Magic, fire dancing, witchcraft, published author, blogger and elf ears, Co-Curator of Blessed Be Boxes! When I met Astrea in 2012 I immediately knew she would be someone I would admire. I have been watching her perform since 2009 and I have a lot of questions about the clothing she wears. This was my perfect opportunity to learn and share about Astrea’s craft and fire performance wear.
What is fire dancing and what tools do you use?
Fire dancing is the art of dancing with a flaming object. I use poi (fire on chains), staff, hoop, fans, palms, gloves, a fire umbrella, and fire crowns. These tools are made of metal or wood and they have kevlar wicks that are soaked with white gas or denatured alcohol. I’ve made several of my fire tools, including the crown and gloves below. I dance with Aurora Fire Dancers (link to https://www.facebook.com/AuroraFireDancers/).
We would love to know which fabrics and styles are the safest to wear while throwing flames?
The safest fabrics are 100% cotton, wool, leather, or cotton denim. It can be very limiting, and more than a little stiff. Beginners should wear them at all times.
Some fabrics are impossible to wear when fire dancing, including polyester, rayon, silk, satin, and velvet. They can melt to the skin, especially if there’s a fuel transfer. It’s sad because there are so many cool synthetic costumes that I simply can’t wear.
More advanced fire dancers like me are able to get away with wearing fabrics with a small amount of synthetics, such as 95% cotton with 5% spandex, especially if the clothes are wet down with water before performing. Those are my favorite fabrics ones to wear, as they provide fashion and flexibility.
When did you start performing with fire and what was your style when you first began?
I started playing with fire in 2002. My style was a Bohemian/fantasy, with colorful skirts, decorative tank tops, and jewelry. I lived on the road, doing it from a converted school bus for the greater part of two years. This photo is from the summer of 2003, when I settled down in Ashland, Oregon for a few months.
Are there specific colors for performing at night that work best for you?
That’s a great question. As a fire performer, you want to give the audience a good show, but the clothes shouldn’t distract from the movement of the fire dancer or the presentation of the fire.
Wearing all black is an option if there’s some ambient lighting, but it doesn’t look great if you’re performing in a dark place. With too much darkness, you run the risk of fading into the background completely except for some disembodied limbs. To avoid this, I like to use a bit of color or a simple design. I like iconic images that aren’t too busy and don’t distract from the show.
Do you have a favorite place to shop for your performance clothing?
https://phoenixrisingartists.com/ for pants
Luna Gifts for tank tops http://www.lunadayton.com/
Photo by Rob Badger
Have you created or modified any of your own costumes?
Yes — once, I sewed an A-line thick cotton fire skirt and added velcro straps on the bottom to hold a fire hoop in place. The skirt was completely wetted down with water, and it was so hot, I had to keep moving the entire time. I like how elegant it looks.