What I mean to say is, does the quality of your prop really make a difference? Is it worth getting worked up about? Does the wand choose the wizard?
Let’s examine hoops to begin with, and the notion that tubing and tape make a difference. We see so many of our favorite performers using those super light polypro/HDPE hoops, and we naturally make the connection that light = good. But that’s their choice, and they didn’t start off with those hoops. They started off with the same heavy, black tubing that most of us use. That’s what they learned with, and while the lighter tubing makes things easier and less tiring, it doesn’t make the performer more skilled. If anything, people can tend to get sloppy if something comes too easily. So perhaps the answer is that we must use our hoop to facilitate the skills we already have. It’s all dependent on your style, and hoops are as diverse as hoopers themselves.
Poi certainly has its fair share of “laughing stock” quality toys. Many of us remember the days when all you had was a tennis ball on a string, or in a sock. And since we remember those props from a beginners perspective, it is then assumed that if you use tennis balls, you are a beginner. But what about Mel? He uses tennis balls on a string and he certainly is not a beginner. Sure PoiBoy, Cyrille, Noel, Ronan, Drex and so many others are sporting contact poi, and for good reason. They feel great, but they also correspond to a certain style of spinning. Let your poi reflect your personality, not your presumed skill level.
Contact and Juggling provide great examples that everyday objects are just as fun, and sometimes more indicative of a performers skill than traditional tools. Oranges, bananas, basketballs and chairs are all used to wonderful effect and are often more entertaining than your standard objects. Also keep in mind that Fushigi does not mean uninformed. Let the performance speak for itself.
The exact same arguments can be made for both Fire and LED toys, with the asterisk that “quality” fire tools come after the assumption that they are safe. Nick Woolsey loves his Isis wicks, but those suckers are big and hot. Not the ideal toy for someone like Christian Medina (Insignia) who utilizes more inside movements and wraps. And while PSI-Hoops are awesome, not everyone can afford a $300 hoop.
Essentially, no matter what toys you use, make sure that they reflect your style rather than your skill. And don’t be so quick to judge others based on what toys they’re sporting. Imagine passing up the chance to hang out with Mel just because he’s walking around with tennis balls.
-Photo: Rich Porter
Creator of GyroPulse and Co-Founder of The Gyronauts. Social Media Manager at Saatchi NY. Loving the Hoop since 2006. Loving the Poi since 2007. Loving the Burn since 2007 More from this author