Firedancing Live Blog

Live Blog from Firedancing at the WatershedPDX

I’m sitting in SouthEast Portland at an open ‘crafts and burning’ night where a community of people come together to fire dance and build crafts, and apparently also burn anything of their liking. We’re considering it as a fate for a few of our extra pillows floating around our bus.

I just introduced us to the group, who hasn’t seemed to have much in the way of verbal conversation yet. People are dancing with yet unlit tools from sword to bolos to larger plastic balls apparently vulnerable to breaking if dropped. People are friendly and appreciative of our thoughtfulness for asking if we were intruding with the cameras.

We’ve settled into our places with minimal interaction, Sam applying Gesso to his canvas against the concrete floor, Alex behind the camera. I’m sitting cross-legged against a garage-style corrugated red door. I feel a little like I’m at camp and I missed the counselor instructions for our next activity and I’m too shy to ask but excited to figure out the rules for myself.

This is shaping up to be a very interesting night. The music just stopped I might want to go join the group for a bit.

— 30 minutes of fire dancing practice —-

Just spun a staff for a while. I’d never tried it before where I actually just decided to dance with a staff and see what happened- I think it’s something I could get into. It’s a heavy weight in your hands and demands thoughtfulness in your movement to handle the significant momentum. That’s something I realize I like- doing things that demand focus and intention.

We still haven’t exchanged more than about 5 words with the members of this group. But hey, seems alright that we’re here. Nobody objected to us snapping pics and filming at least.

The space is very interesting; it seems to be totally left up to the people who are in it. ‘House Rules’ look like they’re basically see what happens. I can dig that. I heard this was probably typical Portland, people being pretty damn weird and loving it.

I’m hoping to get the chance to talk with Dead Letter, the guy who runs this space, about potentially using it to host Create Portland. All I’ve seen of him yet is his name branding a beaten up ice-cream-truck of a van in the back parking lot. I’m pretty sure he was the guy who started up the music but yet to find out for sure.

A few new people just joined the mix, adding hoops to the staff and bolos brigade. Might give my ol’ staff a go again.

—-about an hour of moving and hanging on bus—-

They’re starting fire.. it’s a mesmerizing sight to see. Juggling something so presently dangerous must take you to a supreme state of focus. It’s contagious, the state of mind they’re in. I bet that’s a big part of the reason the 20-odd people who are here choose to partake in this unusual sport.

I’m going to go see if I can get a turn… but I guess I have had a few beers and may not be the best time to spin fire around myself. I do tend to get carried away in dancing. Have a great night!

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8 Responses to “Firedancing Live Blog”

  1. Jeff

    Not that anyone but a Portlander would care, but that was SE – South EAST – Portland, culturally much funkier than SW. I’d love to see some of the videos you took. Keep up the staff play!. Music + (staff | poi | hoop | sword | anything that moves) + let yourself go = flow.

    — the old guy with the sword

    • Mike

      Hey Jeff, sorry about that! Thanks for the staff tips, keepin my planes in mind.

  2. Alex

    Hey Jeff,

    I filmed last night, it was a great experience shooting the rhythm and the movement of the people in unison with the fire. I will be editing today so hopefully I will have the video up tonight or tomorrow. The best way to see it is to visit our youtube channel: Thanks for the advice/ fire dancing performance!

  3. Michelle

    Great shots of Jeff and Kiana! Also you took pictures of me….I really want to facebook them. Badly. Can I put them up? With credit to you guys of course? These are the first real photos of me spinning.

    It was cool to see you guys swooping around with camera’s and I whole-heartedly encourage you guys to come back next tuesday. :) <3

  4. Michelle

    By the way, I am sorry to hear that you felt left out or minimally interacted with! I got introduced to the shed through a mutual friend of mine who is a regular, I figured you guys had shown up with your own people, as many often do.

    I am the girl in the black hoodie in the pictures you shot. Next time you are there PLEASE come say hello to me if I am there. I try to go every week with a few exceptions when scheduling conflicts occur. You guys have a great thing going and people like you all are the kind of people we want to be there! We do not want anyone to feel left out, especially creative minds who want to take sweet footage of our dancing! =p


    • Mike

      Definitely put the photos on FB, I’d love to see them too! I didn’t mean to make it sound like we were excluded; it was actually a great atmosphere and I had a really good time.

      We might be hopping up to Seattle on Tuesday but if we’re still in town we’ll do our best to make it back and say hi this time!


  5. Alex

    Hey Michelle,

    Please feel free to use the photos, if you do, credit them to 7cees. We didn’t know fire dancing was going to be going on until we got there, so as newcomers we didn’t want to interrupt/ were caught up in our own art between filming, writing, painting and trying some staff moves. It was a really enjoyable evening and if we make it back we’ll be sure to talk to more people, I have a video up on youtube as well of the night at:


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