What does it mean to join the ranks of the Fire Conclave, and dance at the foot of the Man before he is released in pyrotechnic delight? Fire Dance is Fire Dance, right? Well yes, but simply having good intentions, skill and wishing is not enough. Dancing with fire has captured the mind and hearts of every day people. In 2007, 49 fire groups communicated intention to join, but only 29 made the cut to be accepted into the Fire Conclave. Because of the number of fire groups wanting to participate, and because the real estate that surrounds the Man will only allow so many to fling fire safely, the requirements have become more stringent
All fire groups, old or new, are required to audition by creating choreography incorporating fire. This is the art of composing movement and patterns of a dance where thought is given to the outcome. This is open to broad interpretation, can include any fire tool, in an effort to encourage diversity and creativity from Fire Artists in the world community.
Each year fire dancers go further than what could have been imagined a few years ago. They are not satisfied creating the same dances with the same tools. The dancer must be inventive because their body, mind and spirit will not let them rest. Not too long ago fire tools were comprised of Poi, Staff and the occasional Clubs. These days fire is being attached to different kinds of materials; metal, antlers, clothing, boots, headdresses, stilts, as well as to parts of the human body, turning them into fire animals. The lexicon now includes the following: Body Contact, Comet, Dart, Devil Sticks, Double Staff, Dragons Breathe, Eating, Fans, Fingers, Fire Balls, Fire Cups, Fleshing, Hoops, Jump Ropes, Kung Fu Fans, Meteor, Numchucks, Palm Candles, Snakes, Stave, Swords, Torches, Tuba, Umbrella, Wands, Whips. But even after mastery of any of the above-mentioned tools, the performer/dancer/group must be compelling to watch. The performance must convey an unspoken energy that comes across, grabs you in the gut and gives you a rush.
There is no guarantee that any group will be accepted into the Fire Conclave. The challenges seem to be the same every year, effectively managing and organizing a group of free-spirit individuals that create a compelling fire dance.
- Communications – there is no guarantee information going to the Shin (leader of a group) will be understood by the group. Learning a strong way to communicate such vital information is necessary.
- Some fire groups are comprised of individuals living in different regions of the country, each learning parts of the dance and combining all the parts once they arrive on the playa. Sometimes this work, but not always.
- Current Shin passing on their responsibilities to a new leader sometimes works better than had been expected.
The Ceremonial Fire – For the second year in a row, the fire that burned all week long in the Center Camp Cauldron was transferred to the Luminferous, which in turn was carried by the Lamplighters
Along with One Peoples Voice, Lloyd Family Players and the Luminists processed from Center Camp to the Great Circle to begin the festivities for Burn night. The same fire that was extracted from the sun during the Opening Ceremony and burned all week long was brought to the fire groups of the Conclave before the Man was released in Pyrotechnic delight.
Arriving at the Great Circle, the Procession with the Luminiferous traversed the inner edge of L3K, warming up the crowd. Once the Luminferous had made a full circle back to the original spot, 16 fire runners with hand torches transferred the fire to specially designed Fire Pots that each of the 29 Fire Conclave groups utilized to light their fire and start their dance.
FIRE CONCLAVE MEMBERSHIP OF 2007
- Radiant Heat – Vancouver, B.C.
- Ambiance Drummers – San Francisco Bay Area plus
- Burning Otter – San Francisco Bay Area plus
- Dreamtime Circus– San Francisco Bay Area
- Fire Arts Collective – San Francisco Bay Area
- Flux – San Francisco Bay Area
- Garnish – Los Angeles area
- Lloyd Family Players – Bay Area
- Los Angeles Fire Conclave – Los Angeles Area
- Los Suenos del Fuego – San Francisco Bay Area
- Nocturnal Sunshine – San Francisco Bay Area
- One Peoples Voice – Gamelon X – Oakland
- Pans Nasty Bitches – San Francisco
- Phoenix Projekt – Los Angeles Area
- Pois In The Hood – Los Angeles Area
- PyroSpin – Santa Barbara Area
- San Diego Fire Conclave – San Diego Area
- Santa Cruz Fire Conclave – Santa Cruz Area
- Solar Flare – Sacramento, Davis, East Bay
- Temple of Poi – San Francisco
- Burning Desert Fire Collective – Grand Junction
- Colorado Fire Tribe
- Illumi~Nation, Islands of Hawaii, Maui, O’ahu
- Bio-Luminesce – Sandpoint
- Boston Fire Family – Boston
- Controlled Burn – Reno
- NYC Sparkworks – New York City
- Oregon Fire Conclave – Portland Area
- Utah Fire Conclave – Salt Lake City
Washington DC / Maryland
- Playa Del Fuego
- Luminists – Seattle
- Kaos Kids – Seattle
- Pyrosutra – Seattle
- Pyronauts – 21 US States and 15 countries