.
                      • Figure 8’s should be flat in front and behind you – this is important especially when dancing in a group (and when turning) to ensure everyone’s staffs are on the same plane.
                      • Be conscious of both your flame and others when turning.

                      MAYA (STAFF)

                      Basic (STAFF) Cue: Cue a slow, Close Figure 8 (Over) – begin the hips with the Figure 8.

                      Variations:

                        • Turn: cue – add the verbal cue for gradual turns “yeeeaahh” to the standard head turn cue – can turn to either direction, just begin the turn slowly and intentionally in case the follower(s) cannot see the direction of the head turn due to lighting, etc.
                        • Is typically done with the staff in the right hand, but can be done with the staff in the left hand – especially if you are in a position where the flame would be more visible on that side for some reason.

                        Considerations:

                          • Be conscious of the flame and your clothing during the Close Figure 8.
                          • Figure 8’s should be flat in front and behind you – this is important especially when dancing in a group (and when turning) to ensure everyone’s staffs are on the same plane.
                          • Be conscious of both your flame and others when turning.

                          ¾ SHIMMY WALK (STAFF)

                          Basic (STAFF) Cue: Begin a counter-clockwise Rotor (L hand dominant Rotor) and begin ¾ march w/ your right hip/foot.

                          Variations:

                            • Turn: cue – add the verbal cue for gradual turns “yeeeaahh” to the standard head turn cue – can turn to either direction, just begin the turn slowly and intentionally in case the follower(s) cannot see the direction of the head turn due to lighting, etc.
                            • Standard is a counter-clockwise Rotor … can also be done w/ a counter clockwise drop spin for the same effect.  Can be done w/ a clockwise Rotor for solos, etc – but doing this with a clockwise Rotor in formation in higher levels can signify that you are cueing for another move.

                            Considerations:

                              • The hands and feet (and, of course, hips) should BOTH be on beat … Feet opposite hands one hand, one foot.

                              SINGLES (STAFF)

                              Basic (STAFF) Cue: Lift staff in one hand out to side (usually R) and then in both hands behind hips.  Singles then begin on downbeat as staff is in place.

                              Variations:

                                • Turn: cue – add the verbal cue for gradual turns “yeeeaahh” to the standard head turn cue – can turn to either direction, just begin the turn slowly and intentionally in case the follower(s) cannot see the direction of the head turn due to lighting, etc
                                • Levels: cue – raise up slightly first to go down, Lower slightly first to go up … you can do this cue with your whole body, or just slightly with the staff – it is the fire that followers are going to see best either way.

                                Considerations:

                                  • Since the fire does not move much during this move, it is best used as an accent move.  It is also a good choice for when the fire is burned down.
                                  • Be careful of your placement of the staff behind your back – especially with higher flames.

                                  These materials are designed to be used in conjunction with in-class instruction, which includes safety training and further break down of movements. The authors assume no liability for your use of this material.

                                  TORCHES

                                  TORCH BASICS:

                                  TWIST MARCH W/ FIGURE 8

                                  Basic Cue: Arms begin Figure 8 to the right and down while right foot twists over toward the left.

                                  • Useful for burning off fuel

                                  • Useful for circling

                                  • Good showcase of high flame

                                  PADDLE TURN W/ ARMS

                                  Basic Cue: more often used as a solo move due to space – if you had space and wanted to cue it, you would begin facing left with arms extended directly out to the sides and start paddling very slowly with the right leg gradually raising the arms overhead picking up speed and then back down slowing back down.  As a solo move, the arms can be moved however the dancer wishes and at whatever speed.

                                  • Useful for burning off fuel

                                  Good showcase of high flame

                                  BASIC ARMS:

                                  Basic Cue: Center, begin with slow, big right arm. 

                                  Variations:

                                  • Various body / leg poses and angles – these should be led into slowly and purposefully and each pose should be completed before moving into another.

                                  • Travel: cue by leading with upper body and stepping out slowly (always start with right leg).

                                  • Turn: cue with head turn – gradual turn –  lead passes around formation for timing of move/turn until it returns to original position.

                                  • Levels: cue by briefly raising on toes just before starting to lower – then cue to rise by briefly lowering slightly farther just before starting to rise. Move slowly.

                                  Alterations for Torches:

                                  Standard Cue and Technique:

                                  • Arms will be bigger and faster than in standard tribal.  There is also a bit of an adjustment in shape.

                                  Variations:

                                  • Turn: cue is still w/ a head turn, due to limited visibility during fire performances, you can also add a verbal cue of yeeeaaahh (not required during torches – but will be a required cue for gradual turns if you move onto staff) and be sure to turn very slowly. 

                                  Considerations for Torches:

                                  • Be very aware of your position in relation to others during this move – especially during turns. 

                                  • Hand position is often very important and sometimes tricky depending on your torches and the height of the flame during this move.

                                  DOUBLES

                                  Basic Cue: Both arms come to frame right hip, right foot lifts up at the knee – there will be an exaggerated drawback before the first set of hip bumps.

                                  Variations:

                                  • Traveling: angle body as you step right foot forward.  Angles will swap as you travel.  Center when you reach the end. Then proceed to angle your right side back if you want to move back.

                                  • Turn: cue with head turn – 4 corner turn – 2 hip bumps right and left to each corner and then turn to the next corner.  Lead passes around formation for timing of the turns until returning to original position.

                                  Alterations for Torches:

                                  Standard Cue and Technique: none

                                  Variations:

                                  • Turn: cue is still w/ a head turn, due to limited visibility during fire performances, you can also add a verbal cue of a double yip (not required with torches – but will be a required cue for quarter turns if you move into staff).

                                  Considerations for Torches:

                                  • Be sure to hold hands far enough away from body to a) not let the flame get close to your clothing and b) provide enough of an angle in your arms so the flame doesn’t get near your forearm.

                                  • When the flame is higher, the hand/arm movement should be sharp.

                                  SINGLES

                                  Basic Cue: Arms in low hipwork position (arms down to sides and wrist bent, palms to floor) to signal to watch for hipwork.  Begin purposeful, steady singles – downbeat right.

                                  Variations:

                                  • With march or traveling – cue by lifting first (right) foot more exaggerated than otherwise.

                                  • Arms: after the initial cue for hipwork add arms as desired (moving through standard arm positions, floreos, etc) just be sure to keep hipwork steady unless you bring the arms back to cue for a change or cue another move.

                                  • Turn: cue with head turn – gradual turn – lead passes around formation for timing of move/turn until it returns to original position.

                                  • Levels: cue by briefly raising on toes just before starting to lower – then cue to rise by briefly lowering slightly farther just before starting to rise. Move slowly. (can add raising/lowering of the arms to this cue for additional visibility and depending on circumstances).  Basic principle of levels: up to go down, down to go up.  Pay attention to which level position the leader has their feet in (together, kickstand, lunge-prep) – it will tell you how far they intend to go down.

                                  Alterations for Torches:

                                  Standard Cue and Technique: none

                                  Variations:

                                  • Arms: arms should predominantly stay near hips to light them (if they move away from the hips, people will not be able to see what you are doing)

                                  • Turn: cue is still w/ a head turn, due to limited visibility during fire performances, you can also add a verbal cue of yeeeaaahh (not required during torches – but will be a required cue for gradual turns if you move onto staff) and be sure to turn very slowly.

                                  Considerations for Torches:

                                  • Be sure to hold hands far enough away from body to a) not let the flame get close to your clothing and b) provide enough of an angle in your arms so the flame doesn’t get near your forearm.

                                  • Because the arms do not move much in this move it is really an accent move – not one to stick with for extended periods of time.

                                  STAFF

                                  STAFF BASICS:

                                  ROTORS

                                  Basic Cue: Bring the staff horizontal in front of you with hands close together and make the first turn slow/exaggerated to show which direction the rotor will be, picking up speed gradually.

                                  • Can be done in either direction and overhead (also behind the back, at various angles, etc in future levels)

                                  • A basic ‘isolation’ included in other moves in the vocabulary – in those cases, the direction will be specified.

                                  • Good for burning off fuel

                                  • Good for showcasing high flame

                                  • Good for showcasing speed

                                  WEAVES

                                  Basic Cue: Bring the staff into one hand, pause slightly and make the first scoop of whichever weave you are going into slower and more exaggerated, picking up speed gradually from there. 

                                  • Can be done in either direction and either hand

                                  • Can be done fast or slow

                                  • A basic ‘isolation’ included in other moves in the vocabulary – in those cases, the direction and hand will be specified.

                                  • Good for burning off fuel

                                  • Good for showcasing high flame

                                  • Very large move

                                  FIGURE 8s

                                  Basic Cue: Bring the staff into one hand out to the side, pause slightly and make the first drop/scoop or whichever figure 8 you are going into slower and more exaggerated, picking up speed from there.

                                  • Can be done in either direction and either hand

                                  • Can be done fast or slow

                                  • Can be done close or extended and at most angles of the arm

                                  • A basic ‘isolation’ included in other moves in the vocabulary – in those cases, the direction and hand will be specified.

                                  • Good for burning off fuel

                                  • Good for showcasing high flame

                                  • Very tight/narrow move