Article edited and authored by Carisa Hendix.
Poi spinning is a skill toy in which a ball (or balls) are fixed to a length of cord, fabric or chain, in order to be swung in circular patterns. Poi was originally one of the traditional performance styles of the Māori people in New Zealand. Since then it has become a core of the prop manipulation community and has developed a wide range or moves, styles and variations.
In Māori the term poi can mean the physical props, the tricks and movements or the accompanying music.Huata, Ngāmoni (2000), Te Rita Papesch, ed., The rhythm and life of poi, Auckland: HarperCollins, ISBN 1-86950-273-6, pg 12The Maori women most commonly practice poi, although It is believed that poi was first developed by men to increases the flexibility of their wrists for the use of hand weapons such as the club-like patu, mere, and kotiate; Poi Dance, TKI but academic studies have found no evidence of this.Paringatai, Karyn (2004). Poia mai taku poi: Unearthing the knowledge of the past. Masters thesis, University of Otago.
Traditional Māori poi comes in two forms: short, with strings equal to the length of the fingertips to the wrist; and long, with strings equal to the distance from fingertips to shoulder. Poi Dance, TKI The art includes storytelling and singing choreographed to poi routines, and used together with other disciplines, such as waiata a ringa, haka, and titi torea.
In the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century a cottage industry developed from the manufacture of raupō poi for sale to tourists, especially in the Rotorua area. Miniatures such as buttonhole poi and earrings were among the variations produced for sale.
Most People Spinning Fire
The most people spinning fire is 112 participants in an event organised by The Arts Factory Lodge in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia, on 14 August 2010. GuinnessWorldRecords.com
History of Poi by PlayPoi.com
A Glimpse of Flow with G
Costa Rica Flow
List of Poi Tricks and Categories
Note: This is a basic list of tricks, styles and types of poi moves. There are a great many individual poi tricks and transition, and the list is constantly growing. For a more comprehensive and complete list of poi tricks we suggest you take online or local poi spinning classes.
It is best to learn simple moves and then gradually move to more advanced moves. Do not forget to work on transitions between different moves and planes. Many find it helpful to practice spinning their poi to music in order to keep a smooth cadence or rhythm.
- The Weave
- 2-beat weave
- 2-beat weave backwards
- Variations: 2 beat weave
- 3-beat basic weave
- 3-beat weave backwards
- Transition: Linking forwards & backwards weaves
- Transition: Turning with the Weaves
- 3-beat behind the back weave
- 4-beat weave
- 1.5 beat weave (aka the not 1.5 beat weave)
- Anti-spin weave
- 5-beat weave
- 5 beat weave wrist-wrap
- 7-beat weave
- 9-beat weave
- The Butterfly
- Contact Poi
Build up -A split time same direction reel above head, same motion as the corkscrew but vertical instead of horizontal.
Extensions (full and half), 360 (pirouette), 180 (half turn), 4 beat, fountain (using 4 beats, high behind head, low in front), isolated
Contact poi is a class of moves where one or both poi are released from the hand and manipulated with other parts of the body. These moves are generally derived from staff and devilstick moves, and require poi with counter-weighted handles.
Build up/description ~ with any tangle, the poi need to be on slightly atomic/perpendicular planes in order to intersect. Tangles are much easier when both sides of the nexus (tangle point) are equal because then the momentum of each poi is even, marking the center of the poi will help with this. In order for your poi to intersect, each poi has to be on a slightly different (perpendicular) plane from each other so that they will be able to cross each other’s path
Air-wraps (from lockout, from butterfly. can be done from outside to inside or from inside to outside. They tangle and then untangle, there is no point in which your are tied up and cannot come out, if you do a continuous airwrap, it tangles then untagles every beat. As arashi says, theres no polar point.), hyperloops (horizontal side to side, front to back, vertical side to side, up and down, split time same direction, same time opposite direction, split time opposite direction. Air-wrap on one side of your body, bring the nexus (tangle point) across an axis, and then continue on to the other side of your body to let the poi unwind. It is the same principle as with any concept in poi that you wind up on one side and unwind on the other. An air-wrap in the wall plane (in the simplest sense) is a two beat tangle that moves from outside to inside. A hyperloop takes that tangle and moves it a further distance before letting it unwind on the other side.), btb hyperloops, orbitals, whip catch (toss one poi and snag it with the other),
Vertical, horizontal, isolated, fountains (moves in a circle on the wall plane), summersalt, inverted, spiral wrap, behind the back, under the leg,
When both poi are spinning in split timing with hands together and poi are between the arms or “inside”
The poi is thrown against a part of the body (generally the leg or opposite arm), rotates around it, flies off, and is caught again.
The poi is released, and kept spinning in place by spinning the hand in a small circle, with the wrist pressing against the chain close to the weighted handle.
The poi is thrown, then its direction is repeatedly changed by rebounding it from the hand or wrist. The poi is caught close to the handle, but not grasped. If done cleanly the poi will be stalled for only a fraction of a second before recoiling.
The poi is thrown and caught in opposite hands, then thrown forward causing the head of the poi to orbit the chain or neck.
Build up/description ~ poi swing back and forth without making a full circle around the hand
Low, high, extension (opposite/same direction), 1.5s (hybrid of pendulums and regular spins. one unit circle apart (poi heads meet), zero units apart (hands together)), btb 1.5, waistwrap 1.5, butterfly 1.5, pendulum hybrids
Chase the Sun
Swing both Poi in front of your body in the same direction. Home of Poi Forum – Chase the Sun
Wait for the Poi to reach the bottom of their paths and then on the up swing pass both hands over your shoulders.
Let your hands flop behind your shoulders with your palm facing towards the sky as the Poi again reaches the bottom of its path.
On the up swing bring your hands infront of your body and back to the front. video tutorial on HOP
Build up/description ~ each hand does a different number of spins in same cycle. i.e. hybrids
Speed-bumps, thread the needle (done with forwards poi),
Build up/description ~ poi do different things. isolation-extension, anti spin-extension, isolation-anti-spin, isolation-cat-eye, cat-eye-extension, pendulum-extension, pendulum-anti spin
3-5 petaled anti-spin-extension (poi opposite direction, hands same time-direction. The triquetra hybrid threads (meaning poi change which hand is on top) twice), same direction isolation with extension (hands same time-direction), one handed Trifoil-extension,
Build up/description ~ any move in which each poi is spinning in a plane at 90 degrees to that of the other poi
Weaves (inside vertical, vertical, vertical with horizontal), flowers (vertical arms atomic- vertical poi atomic (wall plane and side plane), vertical arms parallel -horizontal poi parallel), Box (each poi is at 90 degrees to the other but the centers of rotation are separated enough so that the paths of the poi only meet at the edges of their circles i.e. as if the two circles were sides of a box.
Poi feature in the 1980s hit song “Poi E”. Poi E, nzhistory.net.nz