• Katlyn Cornelius

Heckling a Fire Dancer

Disclaimer: This is a subjective post. If you know that you do not like when audience members yell silly comments at you while you are dancing with fire, this is not written for you.

TuxedoKat spinning at Transformus Fire Jam - Photo by Todd Raviotta

All too often, "heckling" has a negative vibe. Perhaps since not many folks like unsolicited commentary of their performances -- that is, unless you're performing with fire. As a fire spinner reading this, you may already understand where I'm about to go with it. If you've never spun fire however, it may be difficult to understand without experiencing the effect of dancing with fire.

When that special day arrives and you light your props for the first time, you will experience something magical: the feel of the heat (woah, this is hot!); the roar of the sound (woah, this is loud!!); the fear of it all (woah, this really could hurt me!!!). You will become consumed by this primal feeling produced as a response to your fire play. You will soon realize the duality between you and the fire. You will shed belief of knowing which one is truly in control.

While you are transported into your awareness by the fire, the outside world will still be revolving around you. Your friends will still be watching you. Perhaps, they will even be cheering you on. But would you even notice? Or would you be so concentrated on a myriad of things having solely to do with fire?

--It's pure magic.

Cherish these first few moments with your first burn as they are once in a lifetime. You will never live another moment not knowing what the magical power behind dancing with fire feels like. On the other hand, you will also never feel it as strongly again. The more you burn, the magic of it's newness will slowly fade away into routined practice, understanding and respect. The way to mastery is through the awareness of what is possible.

Awareness yields commonplace. Commonplace is the space a flow artist resides when they have mastered their current abilities and perceived skillsets. In order for commonplaced flow artists to advance to the next level towards mastery, they must travel outside of their comfort zones; i.e. take risks. What better way to take risks with fire than being egged on by your flow friends of fire?

When a flow artist is experimenting with taking risks, heckling is a productive and entertaining way for a friend to assist! Heckling would be considered someone yelling friendly commentary to lighthearted-jabs at the flow artist currently dancing with fire in an attempt to motivate or loosen up them up.

We all have our limits and certain friends who may need instructions when going too far with heckling. Open communication for both the heckler and heckled is required for to have positive effects. If you are the heckled performer, I recommend waiting until your props are extinguished and you are in good spirits to make your feelings known to the heckler in an understanding way. As the heckled, you must consider other people may not always know they crossed a line until you tell them. If you go easy, you'll get easy! Have faith that everyone in your circle is there to help you or I suggest finding a new circle altogether.

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