Conclave History

Crimson practices her pre-Burn dance performance, 1991 (Photo by George Post)

Crimson practices her pre-Burn dance performance, 1991 (Photo by George Post)



The Early Years

Crimson Rose, Fire Goddess, established the Fire Conclave in 1991 when she first danced her fire magick at the foot of the Man and set it ablaze. Initially, the pre-show fire dancing before the burning of The Man was a necessity, used to distract the masses of the city while the Pyrotechnic specialists handled last minute issues associated with the release of The Man.

What was once a specialty dance created by a few has spread like wildfire. Fire dancing has grown and matured into a full-blown performance art form, where the art is as varied as the imagination of those who dance with the flame. As the years progressed and the art form flourished, a small handful of fire performers has turned into hundreds, and in 2000 a loose system was established to give them an opportunity to dance at the foot of the Man. In 2005 standards for participation in the Fire Conclave were fine-tuned, Ambient Drummers became more organized, and the Processional became formalized.

The Fire Conclave Council Today

The mandate of the Fire Conclave Council (FC Council) is to provide the opportunity for new and established artists in the fire arts to cultivate a higher level of skill and performance artistry, in the face of limited time, space and safety concerns in Black Rock City.

The Fire Conclave is managed by a council comprised of Crimson Rose, Tabasco, Wrangler, Scorch, and Natalie, who enjoy the assistance of a fantastic support staff.

The Mission of the FC Council is to organize and manage the yearly gathering of the Fire Conclave groups in Black Rock City, ensuring that hundreds of fire performers and safety personnel are not only compelling to watch during the night of the Burn, but effectively managed and safe within the perimeter that surrounds the Man called the Great Circle.

Fire Conclave Council Goals

  • Clearly communicate guidelines for participation in the Fire Conclave and maintain the integrity of the selection process through well-considered guidance.
  • Evaluate the intention of each fire performance group as related through their communications, commitment and audition submission for acceptance into the present year’s Fire Conclave.
  • Set safety standards for all fire performance groups within the Fire Conclave as it pertains to performing within the Great Circle.
  • Engage and inspire the fire and flow arts community.

Each Member of the Fire Conclave Council

  • Incorporates the Burning Man Principles in decisions regarding the Fire Conclave
  • Has in-depth knowledge and experience of fire performance art and all aspects of safety.
  • Is experienced with managing a fire group that has performed with the Fire Conclave.
  • No longer manages any one fire group and is impartial.
  • Is able to remain calm in the midst of chaos.
  • Is beholden to the others, working by consensus.
  • Is empowered to make decisions on a daily basis about workload and priorities in collaboration with the Cultural Founder.

Council Members

Tabasco ~ Production Manager

Tabasco has a way with spreadsheets and geometry that inspires the rest of FC Council. He makes the maps and places each fire group with precision. From 2005 through 2010 Tabasco also lead the coordination of the Ambient Drummers. His crew, The Iron Monkeys, are our part of the production management team. Tabasco goes through your sign-in rosters with you on playa to determine how many laminates you get, and then counts out all of those freakin magic pieces of plastic. He’s the guy who’ll direct your Helmsmen. Fire dancing since God was a child, Tabasco instigated Pyrosutra, was Shin of the Northwest Fire Conclave, coordinated safety and stage managed for elaborate fire performance productions. Manufactured palm torches, fire hoops and fans as we know them were originally forged by Tabasco as Iron Gypsy. Outside of Burning Man and the Fire Conclave Tabasco sits on the board of Ignition Northwest; runs the artist collective Iron Monkeys and runs his own blacksmithing business in Seattle.

Wangler ~ Operations Manager

Wrangler has been attending Burning Man and dancing in the Great Circle since 2000. She has helped to organize and run Fire Conclave Convergence since its inception in 2001.  A master at the skills of copy and paste she has been inputting Fire Conclave ticketing for several years.  She also helped to bring the Shiva Vista project to the playa from 2007-2009 and spends endless hours driving a flame effect vehicle on playa.  Wrangler prefers to work behind the scenes to make sure everyone has what they needs to be successful. In the default world she is a special education teacher in Reno, NV.

Scorch ~ Logistics Manager

Scorch is a whiz at note taking and document vetting. She has been attending Burning Man since 2004, and was Shin of the Burn Academy for 6 years. Outside of Burning Man, she is the co-founder of United Fire Artists, an organization in Southern California whose mission is to promote fire safety through education and training. She is also a member of S.A.F.F.E. (Safety Advisory for Fire and FX in Entertainment) where she helps advocate the art of fire performance and teaches fire performers how to open legitimate and legal fire practice spaces. In her spare time, she runs a fire performance tool company with her husband and is always creating new and inventive ways to play with fire.

Crimson Rose ~ Creative Director

The Fire Conclave is a production has been developing since 1991. As a co-founder of Burning Man, the Black Rock Arts Foundation and Burning Man Project, Crimson’s life passion and work have focused on the arts and artistic expression, and developed the organization’s Art Department, including the infrastructure, financial and other support services that make possible the large-scale participatory art works that Burning Man is renowned for. With Crimson’s guidance, Burning Man serves as an inspirational limitless canvas, the works of which now find public placement in cities around the world and serve as catalytic sparks for community collaboration. Instigator of the Creative Energy and the Creative Director of the Fire Conclave, the largest gathering of fire performers in one place at one time in the world.

Natalie ~ Engagement Coordinator

Natalie is the newest member of the Fire Conclave Council and is on a mission to inspire our community by sharing the art created by the Fire Conclave and Documentarians.  She has been attending Burning Man since 2001 and was Shin of Radiant Heat for 15 years. Outside of Burning Man, Natalie acts as a consultant specializing in digital marketing while teaching Pilates and fire dance locally in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Her work as a director and choreographer is about creating opportunities for people to connect with themselves and each other in a collective dance that is bigger than the sum of of its individual parts.