What is Flow Arts?
Flow Arts is a general term used to describe the intersection of a variety of movement-based disciplines including dance, juggling, fire-spinning, and object manipulation. The broad category Flow Arts includes a variety of pursuits that harmonize skill-based techniques with creative expression to achieve a state of present-moment awareness known as Flow.
Common forms of Flow Arts include Poi & Staff spinning, hula hoop (or “hooping”), juggling, sphere manipulation (or “contact juggling”), and fan dance. New props and expressions are emerging all the time as flow artists cross pollinate with martial arts, yoga, circus, belly dance, and beyond.
Why do it?
Most of us start doing Flow Arts because it is so fun! We begin to incorporate Play back into our lives. Enjoyment is usually the hook, but we soon find a wealth of reasons to keep up our practice. The basics of a prop are easy to learn, but the possibilities of moves and personal expression are truly infinite. Flow Arts is a body-mind activity like Yoga that helps us focus our minds at the same time we hone our physical abilities. Many people describe their flow activity as a “moving meditation”. Indeed, without any competitive-sport angle, our focus can easily turn to the richness of our experience and the deepening pursuit of a personal best.
There are many health benefits to Flow Arts as well. A skill-based movement art naturally brings more of our awareness to our bodies. As we use our muscles to control props through space and to dance with the props we are engaging in an easy and fun form of exercise. Many flow artists achieve a greater degree of fitness, and are even driven to do additional strength and flexibility training simply to perform better at their art. One man lost a hundred pounds as he trained with his staff over several years. A good friend used poi spinning to help fight her cancer; it gave her a reason to keep going and a self-beneficial outlet of her energy.
How can I learn?
Most of the skills can be learned on your own with enough dedication and time. We host a diversity of informational and instructional videos on this website on our video page.
Really, though, nothing can replace the experience of practicing or playing with other people. Find others near you, or encourage your friends to try it! Come to a Flow Festival to find your long lost brothers and sisters of Flow.
There are also a number of sources online to find other videos, or even purchase instructional DVDs. Try searching by the specific prop you want to learn about.