Join renowned poi-teacher Nick Woolsey for a 12-section poi course! This is your chance to learn and master all the basic moves and transitions of poi!
Each section of the course will include 12-20 videos, guiding you through Nick's proven step-by-step system of learning poi. The lessons will cover all the basic moves of poi such as weaves, windmills, butterfly patterns, buzzsaws, corkscrews, and fountains, along with lots of tips on how to master them to build turns, sequences, and transitions.
For those of you who already know some moves, this course is a great way to deepen your control of planes, rhythm, and freedom of movement, and to discover and learn all the moves missing from your poi movement vocabulary.
There are several kinds of poi, which you can either make or buy. Let's look at some options.
Poi is like any other form of exercise or dance: If you don't take proper care of yourself, there is a risk of strain or injury. In this video we go through important concepts for reducing any risk of injury. In particular we talk about the myth that stretching is the best way to avoid injury. Although stretching can be one of your tools for keeping your body healthy, studies show that warming up and using good technique are even more important!
In this video we talk about how you will pick 4 directions every time you follow the lessons, to help you understand how to follow along.
You'll never not know how to spin poi again. So this is your last chance to play with poi with true "beginner's mind." Enjoy it!
It sounds funny, but it's one of the most important bits of advice you will ever hear. The sooner you get over your fear of the poi hitting you, the sooner you will stop flinching and just seeing what the poi do. This will help you to learn much faster, and to enjoy the process more.
In poi there are four primary modes in which two poi or two arms can circle together. In this video we explore the basic modes with the arms.
Same-time same-direction (often called "same-same"): Where the arms both circle in the same direction, in synch so that they are at the top and bottom of the circles together.
Split-time same-direction (often called simply "split-time"): Where the arms both circle in the same direction, but one is up while the other is down.
Same-time Opposites (often called "opposites"): Where the arms circle in opposite directions, in synch so that they are at the top and bottom of the circles together.
Split-time opposites (sometimes called "split-ops:): Where the arms circle in opposite directions, but one is at the top while the other is at the bottom of the circles.
In this lesson we begin to explore the difference between swinging the poi front to back and spinning it in a circle, forwards and backwards. This brings up the important concept of planes and tracks.
Crossing the poi side to side is the foundation of many poi moves. But there's more to it than you may realize. Let's learn how to do it well!
Crossing one poi side to side while spinning backward can sometimes be challenging to learn. But if you take the right steps, it's easy! The trick is to notice if you switch back to forward spinning ;)
I cannot stress enough how important this is! Play with this until it is completely effortless! This will be the foundation for almost everything you will learn with the basics of poi!
These are the most simple turns with two poi flying same-same (same-direction same-time)
Now we will learn a same-same turn with the poi passing down behind the shoulders, passing your back pockets
The last turn in the series is passing the poi up behind your hips as you turn from forward to backward spinning
It's possible to cross both poi at the same time. If they tangle, keep going back to using both arms, but only one poi.
You can also cross both poi while they circle split-time same-direction. It's important to relax your body and turn side-to-side with the movement of the arms and poi.
The world can be your playground and laboratory as you learn poi. Here are some ideas on using the world for feedback.
All poi movements are an extension of your body. Here are some tips on building good habits with your posture and your ability to make poi-type movements with your arms (poi-fu).
"Poi-fu" is practicing poi-like movements with your arms, to develop good posture and body mechanics to be the foundation for poi. As we proceed through the lessons we will ultimately add poi to all the poi-fu movements. By starting with just the arms, you can lay the foundation you need to feel strong and confident with the poi. Trust me on this one: Do your poi fu!
This one feels great when it becomes smooth, and we'll add poi to it before long!
In this lesson we learn to circle our arms in opposite directions, with good symmetry and health posture technique. Don't underestimate how important this is!
This is another important foundation-level skill. If you practice this, everything else will become easier to learn.
In poi there are four primary modes in which two poi or two arms can circle together. In this video we explore the basic modes with the poi.
Same-time same-direction (often called "same-same"): Where the poi both circle in the same direction, in synch so that they are at the top and bottom of the circles together.
Split-time same-direction (often called simply "split-time"): Where the poi both circle in the same direction, but one is up while the other is down.
Same-time Opposites (often called "opposites"): Where the poi circle in opposite directions, in synch so that they are at the top and bottom of the circles together.
Split-time opposites (sometimes called "split-ops:): Where the poi circle in opposite directions, but one is at the top while the other is at the bottom of the circles.
Control of your planes (the tilt of the poi) is an essential skill for learning new movements with poi, and for making the moves you know look beautiful. In this video we play with bending the tilt of the poi to learn a new move: Split-time butterfly! Don't worry if it feels a bit floppy at first. Within a week or two it will feel natural! Just breathe and relax as you play with it!
Learning a move is one thing, making it smooth is another. Here we look at some tips for feeling confident and graceful with the same-time turns
Now that you know all the same-time turns, it's important that you practice ALL the variables of how to turn with them, otherwise you'll fall into a bad habit of only turning certain ways.
In this lesson we explore bending the planes from forward split-time on wheel planes into inwards split-time on wall plane (inwards split-time butterfly), and from spinning backward split-time on wheel planes into outwards split-time on wall plane (outwards split-time butterfly)
Here we look at the butterfly again, but this time we do it by bending the planes inwards from wheel planes. People often want to jump over the moment that this feels awkward. If you take your time, and bend the planes onto a wall plane in front of you slowly, exploring the awkward feeling part and proving to yourself that there's nothing to be afraid of, you will start to feel truly confident with this move!
Here's one of the things you need to practice to learn 3-beat weaves: Circling one poi over-and-under-and-back of the other arm. You will need to practice this until it is equally comfortable with either arm.
This is another useful lead-up for the forward 3-beat weave. With the arms crossed, keep letting the bottom arm drop back along the wheel plane to cross over the other arm. Make sure you are mostly circling along the wheel planes at your sides, not along a wall plane in front of you.
If you only practice the hardest and newest tricks that feel awkward, you may become an awkward, fretful poi spinner. Most of the poi masters spend most of their time playing with the simple moves to build true mastery. See how free you can become with one poi and that feeling will start to spill into your more complex movements.
Over this course I will often talk about using walls for feedback. Here we use the Berlin Wall as an example.
Jiggies, or jiggiying, is the idea of using the side-side turning of your body to control the crossing of the poi, rather than using your arms. You can cross the poi side-to-side only using the turning of your body, without your arms helping at all. I learned the term "Jiggy" from Arashi many years ago and I liked it.
Nick Woolsey is a poi-dance pioneer and a cult-celebrity within the global poi-dancing community. Thousands of people have attended Nick's poi workshops and retreats, and tens of thousands more have learned from his online videos. He is now collaborating with professional dancers and circus artists in Vancouver, BC, to bring a new level of online video resources to the poi and flow arts community.