Top 10 Secret Ninja Poi Artists

Hey Readers,

I have been spinning things for over a decade and have seen spinners come and go.  Some have moved on to do amazing things outside of flow.   Some have gone to build real physical bridges, become managers of fortune 500 companies or even become parents.  Their contributions to the community with their skills and knowledge often become lost in the ether that is inherent to flow arts.

At this moment, I step outside of myself and the current facebook trends to present 10 flow artists (in no particular order) that have inspired me personally with their manipulation, kindness, and art over the past few years.   These people don’t seek fame in the more common methods, however  their talents shine through every aspect of their lives and personal introspection.  I don’t know all of these people super well but I most definitely have had my eye on them whenever they release a video or have heard they are coming to a fest near me.     

While writing this article, about 20 more names popped into my head…. I still appreciate you even if you didn’t make this list. You would probably make this list because they wouldn’t care if they made this list  😉 There are countless more amazing poi artists, and I can’t wait to meet them and jam out. Please don’t be shy.

Joe Graff

Dude, this dude.   Based in Philly, I have gotten to know Joe and his mind over the years… he has been doing more innovative tangles than anyone I’ve ever seen.  He takes ideas and does the craziest versions of them.  On top of that, he describes them with startling clarity…. also he is pretty damn wicked at Magic the Gathering.  

Jackie Vlahos

Based in Ohio, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Jackie pound her head against the proverbial tech wall over and over at FLAME fest this year. Seeing how hard she worked to get a contact poi trick, I can’t imagine how much dedication and energy will flow out once she fully realizes her talents. The world should be afraid.

Gina McGrath

Trained by two of the finest poi artists, Doodle and Kate Mccoy, this girl is a tech BEAST. She and I perform in a group together called the Foreways Project. It’s always startling to see how much she has advanced not only as a poi spinner but as a human being, too. She is one of the few that provides an example to the poi world in how to conduct oneself with a voice, kindness, and integrity. Currently, she works with her children’s Flow Arts project in the Asheville area.

Grant Baker

Another Asheville native, this guy is one of the most humble flow artists I’ve ever met. He always has a smile on his face, loves smoothies, and is constantly willing to share and demonstrate tricks. Word on the street is that he has been training extra hard for continuous hours in the Landing training space with the group Unifire. Keep it up brah! You’re such an inspiration.

Zach Lyttle

Hailing from Chicago, I see him a few times a year and am amazed every time with the direction he takes his poi manipulation. Whenever we get together, I usually spend my time trying to understand the inner dynamics of the tricks he conjures. He has a kind disposition and wonderful friends. Multi-talented, he’s a wicked glassblower. I’m always grateful for the times I get to share in his company.

Danielle Good

Originally from Maine and transplanted to Oakland, Danielle is my heartfelt sister. She’s been one of the people along my poi path keeping me going whenever I had felt uninspired. Her attitude, beauty, and style shine over traditional techy manipulation which sets her apart. She moves with grace and elegance making me wonder why she doesn’t show it off more. I love this girl, and she is the only one I let touch my hair. She’s not around a lot, but if you bug her, I am sure she’d come visit!

JT Kashuba

Originally from Reno now living in Portlandia, he has been working hard at his skills for the longest amount of time I’ve seen. He has an eye for manipulation and the unexpected. I first encountered him staying at the Vulcan and this dude has the right ethic. JT doesn’t need the accolades from the tech world, he is just happy to keep his skills on point and continue personal growth. We all love JT and his pinecone! 😉

Amy Wielczka

Transplanted in Oakland from Kansa, I’ve had the pleasure over the past years watching Amy grow with the Flow Show performing with fans. She’s multi-talented and rips it with contact staff, poi, and whatever else she can get her hands on. She’s a techie by trade, and I think it transfers seamlessly into her art. She’s such a powerful manipulator, and I would suspect you will be hearing a lot about her soon.

Juan Guardiola

A northern Hoosier and a key member of the Chicago Fire Technicians, I love Juan. Who DOESN’T love Juan? I’ve watched him grow in skill and confidence over the past few years. He’s always willing to absorb new techniques, clean them up, and make them pretty for people to see. I feel incredibly lucky to have watched this guy grow becoming better and better, even beyond myself. I’m often mistaken for Juan at a festival, and honestly, I love it.

Cassandra Richardson

Cassie is quite the southern belle from Atlanta. Moving with grace and confidence, she has the best flow I’ve seen from any artist in a long time. It’s not about the tricks she does, it’s how she puts them together. Her presence in performance is commanding. She can draw attention from anywhere when she performs with any prop. I met her as a young girl at FLAME in the early years, and every year since, she’s grown as a person and artist. Sniff… Sniff…

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