What is Poi?

Date Posted: 2023-09-05
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Poi! No, I'm not trying to get your attention. That's the actual name. And if you're delving into the dazzling domain of the circus and juggling, you're in for a spectacular treat.

History of Poi: A Brief Backtrack

Poi originated from the Maori people of New Zealand. It began as a dance form, where balls on cords were swung rhythmically to create patterns. From a ceremonial dance to a mainstream juggler’s tool, Poi has travelled across continents, cultures, and contexts!

Factoid for fun: In the Maori culture, Poi helped warriors increase wrist strength. Strong wrists meant strong warriors. So, if you fancy being a warrior, swing a Poi!

Poi Today: More Than Just Balls on Strings

Today, Poi is a beloved art form. Modern Poi performers use materials that range from LED lights to fire! Yes, fire. Because, why juggle with just balls when you can juggle with...well, fireballs?

LED Poi - For those who love to rave, dance, and create a colourful spectacle in the dark.

Fire Poi - For the daring souls and those who love to live on the edge, quite literally. (Safety first, though. No eyebrows were harmed in the making of this blog.)

Sock Poi - Nope, it’s not a mistake. Using socks is a great beginner-friendly method. And also an excellent use of those mismatched socks.

The Dynamics of Poi: Swing, Swirl, & Sync

Poi at Night - Unsplash

Poi isn't just about swinging things around. There's physics, finesse, and a lot of face-saving (literally, you don’t want to hit yourself).

Here are the basics:

Planes: Poi can be spun in different planes, parallel or perpendicular to the ground.

Direction & Timing: Play with spinning the Poi in the same or opposite directions, at the same or different times.

Patterns: From circles and spirals to weaving patterns, the possibilities are endless (and sometimes dizzying).

Why Take Up Poi?

Because it's fun? Oh, you need more reasons? Alright:

Brain Boost: Juggling, swinging, and concentrating can help improve coordination and cognitive function.

Fitness: It's a sneaky workout. Your arms, core, and even legs get in on the action.

Street Cred: Imagine casually saying, "Oh, over the weekend, I was just swinging around some fireballs." Instant respect.


Q: Is Poi dangerous?
A: Like any performance art, there are risks. But with proper safety measures (especially with fire Poi) and practice, Poi can be as safe as any other juggling act.

Q: How do I start with Poi?
A: Start with soft, beginner Poi (like sock Poi). Gradually progress, practice regularly, and always prioritize safety.

Q: Can I make DIY Poi at home?
A: Absolutely! From tennis balls in socks to more elaborate setups, there's a plethora of DIY Poi guides online.

Q: Is Poi a good workout?
A: Yes! It improves flexibility, strength, and balance. Plus, it's way more fun than lifting weights.

Q: Do Poi artists perform in circuses?
A: Definitely! Poi artists are often a significant attraction, especially those who incorporate fire or LED into their routines.

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