Local Fire Poi Performer Perfects Talent

2013-08-09
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Seany Starshine Fire Poi Performer
~Click Images to Enlarge~

According to Home of Poi, 'Poi' is the Maori word for 'ball' on a cord. Poi is a form of juggling where the balls are swung around the body. Poi can take many shapes and forms from LED lighted, Glow, Fabric, Sock and Fire. From its beginnings Poi had the purpose of enhancing dance and rhythm. It was soon realized that Poi swinging had several other benefits from wrist strength, flexibility and improving co-ordination to name a few. Mastering simple Poi moves can quickly improve self-esteem and gain respect from others. Hence the reason it quickly becomes addictive. And like all performance arts you are only limited by your imagination.

To find a talented Poi Performer you need to look no further than Berks County.

Sean Sargent, a sixth grader in the Muhlenburg School District, was seven years old when he first saw people performing Fire Poi at the National Rainbow Family Gathering of Living Light at Allegheny National Forest, in Pennsylvania in July 2010.

Fire poi use wicks for the weighted ends (often made using Kevlar). The bottom flap of the wick is sewn with Kevlar thread, which ensures the wick has a longer life. The wicks are soaked in fuel, set on fire, and then spun for dramatic effect.

A few months after Sean saw people performing Fire Poi at the National Rainbow Family Gathering of Living Light he saw another group of people who were doing Fire Poi at The Love and Peace March that is held each October by the Reading Area Peace Kitchen. The group was making plans to form a group of fire performers. Sean's mother offered to host the practices at her house and that is when Sean began practicing with the group. The group called themselves the "Salamandrine Fire Tribe."

When asked what made him become interested in Fire Poi, Sean answered, "I just picked it up as if I was born to spin. I'm a natural, so I just stuck with it and practiced a lot at first."

Sean's performance name is "Seany Starshine." His first professional performance was at the Berk's County Earth Day Celebration when he was 8 years old. Since then Sean has performed at many events. A few of his most recent events include spinning to the Flux Capacitor Band at the Reading Bandshell, the National Rainbow Gathering in 2012, the Berks County Earth Day in 2013, and the Fahrenheit Flow Arts Festival at the Schuylkill Valley Fairgrounds in 2013.

When asked what his favorite performance was, Sean answered, "Last year's National Rainbow Family Gathering in Tennessee was my best and favorite performance because I was surrounded by good family, lots of Native Americans playing their tribal music, and immediately afterward, I received a beautiful sacred blessing ceremony from a Shaman from that tribe. It left a very strong impression on me that I will always remember."

Austin McCue and Nick Serpa of the "Salamandrine Fire Tribe" were Sean's first mentors. The "Salamandrine Fire Tribe" has pretty much dissolved since some members have gone off to join the circus while others got super busy with their college education. Sean now learns by asking other performers for a lesson when he sees them at shows. Sean practices at least 20-30 minutes a day, most days. He says, "I have a stereo in my room so I normally use that while I'm practicing at home."

The group that he most enjoys performing with nowadays is Cosmic Karma Fire out of Oneotna, NY because the members of that tribe always treat him like one of their own and teach him lots of new moves while they are together.

Sean said he used to get a bit nervous before some of his first performances but not very often anymore.

Sean's mom and dad are very supportive. Sean said, "They took me to the Fahrenheit Fire and Flow Arts Festival this summer so that I could learn new skills and be surrounded with other fire performers. My mom even started spinning fire staff this summer, so she's following in my footsteps."

When asked who inspires him, he answered, "My parents because I like making them proud."

Sean plans on continuing to perform poi. He is also an avid skateboarder and parkour performer as well. Parkour is a holistic training discipline using movement that developed out of military obstacle course training. Practitioners aim to move quickly and efficiently past obstacles in their environment, using only their bodies and their surroundings to propel themselves; furthermore, they try to maintain as much momentum as is possible in a safe manner. Parkour can include running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, and rolling depending on what movement is deemed most suitable for the given situation.

Sean's "Seany Starshine" Facebook page is located at www.facebook.com/seanystarshine

To book a performance with "Seany Starshine" go to his Facebook page www.facebook.com/seanystarshine or contact his mom at 610-401-6538.

You can catch "Seany Starshine" performing Poi at the 2013 Evolvefest this Labor Day weekend August 30th - September 1 at 9 pm, and performing skateboard in the Exeter Extreme Games on September 14th!

Seany Starshines Favorite Video (above)

 

 

 

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