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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LED POI BALLS & POI SPINNING
LED poi is a revolutionary tool for finding your flow and creating dazzling light-based art. It’s become a popular pastime while at home, flow fests, music festivals and raves. Many practicing “flow artists” have also taken to social media like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to show off their favorite trick routines.
Object manipulation also known as Flow Arts, comes in many forms, from LED poi balls to juggling, led hula hoops and led staffs. The poi part of Flow Arts goes by many names, such as poi balls, glow poi, flow poi, and light up poi. That’s why we’ve created this guide: To introduce you to the art form and the many tools you can use to express and perform it yourself.
In this guide, we cover everything you need to know to become a flow artist, including the origins of poi, how to perform with LED poi balls, and the best poi sets from UltraPoi. If you’re an intermediate or advanced flow artist, there’s still plenty of useful information for you in this guide, especially towards the end.
WHAT IS POI AND FLOW ARTS?
Flow arts is a broad term describing object manipulation movement-based performance art, such as dance and juggling. LED Poi is a specific discipline under the ‘flow arts’ umbrella, which involves spinning a tether attached weights specifically with LED lights inside to create trails of vibrant colors and patterns. Despite the use of modern technology, poi spinning actually originated thousands of years ago. To better understand the existence of LED poi today, let’s briefly examine the state of flow arts and poi back then during its evolution, and compare it to how it’s performed now.
The earliest evidence of object manipulation dates back to 2000 BCE. A wall painting found inside of an ancient Egyptian tomb depicts people juggling spherical objects. A separate wall painting shows two people controlling a single hoop using what appears to be ropes. Additional evidence of early object manipulation has been found in Greek, Chinese, Indian, Norse, Native American, and Polynesian cultures, typically in the form of juggling.
Poi, as we identify it today, only began to take shape in the 1300s when the Māori tribe of New Zealand adopted tools for performing haka, a celebratory dance. The tools haka performers used were spherical weights tethered by cords. They would spin these tools through the air to the rhythm of music, wielding one in each hand. This is very similar to how modern flow artists spin LED poi balls.
Poi has grown since its original creators performed it thousands of years ago. It now comes in many different forms and involves far more complex moves. Modern LED and battery technology have also influenced the designs of LED poi balls and other flow art props. The Internet plus social media has also allowed performers to spread the art form and attract communities around poi spinning. It’s an art form that is constantly evolving. Poi performers have more options now than ever before for getting started. Let’s discuss how you can begin using poi to find your flow, and what moves you can expect to achieve at a more advanced level.
HOW TO USE LED POI
LED poi is best performed in low-light conditions, such as inside a dark room or outside during the evening. In darkness, the LEDs in light up poi balls glow and emit more vibrant colors. These conditions are ideal for creating detailed light trails for an audience at a concert, festival or rave. Before you perform publicly, there are some beginner level moves you should practice first. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals and gained full control of your flow poi, you can advance to more challenging techniques.
To get spinning, there are several fundamental skills you need to obtain, including plane control and transitions. 5 beginner moves you can practice to learn these fundamentals are reel turns, butterflies, windmills, stalls (specifically down stalls and bottom stalls), and weaves.
Once you’ve advanced beyond beginner moves, you can begin practicing more complex spinning. These moves will do more than teach you the fundamentals, they will advance you as a flow artist and surely impress your spectators. This is the level at which you can attract an audience and put together an amazing performance. Here are 5 advanced moves to help you do so, including isolations, folding lines, “Yuta stalls”, buzzsaws, and orbitals.
Now that you understand what it takes to get spinning, and where you can expect to wind up with enough practice, let’s talk about the right tools for the job. As we alluded to earlier, glow poi exist in many shapes and sizes. Some are better for beginners, some are better for experts.
THE BEST LED POI AND LED POI BALLS FOR YOU
UltraPoi carries three distinct LED poi types: The Helix Poi, Orb Poi, and the Vortex Poi. Each of these light up poi sets are highly customizable, durable, and feature-rich, making them great for beginners and advanced spinners alike.
HELIX POI - BEST ALL-AROUNDER
The Helix Poi, also known as the LED Glow Stick Poi for its glow stick like shape, is a versatile tool for flow artists of all skill levels. It’s lightweight, yet durable. Easy to use, and capable of producing complex color combinations. Each poi contains two halves of independently controllable LEDs, meaning you have double the colors modes and flash patterns at your disposal. Plus, the Helix Poi has one of the coolest upgrades available: The nunchuck-looking Double Helix Poi, for which you replace your standard handles with additional Helix LED handles.
ORB POI - BEST BEGINNER TO ADVANCE SET
The Contact Poi, also known as the orb poi, is renowned for its uniquely spherical shape, ideal for juggling poi and contact rolling across your arms. Like UltraPoi’s other sets, the Orb Poi includes many features for advanced users to customize. It has rechargeable poi heads and can be purchased with the UltraKnob Pro handles for an even better light show. However, due to its ease of use and minimal setup, the Orb Poi is actually one of the best LED poi ball sets for beginner to advanced users.
VORTEX POI - BEST LIGHT SHOW & VALUE
With the Vortex Poi, or LED sock poi, you get two types of poi sets for the price of one. The poi’s shape and function can be completely transformed by attaching its LED base to either the UltraLeash or the UltraSock. Both forms allow you to view distinctly different types of lights shows and light trails. This isn’t the best option for beginners, being one of the heaviest of UltraPoi’s three LED poi ball sets, but intermediate and advanced spinners will find a lot to love.
Regardless of which LED poi ball set you choose, the Helix Poi, Orb Poi, and Vortex Poi will each allow for amazing poi spinning. If you require additional features or parts for specific performances, upgrade them! All of UltraPoi’s light up poi are upgradeable before checkout.
HOW TO GET STARTED USING LED POI
Poi spinning is an ancient performance art form that has been revived today, thanks to the addition of LED lights. Today, LED poi sets, also known as glow poi, flow poi, and light up poi, have attracted communities of performance artists online at home and at many types of festivals. Together, this new wave of flow artists has advanced the art form in exciting directions. Now is your chance to join the movement and contribute your creative abilities.
If you’re just getting started, try the Orb Poi set, or if you don’t mind a little more setup, check out the Helix Poi. The Vortex Poi set is best for experienced performers that need a light show. Once you’ve honed your fundamentals, consider upgrading your current set to take full advantage of its features.