Rory aka Dragon Poi

Auckland, New Zealand

My story starts back in 1997. I was a young child, still in primary school. I was at my fathers house, with my 2 brothers. There was a party going on and what caught my attention were the fire dancers. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. I stood transfixed, watching the patterns being created by a flaming ball on the end of a chain. I could see the trails it left in its wake, and I thought to myself, “I can do that!” So I asked for a turn, I was handed some Fire Poi, (on fire) I had a Jam and I fell in Love!

I fell in love with everything about it.

The sound: Being in the middle of a roaring flame, the closest thing to it is listening to waves crashing on the beach.

The Feel: the heat, the pull and flow of the Poi, it is unlike anything else. Feeling the poi create its path as a new extension of your body, it opens up your mind to be more aware. More aware of your own body and the muscles needed to complete a move. Also more aware of my immediate surroundings.

I had found a way to escape this confusing world and enter one that made complete sense to me. I felt in control, and this feeling gave me confidence.

As a shy kid, I couldn’t speak in public or give a speech, but put some poi in my hands and my fears dissipated.

I didn’t know it at the time but I found my way to meditate, I spent countless hours spinning, I didn’t know many ‘moves or tricks’ to start off with, but that didn’t matter. I spent my time dancing with my Poi, all the while getting faster, stronger and better with each passing day. I jumped at every chance to play with my Poi.

I had found my calling.

I learnt what I could from whoever I could, when my skills increased, I then went on to learn what I could from the internet. I was lucky enough to travel and I took my Poi with me, I performed around the world and it didn’t matter where in the world I was, I got the same reaction, everybody loves Fire Dancing. It opened doors for me and I have met some amazingly talented people from all over the globe.

I have been Fire Dancing now for 20 years. Over this time, the flames have gotten bigger, the moves more intricate, the flow more precise. I love it more than ever.

I now run workshops, with the aim of spreading the love of this amazing past time to any and all that want to learn. With a big focus on kids, social-emotional learning, positive youth development and cognitive learning. Learning through Play. I believe the benefits of such a hobby are immense, for all ages and walks of life.