Zoran Strbac

Bjelovar, Croatia

The first time I cam across poi was in 2014. I was working as an entertainer in one of the hotels in Croatia and I saw a fire performance. It was very cool and I remember thinking to myself this is probably impossible to learn but I went to a couple of juggling workshops, and as you might have guessed, it was a complete mess and I couldn’t learn anything. So I gave up and didn’t try anymore because my hand coordination was really bad and I kept hitting myself all over my body, especially on my head. In 2015 I had a friend working with me. She was an experienced fire performer and I was with her when she was practicing. I was messing around with poi and she told me that I am so bad at it that I will never learn. I remember thinking to myself; man you can do it. 🙂 So basically I took two socks, put two tennis balls in them, and went on youtube to find some instructional videos. For about three months I was walking around with those two socks in my hand and practicing every day. People were starting to look at me funny but I didn’t care. I was so determined to learn just to prove to my friend I can do it. After a couple of months I was starting to get better and better with poi and when my friend saw me she didn’t know what to say except let’s try this with fire.

So after only 4 months of practicing with sock poi I did my first fire poi and I was hooked. That feeling of fire and dance was incredible and I knew that this is going to stay with me forever. After that I went to Thailand to work and there I practiced poi with Thai people. I have to say they are crazy and I love them. We did fire shows there on a weekly basis and it was great. Most of the equipment I use is all hand made. The reason for that is that making and designing new equipment is so fun and basically there is nothing you can’t do with a little imagination. Every new trick that I learn gives me such a rush and joy that I think I am addicted (it is a good addiction :)). I remember the hardest trick I learned with poi for me was the one where you have to tangle them together (I think the name is orbital or hyperloop). That feeling when you get the trick right. Oooh man. Crazy happy feeling like you did something out of this world. 🙂

Currently I am doing fire shows as much as I can. With my friend we do a lot of workshops, especially for kids and older people (we work with lots of senior homes and youth associations for gifted kids), because we love seeing the look on their face when they learn a move or two and they thought that this is impossible.

For me poi had a great impact on my life. Because I am so hyperactive and have ADHD poi helps me focus and calms me down. Every time I spin I don’t think about anything else, just that moment in time. My hand and leg coordination has improved dramatically which is mostly noticeable in my sport life.

I don’t look at poi as a hobby; because of it I get to travel and meet new people who like poi like I do. This weekend I am traveling to Slovenia for a new fire show and cant wait to do it and at the end of the month my friend and I will do a five day workshop at one big Croatian street festival in Zagreb.

So that is about it and the story continues, hopefully for a lot of more poi years. 🙂 Poi changed my life in the best possible way and for everyone who is just starting my advice is don’t give up and just enjoy it.