What is LED Poi?
LED Poi is a form of illuminated performance art, and is one of the most well known flow arts. Flow Arts combine many different disciplines including dance, fire-spinning, and juggling. To fully understand what LED Poi is, you must first understand what poi is. As a performance art, poi involves spinning tethered weights in a variety of rhythmical and geometric patterns. Poi originated from within the Maori tribes in New Zealand, and has since expanded and evolved all over the world.
Poi can be crafted from just about any material, which has lead to the development of LED poi, which has become increasingly popular throughout the rave community and EDM festival culture. An LED or glow poi set will typically consist of two objects that either light up or glow, attached to each other on strings. LED Poi can be found in the shape of balls, pods, or nunchucks. Some of the more modern sets of LED poi include Space Whips or Space Sabers. LED poi are often referred to as flow toys.
Why Perform With LED Poi?
Like any art, the purpose of LED poi and flow arts is to express yourself, and to have fun while you are doing it. One of the unique things about poi is that it utilizes the movement of your entire body. This makes poi spinning an extremely healthy activity. Not only does poi exercise your body, it also exercises your mind. While performing, you must be mentally aware of all of your movements and surroundings. This connection of the mind and body makes performing with LED poi very comparable to activities such as Yoga and Tai Chi.
Basic Techniques Used in a LED Poi Performance
- Holding Poi: The performer must utilize a grip on the string that is both secure and easy to release. Another alternative to hold the string is to instead hold a strap or a handle. Handles can be made from many different materials, including wood or metal.
- Spinning: To spin the poi, start with your dominant hand and begin to swing either forward or backward. This is the basis of all poi techniques. If you are swinging the ball forward, your palm should be facing downward. If you are swinging the ball backward, your palm should be facing up. Your thumbs should be tucked in a little bit to avoid snagging the string/rope. Rather than focusing on swinging your poi quickly, you should focus on swinging it rhythmically, especially if you are performing alongside music. Try to make your poi reach its peak on-beat with the music. Once you are in motion, make sure that your swing is vertical. The next step from here is to start spinning the other end of the poi. You will want to be able to spin both in rhythm with each other, without hitting yourself or the ground. Practice spinning both forward and backward.
Intermediate Techniques Used in a LED Poi Performance
- Crosses: Doing a cross is simple. It’s just like spinning, except that you incorporate a cross body motion with your spin. You will want to spin the poi across your body, and then back again, alternating each end of the poi. Make sure that when you do this you start with your dominant hand. Rotate your wrist as the poi travels across your body, this will help you be able to keep the poi continually in motion.
- Turning: This technique involves turning your body 180 degrees, but continuing to spin the poi in the same direction that they were. To give yourself more time to turn, extend your arm and pivot the elbow instead of the wrist, this essentially extends the length of the rope. Alternatively, if you want to do faster turns, pull the rope closer to you.
- Butterfly: The poi are swung in a forwards direction in phase with each other. The hands are then both moved in front of the swinger so that the poi traverse in a circle in front of the spinner, the left poi spinning clockwise, the right poi counter-clockwise. The trick is to slightly offset the angles of the poi to prevent them from colliding as they cross at the top and bottom of their respective circles. This move can be performed in two different directions.
The Evolution of Modern Glow Poi
Modern poi borrows from many other physical arts, such as flow arts, juggling, and a variety of forms of dance. Modern LED poi, or glow poi, contain a light source attached to each end of a string or chain, and is often performed in the dark to create a dramatic effect. LED poi and glow poi has become exceedingly popular at large festivals such as Burning Man, and juggling conventions. LED poi originated from the popularity of glow sticks at raves, and has evolved into more advanced forms of flow arts, such as the Space Baton.
The Space Baton Poi Set
GloFX has taken LED poi technology one step further, with the addition of the Space Baton. The Space Baton is a specially modified version of the Space Saber, meant specifically for flow performances. Instead of utilizing just one blade, the Space Baton consists of two smaller Space Sabers connected via a metal chain. The Space Baton features the world’s most advanced LED technology, and utilizes the highest quality fiber optics and parts. Each Space Baton features an aluminum powerhouse and 36 strobing, flashing and multicolor modes. This flow toy was built from the ground up by flow experts to ensure that it provides the most unique performance possible.
Why Use GloFX LED Poi?
Like all GloFX products, our LED Poi Sets are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and Space Batons are backed by a lifetime warranty. Since 2009, our team has strived to produce the highest quality rave gear, and our LED Poi are absolutely no exception. In 2016 GloFX launched its Space Baton as a part of its Space Saber line, in an attempt to make one of the most ambitious LED Poi flow toys yet. GloFX is absolutely committed to furthering the art of flow, and all other aspects of rave culture.