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Flow Arts Discoveries: What is Contact Staff?

Noel Yee explains the history and uses of contact staff. Contact staff refers to spinning the staff without using the fingers or thumbs to grip the staff. Many of the modern contact staff techniques come from baton twirling community and the Chinese art of Fei-Cha. Contact Staff artists create remarkable visual effects since the staff movement seems so smooth and controlled thought the performers movements are subtle.

The weight, length, and the grip of your staff can make all the difference in your technique. Adding weights to the ends can also create a different experience. The longer your staff is, the slower your spinning will be. Having grip tape on the staff can really help improve your control of the staff and slowing down the movements.

Learning contact staff can seem challening, but with regular practice and a good staff, you will be contacting in no time. If you have anything else to add to the history and use of contact staff, please comment! #faidiscoveries

Comments 3

  1. hi there! So I’m wanting to get into staff/contact staff, and I’m not sure how long a staff to get or where to get a good practice one. Can you make any recommendations?

    1. Hi Sid. It is said that standard height for your staff will be from the ground to somewhere between your bottom lip and your chin. There are several solid staff smiths out there, but we recommend Ninja Pyrate, Dark Monk, and Jameson (you should be able to find these with a quick google search). If you don’t have a lot to spring in general, it might be best to get a fire staff and wrap the ends with saran wrap when not in use so that once you are comfortable spinning, you will be ready to light it. Please check out our fire safety classes, though, before you do. Hope this helps!

  2. I feel ridiculous, because I thought it had been weighted at the ends and middle….
    It’s literally a stick of whatever sort, with equally weighted ends. For easier balance and momentum of sort.
    However, any time the staff spins, the axle of rotation is in the center. While you can also guide with rolling, wraps, etc…
    Right? Correct me if something else went over my head, please.
    It in a nutshell the typucal staff Im assuming weighted like a baton. The height is what differed though?

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