They are people who are never afraid of fire. They handle fire at ease and make them their friend. They twirl them, swing with them and dance with them. Yes, I am talking about none other than fire dance performers.
For them it’s a passion. They never bother about the harm fire can bring to them. Rather, they know very well how to tackle them properly. No one is aware about the origin of this art form. It seems, they gained popularity in the late 90’s and now this has become a wonderful segment for entertainment.
Fire dances mixed with scintillating music in the background creates a wonderful event. The person who is performing the act takes all the precautions to keep him safe from the burns and other dangers which can happen. They use fuels such as kerosene, diesel, Coleman, alcohol, naphtha etc for their performance.
The first time I attended a fire event was in the year 2004 in Goa. I was amazed with the range of tools they used to create designs in the air using fire. Hoops with spokes, swords, whips, chains, batons, fire umbrellas, knives etc are some of them. All of them were bathed with highly toxic material. Some acts were performed where they tangoed with colorful fires, just to make the ambience get brighter.
These performances are mostly done in the night times, which add grace to the event. My curiosity on this art form ended me talking to one of the performer, Stephen, who was in this circuit for more than 15 years. As per him, practice and passion, is the key stuff you require to entertain people around while staying safe.
From him I learnt that there are many forms of this dance form such as fire fetish shows, traditional fire shows, erotic fire shows, and fire belly dance shows etc. This can be performed solo and group wise too. When performing in group, focus and co-ordination comes major tools for the success of a safe event.
Though very popular in western countries and south East Asian countries, this dance form is yet to get established and popularized in India. You can get many troupes and carnival groups who are specialized in this activity.
When I left from the event venue, it was full of shapes and symbols of fire they had created in front of me. The one hour performances they unleashed had made me think – Playing with fire can be indeed fun too!