With over 500 shares on his debut video alone, crushing 3-Poi with Superman combinations akin to a youthful Chris Kelly, Hayden, 9 year old Poi spinning prodigy hailing similarly from the Northwest is taking the Flow Arts community by storm with his skills. Hayden (with the blessing of his parents) had some time to chat with me recently.
Kai: Let’s start with the obvious, you’re pretty young for a Poi spinner, how old are you, how long have you been spinning and how did you first find out about Poi?
Hayden: I am nine. [I’ve been spinning Poi] a little over a year. I saw a Poi video on YouTube and instantly knew I wanted to do it. I started asking [my parents] for some Poi and about a year later I got my first set of Poi in my Easter basket.
Kai: Do you any of your friends spin Poi? Do you guys get together and trade tricks? If not, what do your friends who don’t spin Poi think about it?
Hayden: A little bit. Several friends have bought Poi since I started spinning and I have taught them some things. No, [we don’t really get together and trade tricks], but on recess I will sometimes show them how to do some moves. Most kids at school think it’s cool that I spin Poi. The vice principal wants me to start a Poi club.
Kai: What do you want to be when you grow up and why?
Hayden: I want to have a business that makes Poi and other props. I want to have two jobs so that if one is not successful, I have a backup. Why? Because I want to spread the joy of the flow arts.
Kai: Are you learning Poi from anyone right now and how often do you practice?
Hayden: Not really. I usually go on the Internet and find videos. I have gotten to go to some Spin Jams, but it is mainly the Internet. I practice all the time, I guess. I have Poi with me pretty much 24/7.
Kai: Do you plan on going to any retreats that teach Poi in the upcoming year? (examples: Pacific Fire Gathering, MOPS Fest, New England Flow Festival, etc)
Hayden: I hope to someday. I am young and it is hard for my family to take me to far away events because of school and because I have a brother and sister they need to look after. I am planning to go to a new festival next year in Seattle called Northwest Flow Fest.
Kai: What else do you do for fun besides Poi?
Hayden: I take Karate and play drums…ride bikes, skateboard, play frisbee, play video games…hang with friends and spend time with my family.
Kai: What’s your favorite subject in school and why do you like it?
Hayden: Reading! It is peaceful and calms me, and takes me on adventures.
Kai: Who is your favorite Poi spinner?
Hayden: Nicky Evers, because he mixes Tai Chi with Poi and it makes a really fascinating style.
Kai: If you had a time machine and could travel back to when you first started playing with Poi, what advice would you give yourself?
Hayden: I would tell myself about how to find the local Poi community earlier. Because I didn’t meet another spinner until I had been spinning for a full year — and spinning with the community is a lot more fun!