Art. Love. Light
This is Fire Dancing!


Fire dancing.

It's a fascinating art form.

And on any given night - in the bumping beach town of Montezuma... practitioners take to el centro - a mesmerizing display of music... of dance - and wielding a unique variety of tools...

Of fire manipulation...

Fire Dancing Dragons
Fire Dancing Balance
Fire Dancing Hoop Lights
Fire Dancing School
Fire Dancing Staff

Poi Practitioners and Their Fire Dragons
Eli Monte Zuma, a Balancing Act
Streaking Neon Hoops - at The Montezuma Gathering
Poi Class in Session...
Epic Fire Staffing

The art itself goes way back... rooted in places like Polynesia and Samoa.

Fire Dancing Fire Eating
Eli Monte Zuma

And now - all over the world, it's as popular as ever... practiced at workshops, raves, beach parties, and other events.

A likely influence for its tremendous popularity - as many give credit - is Burning Man.

A festival of art, and radical self expression - it takes place yearly in the Nevada desert.

Well today - wanting to learn more, I met up with Eli - passionate as he is talented about the art... here in Montezuma...

So please, come along... click on any of the following links to learn more!


The Art   |   Eli Monte Zuma   |   In Video!   |   The Gathering






The Art

It's an art form that comes by a number of different names...

Fire Dancing
Spinning, Twirling, Manipulating...

Fire twirling.

Fire spinning.

Fire manipulation.

And of course - as it's most commonly referred to as...

Fire dancing!

Here, practitioners choose from a variety of unique fire-wielding tools - many of which they create themselves.

One such tool for example, is poi...

Fire Dancing Poi
Poi

A very popular approach to the art, in poi - the reactionary swings two chains around like flails - each one about arm's length.

Another common tool, is the staff - traditionally, a popular weapon in the martial arts. Made from either metal or wood, you'll often see dancers wield two at the same time.

Devil sticks... another favorite - involve three small sticks. Two of these sticks (one in each hand) - are used to manipulate the third stick - both its ends on fire.

And yes, these are a *just a few* of the various 'tools of the trade'.

In each case...

Fire Dancing the Staff
Wielding Two Staffs Simultaneously...

...bundles of wick are ignited with some type of fuel - paraffin oil (kerosene) is common... making possible, the wonderful display, that is fire dancing.

But of course...

It's the practitioner her or himself - who ultimately brings this craft to life.

Coupled with the right beat, skilled practitioners come into their element - becoming one with the fire they wield.

And on that note, there's someone I'd like you to meet...



Meet Eli Monte Zuma

Catching up with Eli, three years now, a resident of Montezuma... today there was a unique opportunity to learn even more - about the art of fire manipulation.

Fire Dancing Eli Montezuma
Eli Monte Zuma

Going back aways... it feels like yesterday.

Walking into the center of town for the very first time...

A large crowd had formed - right at the "T" intersection - directly in front of Chicos Bar...

And in the very middle...

There was Eli - spinning and dancing away with a fellow practitioner... flames streaking in every direction.

Incredible site!

Fire Dancing Street
Another Night in Montezuma...

As we got talking - Eli recounted a pivotal moment in his experiences with fire dancing...

Walking along the street - in his hometown of Alajuela some four years ago... he recalled meeting a couple of artisans, both spinning fire - his first encounter ever, with poi.

Fire Dancing Circles
Eli Spinning Poi...

Asking to try... it was something that came naturally.

Spinning poi for the very first time (and with fire!)... he was hooked.

Quite the memorable experience, these two artisans became his teachers.

And at the very same time...

Eli - versed in other disciplines, such as devil sticks... became theirs as well.

It was a win-win for all involved - learning... sharing... enjoying!

And truly, as Eli continued... this is what it's all about.

In this art - you're always meeting new, interesting, amazing!!! people. And through each meeting, you learn new styles, tricks, techniques, etc.

Sharing what you know...

Fire Dancing Juggle
Practicing Juggling With a Friend on the Beach...

It's a beautiful thing!

...

As Eli pointed out... if you want to get into the art - then go for it!

Fire Dancing Exchange
Sharing Fire

Talk to someone who spins.

Ask if you can try.

Stick with it.

Practice... repeat... practice... repeat...

And most of all!...

Enjoy! :-)

In the art of fire dancing - as with pretty much everything in life!... it's all about loving what you do. If you're smiling while doing it -- then everything is good.

It's really something else - as he continued...

Sometimes while practicing - whether with a teacher, or just on your own... you'll come across something you didn't expect - a new trick or sequence for example...

Fire Dancing Lights
Practice - and Enjoyment... Makes Perfect!

But getting right down to the core...

There's something about fire dancing - something absolutely necessary, to take your craft to that next level.

Movement.

As Eli exhibits in each performance - incorporating the disciplines of ballet, latin dance - and even martial arts...

Movement - is the glue. And speaking of which...

TICR Videos - This is Fire Dancing!

...

His next poi class beginning soon, there was still one question - I really wanted to ask...

So Eli... what intrigues you the most about fire dancing?

Fire Dancing Swirl
Wooooooooooosh!

Well for one, as he put it...

The sound.

Fire wooshing past your ear, progressively faster and faster...

It's a feeling like no other.

And it's this sound - coupled with an element of fear - the knowledge of just how close you are to danger...

That truly completes the experience.

Transcend this fear, and only bliss remains.




And there you have it...

Thanking Eli for meeting up - he was off to class to teach poi -- the same thing he taught in a workshop not too long ago - at the first-ever Montezuma Gathering...




The Montezuma Gathering

Earlier this year - April to be exact, the Montezuma Gathering was held for the first time ever, a festival presented by the local South Nicoya Burners, the Esquela del Sol, and the Anamaya Resort.

Quite the experience...

Fire Dancing Montezuma Gathering
The Montezuma Gathering

...artists from all over the globe - journeyed to Montezuma, Puntarenas - for this extravaganza.

Fire dancing included - a number of workshops were offered... subjects like yoga, healing arts, lifestyle - and even the circus arts, incorporating various styles of music and dance.

Organized by Angela Boltz and Thomas Kaulingfrecks - very nice job guys! :-) - this six-day long event...

From the beaches...

Fire Dancing Beach
Beaches... Perfect Stage for Fire Dancing

Back into town...

Fire Dancing Chico's
A Performance at Chicos Bar

To an all-night fiesta amidst the palms...

Fire Dancing Hoop
Streaks of Neon Surround Dancers at an All-Night Fiesta!

And even to high atop Montezuma...

Fire Dancing Anamaya
A Silk Dance in Session at the Montezuma Gathering...

...was a huge success!

And an amazing time at that.




And so ends another recount - interesting experiences unfolding here on the Rich Coast...

Fire Dancing Montezuma
Just Another Epic Night in Montezuma

Until next time!