The Ultimate Guide to Fire Poi for Beginners


Are you looking for a unique and exciting hobby that combines dance, rhythm, and fire? If so, you might want to consider trying fire poi. Poi is a form of performance art that originated in New Zealand, and it involves swinging weights or balls on cords in a rhythmic pattern. Fire poi is simply poi that is lit on fire, which adds an additional element of danger and excitement to the performance. However, fire poi is not a hobby to take lightly. It can be dangerous, and beginners need to take proper precautions and learn the necessary skills before lighting their poi on fire. This ultimate guide will provide you with everything you need to know to get started with fire poi safely and effectively.

What is Fire Poi?

Fire poi is a type of performance art that involves spinning balls or weights on cords that are set on fire. The goal of fire poi is to create mesmerizing patterns and movements with the flaming poi, set to music or in a rhythmic pattern. Fire poi can be performed solo or with a group, and it is often seen at festivals, concerts, and other outdoor events.

The History of Fire Poi

Fire poi has its roots in the Maori culture of New Zealand, where poi was originally used as a training tool for warriors. Poi was used to increase flexibility, strength, and coordination, and it was also used as a form of storytelling and entertainment. Fire poi, on the other hand, has a more recent history. It was first introduced in the 1980s by a group of performance artists who were experimenting with new ways to incorporate fire into their acts. Since then, fire poi has become increasingly popular and has spread around the world, with many performers incorporating their own unique styles and techniques.

Getting Started with Fire Poi

If you're interested in trying fire poi, there are a few things you need to consider before you get started.

Safety Precautions

Fire poi is a dangerous activity, and it's essential to take the necessary safety precautions to prevent injury. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Always wear protective clothing, including long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe shoes.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.
  • Practice in a clear, open space that is free of flammable materials.
  • Never spin fire poi alone.

Choosing Your Poi

There are many different types of poi available, and it's essential to choose the right type for your skill level and goals. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your poi:

  • Weight: heavier poi can be more challenging to control but can create more dramatic movements, while lighter poi are easier to handle but can look less impressive.
  • Material: poi can be made from a variety of materials, including cotton, silk, and leather. Cotton poi is the most common type and is a good option for beginners.
  • Length: the length of your poi can affect the speed and control of your movements. Shorter poi is generally easier to control, while longer poi can create more dramatic movements.

Learning the Basics

Before you start spinning fire poi, you need to learn the basics of poi spinning. Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Start by practicing with non-flammable poi. This will help you get comfortable with the movements before you start working with fire.
  • Practice spinning in both directions to develop ambidexterity and balance.
  • Learn basic tricks, such as weaves, butterfly, and fountain.
  • Practice with a mirror or video yourself to get a better understanding of your movements and technique.

Working with Fire

Once you're comfortable with the basics of poi spinning, you can start working with fire. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Practice with fire poi in a safe, open space with a fire safety professional present.
  • Start with short burns and gradually increase the length of your burns as you become more comfortable.
  • Use a fuel that is specifically designed for fire poi, such as white gas or lamp oil.
  • Always spin with a safety person nearby who can put out the flames if necessary.

Advanced Techniques

Once you've mastered the basics of fire poi, you can start experimenting with more advanced techniques and moves. Here are a few examples:

  • Wraps: wrapping the poi around your body or limbs.
  • Stalls: stopping the poi mid-spin and holding it in place for a brief moment before continuing.
  • Tangles: intentionally tangling the cords of your poi to create a unique pattern.
  • Isolations: moving the poi in a way that creates the illusion that it is floating in space.


Is fire poi safe?

Fire poi can be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken. Always wear protective clothing, spin in a clear, open space, and have a safety person nearby in case of an emergency.

What type of fuel should I use for fire poi?

Use a fuel that is specifically designed for fire poi, such as white gas or lamp oil. Do not use gasoline or other flammable liquids.

How do I extinguish the flames on my poi?

Use a fire blanket, a damp towel, or a bucket of water to extinguish the flames. Never use your hands to try to put out the fire.


Fire poi can be a thrilling and exciting hobby, but it's important to take proper precautions and learn the necessary skills before you start spinning with fire. Start by practicing with non-flammable poi, learn the basics, and work with a fire safety professional before lighting your poi on fire. With patience and practice, you can master the art of fire poi and create mesmerizing performances that will leave your audience in awe.