The ancient art of fire dancing began hundreds of years ago by the people of Polynesia. It is believed that the Maori people of New Zealand were pioneers of poi. Poi, a Maori word meaning “ball on a string”, was originally used by warriors as a form of exercise to train for battle and hunting. Swinging the balls developed wrist strength and flexibility which helped in handling different weapons or tools. Gradually though, poi began to be used as a form of storytelling and dance, which translates to our modern uses. However, it did not actually become a tool for fire dance until the mid-20th century, after Uluao Letuli performed the first ailao (Samoan knife dance) on fire.
Fire Poi manipulates fire in time and space by spinning the weighted flame for dramatic effect rhythmically in geometric patterns.