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Just say No to section G.

With the arrival and approval of Ms. A, the 6 month signature quest seemed to be drawing to a close. The only thing left to do was wait for Ms. A to email my Maori advisor, to let him know of her support. While awaiting this transaction, I asked my PhD supervisor to check with the ethics committee about a few minor things on my application. I wanted it to be flawless before submitting it. After a week or so of silence from all parties, I became worried and restless. What if Ms. A changed her Read More

Jinju Dasalla – Denver, San Francisco, Hawaii

With all my formal training and education in neuroscience and the mental health field, what has interestingly become one of the most powerful tools in my toolbox for personal healing and transformation is something I would have never expected – the Flow Arts, specifically the art and practice of dancing with poi, the hoop, and with fire, dancing being the key word. My first experience with poi was when I was six years old living in Hawaii. Little did I realize the imprint that not only Read More

Rory (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 Read More

Misty White – Tempe, AZ. USA

Photo by Basaldua Photography Last November I had to have two heart valves replaced, and I had a stroke to the right side of my brain effecting the left side of my body from a blood clot due to my blood thinner dose being too low. I just about lost all coordination in my left hand, but spinning poi has gotten my arm motion and finger coordination back in check. I can open and close my hand again, and move my arm all the way around in circles (when it wants to listen to my brain!). The Read More

Riley – Canberra, Australia

From around 2002 until around 2010 I break danced everyday. It taught me discipline, a deeper love for music, and brought happiness. Early March in 2010 I saw a twirler practising in my local park. Curious of what he was doing I went over & asked. He handed me a staff and taught me figure eights and throws for next two hours, and immediately that same happiness came out. Staff didn't seem to come as naturally so I was back and forth between dance and staff for the next 3 years, but as I Read More

Shanan – Perth, Australia

During highschool I was always sort of the floater, never quite fitting into one particular friend circle. I wasn't smart enough to fit into the smart group, musical/arty enough for that side, and not really nerdy enough either. I was in year 10 when I first knew I had severe depression. Seven years on I still have it, but it's now as much a part of me as anything else, and it's slowly getting better. This is because once I left highschool and all that drama behind, and went straight into Read More

John Raven McGregor – Bismarck, ND. USA

I was introduced to poi five years ago. At the time I was dancing as to help combat PTSD symptoms as well as depression and anxiety. Shortly after I started spinning I began to notice changes in my mood. I would find myself feeling positive about life and my place in this world. I found myself playing sometimes for hours with no signs of exhaustion. I have now been spinning faithfully everyday. I no longer suffer from depression and my anxiety problems have also greatly improved. I also have Read More

Kate Riegle van West – Auckland, New Zealand

For the first 20 years of my life, circus was everything. At age 8 I began performing with the youth circus at my school, founded and directed by one of my dearest mentors, Dr. Tom Romance. I loved flying. I loved being upsidedown. I loved performing just for the fun of performing, no pressure or fear of winning or losing. I could be whoever I wanted to be in the circus. Or I could just be me. Throughout college I continued performing in the circus, where I eventually encountered fellow Read More


The signature quest.

By the end of June I was so ahead in my research, that my PhD supervisor looked me in the eyes and said "TAKE A BREAK!" There was, in fact, not much more that could be done. The plans for my clinical trial were in place, I was running a crowd funding campaign to cover the costs, and I had nearly finished my ethics forms, minus one small detail...I needed the signature of a Maori advisor. Enter *drum roll*...Mr. X. Sure, he might not have remembered who I was even after nearly knocking me over Read More


Planning the poi trial.

In between investigating the cultural roots and implications of poi spinning (read: embarrassing myself at various Māori events and in front of various Māori people), I am also planning a poi trial to investigate the effects of poi on physical and cognitive ability (read: embarrassing myself in front of scientists). If you're dying to know the nitty gritty, my full research methodologies paper and literature review are yours for the reading. If not, here's a summary (if you're not Read More