Beginning this term, students now have the opportunity to practice poi spinning by joining the newly created club, Flow Arts. Poi spinning is one of the most common forms of a growing trend on campus, officially known as Flow Arts.
According to Flow Arts’ president sophomore Ally Connors, Flow Arts is a movement-based art form that integrates dancing, prop manipulation and creativity to explore the meditative state of “flow.” Contemporary fire dancing, poi spinning, taichi, circus arts and hula hooping are all deeply rooted in Flow Arts, heavily influencing every individual’s style.
“It’s the idea that when engaging in an activity for the sake of just doing it, you can achieve more with it,” Connors said. “You are placed into a trance movement like meditation.”
For the past few terms, Connors and her friends could often be seen practicing Flow Arts around campus. Freshmen Tom Trudeau and Sally Butzer, who were already participating in the recreational activity, began discussing the creation of an official club after a growing interest among students. However, it was all just an idea until Connors made it happen.
According to Connors, anybody interested in Flow Arts is welcome to join at anytime. All club meetings are scheduled to take place in the Auxiliary Gym on Sundays from 12:30-2:30 p.m., and there’s no experience necessary. While the largest group to attend a meeting has consisted of six students, Connors is confident there will be more students attending every meeting.
Although many of the group members do have a background in dance, individuals without experience are still encouraged to join; Flow Arts has more to offer than solely dance. For example, Connors and Butzer both use Flow Arts as a way to achieve a meditative state.
“It’s very meditative and calming,” said Butzer. “You get to move while meditating.”
Trudeau believes there is something inherently special in learning how to use Flow Arts. Even without any poi in his hands or with his eyes closed, Trudeau learned he could still spin. “It’s like teaching your body a new language,” he said.
While there was some concern about whether the club would be allowed to spin fire, it is not part of the club’s activities. Connors is still searching for a way to gain approval of spinning fire by possibly incorporating a waiver and wearing the appropriate gear.
While using fire is a goal to work toward, according to Connors fire is not the sole purpose for spinning, but an extension.
In the meantime, most of the group’s funding will be used to purchase new props and toys for members to experiment with. Some of the basic props included will be poi, square hoops and regular hoops for newcomers to try as they explore Flow Arts and discover what works best.
For the future, Connors expressed interest in incorporating performances where audience members could enjoy and learn more about flow arts. Trudeau mused that he would be interested in having a showcase where every performer could show off their skills. Performing at Galesburg schools as a community service project, or collaborating with music circles for improvised music and dancing were other possibilities mentioned by Connors.
While she hopes to bring Flow Arts to the community, Connors stressed that performance is not the primary goal of the club.
“You are doing something for the act of doing it,” Connors said. “It’s not for results.”