Despite the chilly temperatures, members of the Dublin Fire Meeting converged at Sandymount Strand on Friday night, January 20th, to practise the art of fire dancing and to showcase their talents in staff spinning, juggling and fire-breathing.
Robbie Corcoran, co-founder of the meetings has been fire dancing and fire breathing for two years and has performed at festivals such as Electric Picnic, KnockanStockan and B.A.R.E In the Woods.
Members try to get together every two to three weeks and the event is open to the public, so musicians, photographers and all-round fire enthusiasts are encouraged to show up. You can even try some fire twirling yourself, but Robbie warns that personal safety is your own responsibility and obviously some common sense is required when dealing with flaming equipment.
Liam Daly, from Ballybough attended the event. He has been fire dancing for seven months and considers it a form of relaxation. “Fire spinning, dancing, twirling and performance are called the flow arts. There is a concept called the flow, it is a feeling. You can lose yourself in what you are doing, go into a daze almost like meditation.” The fountain, three beat weave and the superman, where the staff is spun in between and around the dancers’ legs, are all movements that can be practised to achieve the flow.
Cathy Redmond, a 22 year old student from Santry is another founder of the group. She was introduced to the hobby by Robbie and mutual friends and has also performed at festivals. Cathy uses the poi balls, two weights that can be swung around by cords, which are based on Maori traditional dance. “It is fun to get everyone out here together, it has been quiet over Christmas because of the cold but once the weather gets warmer we try to meet every two weeks.”
As the night wore on, the event gained momentum. Participants brought speakers to play music and the combination of the beat and the mesmerising flames had evening joggers and walkers pausing to take a look. If you want to be a part of this event or to just enjoy the spectacle, Robbie hosts a public group on Facebook where you can find the times and locations of the meet ups: Facebook.com/groups/WeeklyDublinFireMeeting
By Jessica Ellis