Mar 7, 2020
Inspired by the month of February, so often associated with love, join in an episode that examines the love of flow! Compiled from all the interviews since the creation of the Art of Flow in 2018, jump into hearing individuals flow stories, what keeps folks spinning, why fire-dancing and flow arts is important in their lives. Ask yourself, what creative outlets do you have and what do they bring to your life?
Photo Credits for cover art
Top Right: Photo of Dresden Blue by Juan Davila
Top Middle: Photo of Duncan Greenwood
Top Left: Photo of Troy Grisa
Bottom Left: Photo of Aileen Lawlor by Jerimiah Johnston
Bottom Middle: Photo of Xander Paris
Bottom Right: Photo of Dyami Kaplan
Ronan McLoughlin: [00:00:00] Depending on how I'm feeling on a particular day, I'm either going to be more predisposed to stress or can be more resilient. And that goes down to the basis of how my system operates, I feel. So whether that's how my physical body is working. Have I been, have I been using that well, have I've been doing good things for that so that things are running smoothly with that basis. Then also for all the different aspects of my mind as well. So have I been using my mind well. What if I could consuming. With my body and my brain. What are you putting into this? This mix that makes that makes me up and if I keep putting in good wholesome stuff and leads to more wholesome results. If I've been putting in less wholesome stuff, I get less wholesome result. So I think does a lot of stuff, Can we kind of invest in that? Can we try to take care or ourselves, I guess?
Morgan Dolginow: [00:00:56] Ronan is an innovative poi spinner that travels the world teaching and performing? He is the originator of Contact Poi and has spoken on Ted X about learning to learn. That was an excerpt from Ronan McLoughlin's episode on Awareness in which he discusses self-care. Keeping that in mind, how have we been taking care of ourselves? How can we make sure that we are consuming something that fulfills us? What about what we are listening to? In honor of the month of February, so often focused on love, whether it be relationships, self-love, appreciating friends and family are loving to observe the hallmark industrial capitalistic takeover of holidays present and marketing around us, you know, whenever floats your boat,
Morgan Dolginow: [00:01:41] I wanted to take a moment to examine our love of flow. So many wonderful individuals have spoken about flow and their lives, flow arts, dancing, creativity and what inspires them since the Art of Flow began in 2018. What do they share that reminds us why we love flow? Let's listen, and as an extra challenge, can you pick out what episode each person was in? If you can figure it out, post your answer on the Art of Flow group on Facebook, where you can connect with other listeners and maybe you'll earn a prize.
Tani Olhanski: [00:02:17] My name's Tani. Poi was kind of like I have to spin this to be able to spin fire. It was never like that love at first sight, I held these things in my hand and was like, "Ahhh, this is it" and one day one of my friends calls me up and he's like, "Hey, I found this group of people in Dolores Park" and I was like, "what?" She was like, "they are like spinning poi and stuff, they're like, doing your thing that you do and you should go hang out with them. Practice with them." It's like, yeah. Where are they? And so I went down and it was DoloFlow. And so I started going and I think it was either my first or second day there,
Tani Olhanski: [00:02:54] someone I don't remember who was had a dragonstaff and I picked up and was like, oooo I like this. And I spent the whole day spinning it and I was hooked from then. Every time I was around dragonstaff, I grab one. And then that opened the floodgates where everything else that came after.
[00:03:15] Aileen discovered an enthusiasm towards the flow arts after moving to San Francisco in 2004 and delving into the practice of Poi, contact staff, and flow wand.
Aileen Lawlor: [00:03:24] We drove to the Rainbow Gathering, it happened in a random national park throughout the country. And this time we were lucky because it was pretty close by. So this must have been in '98, 1998. You know, it's just like this total hippie fest where everyday's camping out, and I remember seeing this girl spend fire poi right as the sun was going down and it just it clicked for me. There's something about the fire, there was something about the movement that felt like, "OK, this is the type of movement that my body can do." And I had a feeling that I was gonna be able to do it well. So I knew that, that was the thing that I wanted to do in the future. When I moved to San Francisco in 2004, I went with the specific goal of learning fire poi to enhance my resumé as an actor. So studying acting in New York and I thought, okay, I'm gonna go, I'm gonna learn fire poi. That'll be a cool thing to put on my resumé. It'll give me an edge and then I'll go back to New York and keep studying theater. Little did I know it was gonna take a little bit longer than a month to learn poi. And so I start taking classes in San Francisco and I ended up staying in San Francisco, clued into the fire community that was meeting up and connecting with all these different people that were really part of a very early fire scene before the word flow was even in the picture.
Morgan Dolginow: [00:04:45] What is flow? Why do you love it?
Lane Lilliquist: [00:04:48] Why do I spin? It's a practice. It has taught me more about my body than I could have ever imagined. It has brought more amazing people into my life than I could have ever imagined. And then in other aspects, like, what's it like when you live life in your healthy, and you're capable of doing all the things you want to do. It's awesome! You know I just can't describe it too much differently. Like when you go when you have energy for what seems like a marathon of running around the city all day on top of that it's like an amazing art form to witness. And I like that pur suit of perfection, the practice, the refinement, the honing skills, getting lines straight, you know, getting stalls in the point that I mean them to be catching and tosses in all the different variations that exist. That aspect really gives me a sense that I'm pursuing mastery. And I think that that's an important aspect kind of in anybody's life.
Morgan Dolginow: [00:05:50] Kevin has pioneered various techniques and fire and flow photography for over 10 years.
Kevin LeVezu: [00:05:55] Actually, one of the things I love about working with fellow artists and photographing them is they're looking at the world in a different way than I am, and they're looking at things that I don't even see. And so I love being around flow artists because they see an ideal world that I don't see. I'm older, and so in my world, you get a lot more practical, and the hope and the dreams that you see in flow artists are so much fun and one of the main reasons I love collaborating and working with them.
Morgan Dolginow: [00:06:24] Britney has traveled to Austria for the World Body Championships, taught body painting at Burning Man, and has painted faces of hundreds of kids and adults alike. She is also an accomplished world travelling, hooping fire dancer.
Brittany Isphording: [00:06:38] Flow arts has really helped me heal a lot of deep seated wounds and I really enjoy sharing that with other people.
Morgan Dolginow: [00:06:45] Dresden in an artist exploring the expressive potential of combining martial arts, circus and fine arts.
Dresden Blue: [00:06:51] The early years it was, it was finding a way to express a lot of things that had been bottled up for a really long time in my life and building like a vocabulary that let me see those things in a way that I couldn't really with words. You know, with various romantic partnerships I had sometimes it's like had a . . . it's been a way to really deeply connect with another body as well as with the prop where you're able to get that kind of that that amazing sense of proprioception, not just for the prop, but with another person and able to really transfer like a really deep level of like somatic information back and forth to each other while you have this amazing fiery thing spinning around you at the same time. At other points, it's been a way for me to help other people heal, too, especially in doing private lessons in one at ones. You know, you can kind of start to delve into why people are wanting to learn these things and oftentimes it's it's because they want to feel empowered. They want to find a way to feel seen. And that's really powerful.
Morgan Dolginow: [00:07:52] Veronica was introduced to then entrancing world of hooping seven years ago following the sudden loss of her best friend. Using flow arts as a means to transcend her earthly frustrations and sorrows, the art form has not only allowed a new avenue of creativity, but a positive outlet to be a role model and use for inspiring artist and dancers.
Veronica Stein: [00:08:13] I tend to get lost in the details, I really love realism. I like doing spaces and animals and things like that. And so when I can really get in those details in that shading, I completely forget that I'm on a canvas sometimes until they move or speak. And it it's it's pretty fun because I do do flow arts. I actually started flow arts before I started body painting. And I do get that same we get sucked into the moment and you're just swept up in what you're doing, what you're creating. And it's really cool when you come out of it and you're like, oh, wow, that's what I just created.
Rion Fish: [00:08:53] I'm Rion Fish, and I am a movement artist, variety entertainer and you know fish about time. Flow state kind of feels like very connected to things, we know what's going to happen, before it happens, I always think of the flow state like the spidey sense, of being slightly aware of what we're going to do before you do it, in operating at your peak condition. It's a little bit like being high on life.
Morgan Dolginow: [00:09:17] Xander's life passion is martial, flow, and performance arts. He grew up involved in martial arts at a Muay Thai gym, years of dance classes, and theater which sparked his interest and movement, rhythm, and performance.
Xander Paris: [00:09:30] Mentally, it really helped me by learning I can tackle challenges and really cementing my my determination, like putting things together new ways. And it really is like a big confidence boost to really see yourself improve. And it's a noticeable improvement, too, unlike, you know, your height, right? You grow a fraction of a fraction of an inch every day and you never notice when you're tall. But with flow arts, you get a move and all of sudden, you know that you can do that and you can see the progress.
Morgan Dolginow: [00:09:58] I'm talking to Ty Roachford, the founder of Pop Dance Culture, an online resource hub and social media platform for fellow artist and those interested in learning prop dance fusion. He is also a student of neuroscience and an avid poi spinner.
Ty Roachford: [00:10:13] Sometimes I will reward myself with just going like, okay, I'm going to work on this all day and then when I'm done, I'm going to go and do like flow arts stuff or just like spin, you know, like get into my own head and zone and just move around. Yeah, the feeling. It is my way to think about things that are not even related to flow. It is a meditative practice. So even if I'm not feeling like spinning, I'm feeling like meditating and getting into the zone and feeling like creative in some totally other different thing. I will go to that place that prop spinning, meditative place.
Morgan Dolginow: [00:10:52] Richard is among the most distinguished American contact jugglers. He both teaches and performs along the West Coast and overseas at Indie stages to huge festivals.
Richard Hartnell: [00:11:04] But I realized that in the same way that I need to eat from different food groups to keep my body from falling apart. And I need to run different social scenes to keep myself from falling apart. That music wasn't going to be enough. They could just play music every month let that be my only escape. And then I started wondering what the food groups of the creative experience, what are the food groups of flow states, right? And I thought, gosh, well I got music, and I have writing and I have cooking. What else have I got?
Richard Hartnell: [00:11:32] Now I've got this pharmacopoeia medicine or something, like psychedelics or something is like a part of like inducing these mystical ego-less states. Then I realize, movement. I don't have a movement art that I do well. Well, I'm not a martial artist. Not a dancer, like I used to play sports as a kid but I didn't really care about them. So I quit.
Richard Hartnell: [00:11:50] So I came home having meeting some circus people, and then I went to see a circus show that had happened here at RenFaire show that fall. And I went to see their show And during their show I realized, just like me as a DJ, they are also encoding psychedelic messages in their art, but they're also using art to spread a message of harmony, mysticism and inspiration and progress and beauty and joy. And I'm like, god we are on the same team. They don't even know! And I ran up about the show was done. Completely starry eyed. Found my friend Jocelyn and I was like "Jocelyn how do I get involved in this?" She's like, go talk to that juggler over there. And I went to that juggler over there, and I was like "Hey, man, Jocelyn says I should talk with you about how to get involved in this thing?" and he's like "through juggling club."
Morgan Dolginow: [00:12:38] Troy picked up a spinning poi in college that has been going ever since. A flow arts fanatic currently living in Portland, Oregon, learning water to move props each year.
Troy Grisa: [00:12:47] I went with a friend to a World Beat's night, just at a local bar in Milwaukee, and you know the bass was thumping and the drinks were flowing. And I'm standing at the bar just kind of standing awkwardly, like too cool for school, just observing, and across the room, flies an object and wraps perfectly around my leg like a tentacle. With a sharp reaction, I bent over to pick it up. I didn't know what it was at the time. I was a podpoi and I picked it up, but I couldn't believe what I was holding in my hands. Incredible, glowing, pulsing, like I said, tentacle.
Troy Grisa: [00:13:20] And I held it out at arm's length, studying it. When a dreadlocked wook came up to me, and said, "Hey, man," flicked back his dreads, "that's mine." With a huge grin I handed it back to him, and he, for lack of a better word, slithered back into the crowd while spinning it and keeping his eyes locked time. Obviously he was playing a part of being goofy with it, but I proceeded to watch him flow, and within 10 seconds of that happening, I took out my phone, typed in poi beginner set. . .
Morgan Dolginow: [00:13:51] Meet Duncan Roy Greenwood, a flow artist from Cape Town, South Africa. He has spent much of his life trying to promote the flow arts, sharing it and getting others involved in the flow community. He created the flow arts commune Africa Burn, similar to Burning Man conclave in the US.
Duncan Greenwood: [00:14:09] And now, I realize that you can make art using dance and math and juggling at the same time and photography to do it.So that is like a technical sort of equipment kind of aspects to learning how how light is captured. So this to me now is all of a sudden seemed like the ultimate form.
Duncan Greenwood: [00:14:38] And I specifically then went and learnt how to spin poi, so that I could learn antispin, so that I could transfer antispin to my flower stick repertoire of techniques and I developed buzzsaw antispin fountain with flower sticks. By that time I started getting kind of good, or at least more comfortable with poi, and that become more comfortable to me than sticks.
Morgan Dolginow: [00:15:07] Isa founded Temple of Point in 2002, a school community supporting artists, cultivating flow practices designed to empower them to better understand themselves, the world around them and how to interrelate through the use of poi dancing and other flow tools.
Isa Isaacs: [00:15:24] I just had this transcendent moment where I was dancing and the poi just happened to be swinging around me as a part of the dance and it just something happened where for the whole flow on the Playa, and I just transcended me, and I was expressing the music.
Morgan Dolginow: [00:15:42] Dyami Kaplan is a performer, flow arts teacher, a massage therapist from Santa Cruz, California.
Dyami Kaplan: [00:15:49] The most effective ways that I've ever seen for this firm to grow is for us to continue to offer knowledge around it and offer learning around it as freely as possible. And there's definitely been a few ways that we do that. We've always tried to have an emphasis at the spin jam gatherings of not only sharing very freely with each other what we are excited about, but also welcoming in and having a very strong emphasis on inclusion with anyone who shows the interest in those shows up and like, "hey, what is this? What are you doing this? This looks interesting." And I think a lot of us recognize that it's really important if anyone ever comes to us like time to be, this is what it is. Here, try it and let me put this in your hands. Try it for yourself. Here's some things that you can do with it. And that's kind of the really important initial layer of it. And then beyond just offering classes as much as possible, whether that's classes, if anyone's inspired to teach in any format in the towns that they live in or if they have information that they're feeling inspired to share at the gatherings, the flow arts festivals and the firedancing gatherings.
Morgan Dolginow: [00:17:05] Jilly Bee first picked up poi in the form of glow sticks and string's when she was 16, volunteering in a youth organization. She now spends much of her time cultivating community through interacting, connecting with its people. Much of her time in our circle is focused on organizing, leading, designing and facilitating community discussions on the future of our art.
Jilly Bee: [00:17:24] When you're engaging in an activity that is bringing you present, the moment is very much an exercise. So you're exercising this big massive muscle and is able to move and work together when you're stimulating the creative side of your minds. The more you do that. That's a muscle. So the more you tap into that creative part of yourself, that part of yourself that can play, that does play, that does explore, and that is able to create a stronger it gets. It's really sad. I dare to say there's some people that go through their whole lives without stimulating that part of them. To them, creativity is characteristic of people who make art. And art is something you have to be really good at and you get paid to do. It's like this weird stigma. No, every single human being on this planet is inherently creating.
Morgan Dolginow: [00:18:11] But what about me? Why am I creating this podcast. How did I get into the flow arts? I broke up with my first love and I realized that I did not really know what love was. I had somewhere along the line had stopped loving myself. And through spinning, all those hours spent alone, exploring space and through self-expression,
Morgan Dolginow: [00:18:37] I remembered what it was, reached out and found community. Thanks to everyone who shared in this podcast episode why they love flow, how they first encountered it, what it means in their lives, and what it's bringing to the table. I challenge you to ask yourself, what does it mean to you? How are you providing yourself outlets for creativity?
Morgan Dolginow: [00:19:04] Thank you for listening to the Art of Flow. You can find more episodes on i-Tunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, Google Play or by visiting TheArtofFlowpodcasts.com. We love to hear from you, so feel free to send questions and podcast suggestions to TheArtofFlowpodcast@gmail.com. Also, running a podcast takes money to distribute it and ensure quality storytelling. The Art of Flow remains free thanks to the support of patrons, listeners like you who support the podcast monthly on Patreon. There are different types of support, all have varying members only benefits, such as access to full, unedited interviews, a chance to have your name included at the end of an undisclosed episode as part of a poll. Opportunity to submit your burning questions to be asked to specific individuals in their interviews and much more. So please click on the picture and link in the showed us below to find out more.
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