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Podcast title Weird Science :: Drex's Poi Blog
Website URL https://drexfactor.com/weirdsc...
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Link to this podcast Weird Science :: Drex's Poi Blog

Episodes

1. Top 10 Favorite Poi Spinners of 2018 Voting Breakdown
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Description:

2018 has drawn to a close and once again we have our answer for who made a splash in the poi world this year. There's a lot of stats I want to dive into but first and powerful message with regard to this year's list and the people who voted to make it happen:

Liz Knights finally made it!!! WAHOOO!!! Seriously, it took you guys long enough to vote her on here.

With that said...let's dive in!

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2. If at first you don't succeed...
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Description:

What’s the longest you’ve ever worked on a single trick?

Not tricks that you toy with--working on them and then dropping them as attention spans and practice time waxes and wanes.

I’m asking what’s the longest amount of time you’ve ever spent focused on learning something new?

First a little bit of context:

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3. 5 Myths About Creating Content
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Want to be a creator and have something holding you back? What if I told you that what’s holding you back is almost certainly not a dealbreaker?

It’s been nearly 10 years since I began posting my content to YouTube and in that time I’ve learned quite a lot about how content creation. I had no idea what I was doing when I first started out but through trial and error I managed to correct a lot of my own misconceptions and came to realize that the biggest thing holding me back was my own doubts.

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4. What's your Poi Story?
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Description:

We all have a poi story--where we encountered poi and why it became a part of our lives. This is mine:

I first saw poi spinning when I went to my first Burning Man back in 2006.

My first major introduction was at a Wednesday night fire jam at Hookahdome. Sitting in the audience I was enraptured by all the artists spinning fire, regardless of tool or skill level. I remember one woman in particular spinning fire hoop that could do little more than keep it around her waist.

She was my favorite of the night.

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5. How to Find Motivation
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We all need motivation.

Motivation to practice your art. Motivation to get your work done. Motivation to wash the dishes, pay the bills, and to stay focused on the things you want to improve on.

So how do you find this elusive motivation?

Well...you don’t.

Stick with me for a second, here.

Once upon a time I used to rely on motivation. I used to wait until the need or inspiration struck me to make things happen. And I found I didn’t get a lot done.

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6. Overcoming fear
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Description:

A couple years ago I decided I needed a hobby.

I spin poi full time, creating videos and content and while I love getting to do a thing I enjoy full time it also taught me the value of having a thing in your life that you do casually and don’t necessarily need to invest yourself completely into.

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7. When It's Not About You
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This past weekend was an incredibly special experience.

Five years ago, I founded a troupe in Washington, DC to send a fire conclave to Burning Man. For those who’ve never been, on Saturday night during the week of the Burning Man festival, the titular effigy of a man is burned and the entire event celebrates. The opening act are fire performance troupes from all over the world that submit audition videos in order to be a part of this very special experience.

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8. When Mistakes Aren't Mistakes
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We all have this moment: we’re working on something new and unfamiliar and WHAM! The poi hits us.

Some days it’s a minor annoyance and some days it makes us what to tear our hair out and throw the poi down, never to pick them up again.

Even after more than 10 years of spinning, I still have the latter days. I still have those moments when something is so frustrating and feels so unattainable that I have trouble imagining it’ll ever make sense to me.

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9. Poi Dancing - Yucat√°n Flow
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Description:

Life wears us down and tends to tear us away in tiny little pieces, making it hard to remember how full of wonder the world can be.

What's really awesome is when you're able to find moments of beauty through it all. If you leave yourself open to this kind of discovery, you'll find these moments of beauty appearing more often than you might think!

Several weeks ago my girlfriend and I took a vacation to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. I will totally admit that I was pretty grumpy and exhausted and wasn't even sure I wanted to go.

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10. Top 3 Behind the Back Poi Tricks You Should Know
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Description:

I've been in the poi community long enough that I've seen several waves of tricks come through that become cool, then passe, then rediscovered all over again.

When I first started spinning, behind the back tricks were one of those tricks that were absolutely essential if you wanted to be taken seriously as a tech spinner. They've lost a lot of that sheen in the past several years but I still see people on occasion doing creative things with these tricks.

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11. Ridiculous Thoughts | Poi Dance Choreography by Drex
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Description:

I'm absolutely heartbroken with the news yesterday of Dolores O'Riordan passing. The Cranberries were an incredibly important band for me as a teenager and probably the first band that convinced me that it was worth listening to music that had been recorded after 1973. I took some of that heartache and decided to make it into something beautiful with it. I hope you enjoy it.



12. Top 10 Favorite Poi Spinners of 2017
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Description:

2017 was definitely the year of string manipulations and continued our community down the road of fusing poi with juggling. I'm also pleased to see that it is the first year we've had three women in top 10 (can't wait till it's half or more!).

Chris Kelly returned to the top spot after being dethroned by Tim Goddard last year. It should be noted that they were separated by only 3 votes so if this keeps up it'll be anybody's game next year.

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13. How much do Flow Artists make?
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Description:

A couple years ago I remember running across a blog post by the cellist Zoe Keating. In it she laid out in fairly explicit detail where her income for the past year and come from and how much it amounted to.

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14. Who owns tricks?
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Description:

The flow arts have grown by leaps and bounds partially thanks to a culture of open source sharing--but that culture may have a darker side. I've seen many online debates over ownership of tricks and a recent conversation with a friend prompted me to reexamine my own stance on the issue.



15. Mayday ATL Fire Safety Blanket Review
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Description:

About a month ago I was sent a very special package!

A company in Atlanta called Mayday ATL is now making fire safety blankets that they hope will make the venerable duvetyne a thing of the past.

Their new blankets are made of aramid fibers, so they're both naturally fire resistant as well as machine-washable. In addition, they feature a trim of reflective material to make them easy to spot in the dark and embroidered personalization.

I decided to put Mayday ATL's blankets to the test in this review--see what I thought of them!

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16. Leave an Open Door
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Description:

I spent most of the year choreographing it and I got a lot of requests for a video that was just my performance of this piece without the tutorial around it. Here it is with some minimal edits--I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed choreographing it!



17. Poi Spinning Combo Choreography: 2017 Routine
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Description:

I know from my surveys that without a doubt the content you all most like to see from me on these newsletters are my Poi Combo tutorials.

Well...I've been kind of holding onto a bit of a secret with these all year. And that secret is that every combo I've done since March was part of a full-length routine!

That's right. All the combos fit together like puzzle pieces and this morning I published a tutorial that shows you how to stitch them all together.

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18. How to Choreograph: Blocking 101
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Description:

If you want to choreograph your own pieces, Blocking is an essential skill to have. This is the process of breaking songs up into smaller bits that correspond to dynamic or instrument changes.

In this video I show how this process works and choreograph a short piece as a result of that blocking. Check it out for yourself and learn this very valuable skill!



19. Which prop is right for you?
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Description:

I got asked in a recent Q&A how one can find the prop that they were meant to spin. The answer I gave was something I'll reckon the person asking didn't quite expect but in my experience it's the right one. Check out my thoughts on the matter here:



20. Profiles in Flow: Rachael Lust
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Description:

Rachael is one of my favorite hoopers out there! I'm constantly amazed not just with the creativity and dedication with which she approaches her craft, but also how deftly she balances her roles as a flow celebrity and mother.

I got a chance to sit down with Rachael last week and talk to her about her career and how she's managed to do the impossible. Check it out to get her tips on how to go viral, put together workshop tours, and manage your social media presence!

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21. Advanced Poi Choreography Combo: November 2017
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Description:

I want to let you in on a little secret: tech and flow are not opposites.

Lots of people think they are because they decided to pursue one over the other, but there's no reason they can't live together in harmony.

Take my last combo for the month of November! Here you'll find rapid transitions between pattern-based tech poi tricks as well as beautiful jumps and pirouettes. It's the best of both worlds!

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22. 5 Poi Tricks Every Beginner Should Learn
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Description:

I remember one of the biggest hurdles when I started spinning poi: there are SO many tricks to learn.

How do I know which ones to focus on?

I didn't have a very structured learning environment, so what I learned was a hodgepodge of what looked cool, what my friends told me I should learn, and what tutorials I could find online.

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23. Speevers Super Soky Poi
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Description:

Speevers is a juggling company based out of Israel that is now making LED and practice poi. They sent me a set of their Super Soky poi to review, including their new Jupiter ball LED heads.

The good news: I really dig the twist they've put on sock poi. They're just as fun to use during the day as they are at night.

The bad news: They're incredibly hard and may not be the best set to start out with.

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24. Should the Flow Arts go Mainstream?
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Description:

Every so often I see someone online saying that poi or the flow arts are "the next big thing."

I can't tell you whether or not this is true, but it does leave me wondering if that's a thing we want to have happen.

Many love the idea of millionaire spinners or to see poi in the Olympics or other mainstream venue. Others don't want the ills of the outside world to intrude on our cozy pocket of humanity.

In this week's video, I consider both sides of the debate and share my own thoughts on this question.

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25. November Poi Flow
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Description:

It's been ages since I've shared a flow video and I wanted to show off some of the dance technique I've been honing these past couple months.

The beautiful fall colors here in DC gave me a moment of inspiration, so please check out my November flow video. Let me know if the dance work has been paying off!

 



26. Beginner Poi Dancing Combo: Choreography tutorial for November 2017
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Description:

If there's one thing I wish I could do better with my flow, it's this: dancing with my poi. Learning to get all the tricks is one challenge but moving with them is entirely a different one.

This month I set down a challenge with my poi combo tutorial: it had to be more about moving your body than the poi. Not only do I think I succeeded, but I'm also happy to report that this combo requires only 3 poi moves.

That's not a typo: you only need 3 tricks to do this combo and they're all beginner level tricks.

Give this combo a try and let me know what you think of it!

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27. Tips on Starting an Etsy Shop with Olive Pizzo of Harmonic Threads
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Description:

Starting up a new feature through my YouTube and now a new Soundcloud account: Profiles in Flow. Every month, I'm going to interview a Flow Arts entrepreneur about how they got started, the challenges they've faced, and their tips for creating successful businesses.

This first episode features Olive Marie from Harmonic Threads. In this hour-long interview we talk about how Harmonic Threads got its start, how its grown, the stresses of entrepreneurship, and her tips for people starting out. If you've ever wanted to start an Etsy business, this is great advice to help you! 

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28. What are the best LED poi handles? (2017 buyers guide)
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Description:

In the past few years, LED handles have grown as a market for prop makers driven by demand from poi spinners learning gunslingers as well as juggling. Today, I’m going to test four different options for LED handles to see how they stack up and which ones are the best fit for you.

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29. October 2017 Poi Dance Combo
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Description:

Patterns are hard to remember, let alone where to transition out of them. Not to mention it's super easy to get lost as you're doing them. Have no fear, fam...I got you!

I've been doing monthly poi combo videos for most of the year but I haven't done an advanced combo since the spring. I wanted to throw a bone to those of you who've been learning the techier stuff in my 1-minute tutorials.

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30. How long should poi tethers be?
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Description:

It's one of the most common questions that poi spinners have when they begin their spinning careers--how long should your poi be? There's an awful lot of caveats when it comes to answering this question, but here is the best I can do.



31. Review: Ovo Handles from Lanternsmith
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Description:

Lanternsmith revolutionized the poi handle game several years ago with the introduction of their Pomgrips. Now they've just released second generation poms as well as introducing a new handle form factor they're referring to as Ovo handles. These are specifically meant to be heavier and include more internal room than the Pomgrips. What do I think of these new handles? Click below to find out!



32. August Poi Combo
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Description:

So...you've got a few tricks under your belt. Inevitably the question comes up of how you put those tricks together into combos and choreography.

Fam...I got you!

Every month I post a new poi combo that uses tricks that I've covered in my 1-minute tutorial series. This month that combo is for intermediate level spinners!

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33. How to do Poi Turns
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Description:

Since taking up formal dance training 8 years ago, one of the my favorite challenges was learning how to turn as I spun my prop!

As it turns out there are a lot of ways to go about this, including chaînés, pique, and fouetté turns.

It's something that people have frequently told me they really dig about my style of spinning as I've worked very hard to integrate these turns into my flow.

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34. Visual Poi Version 4 Review and Walkthrough
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Description:

Programmable poi are one of the most exciting offerings in the world of poi from the past few years.

Being able to see pictures and messages in the trails of poi has been a game changer for performers as well as casual spinners--even resulting in one of the first poi videos to gain more than 1 million views!

One of the most innovative companies making strides in this area is Pyroterra's prop making division Lighttoys and they're now releasing their 4th-generation Visual Poi.

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35. How to Make a Prop Rack and Prop Wall
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Description:

When my girlfriend and I first discussed moving in together, one thing that came up time and time again was our desire to have a way to store all our props that was both functional and beautiful.

We've had many friends online who've created prop racks or prop walls to show off their many tools and make them easily accessible and so we wanted to make one for ourselves.

Truth be told: this was one of the most fun home improvement projects I've ever done. We started by planning out the wall with scaled down paper cutouts and pricing out various options at hardware stores.

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36. Poi Dancing Tutorial: How to use Levels and Level Changes
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Description:

Several years ago I went on an Easter holiday to Ocean City, MD and spent some time getting my flow on while I was on the boardwalk.

I had a friend take some video--it was some of the earliest footage I'd seen of myself moving with poi and I was overcome with one thought.

I looked horrible.

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37. Beginner Poi Dance Combo for July 2017
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Description:

Learning transitions is almost like learning poi all over again.

We all know that feeling when you've spent hours trying to learn a trick and the moment of victory when you can do it reliably.

Then you realize you have no idea how to connect it to your other tricks...

Many of us when we first start out simply do a trick for a few repetitions, stop spinning, do our next trick for a few reps, and stop again.

It can be an agonizing way to start out--especially if you're spinning fire!

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38. Drex's Road Diary: Czech Republic and Pyroterra
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What is home?

It's a deceptively simple question but it somehow becomes a lot more complicated when you travel frequently. I have people and places that feel like home to me all over the world.

Home feels like watching Game of Thrones with my friend Kate McCoy in Ohio. Home feels like catching up with my friend Tracy in New York City. Home feels like hiking where I grew up in Colorado.

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39. Hedgehogs vs Foxes in the Flow World
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Description:

By and large I feel like people in the Flow Arts community fit into one of two categories: those that want to pick up all the props and those that want to get really good at just a few or even one.

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40. Future Poi by Moodhoops Review
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Description:

I’ve spent some time now playing with both the Future Poi Lites as well as Future Poi Remote and I’m gonna cover how they operate, how they feel, and give a brief overview of pros and cons for these.

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41. Revolutionary Motion 2017 Auditions
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Description:

Revolutionary Motion is DC's premiere fire spinning troupe and we're about to begin our 2017 season. This year we'll again have two projects: Burning Man fire conclave and a fall stage performance and we'd love to add you to our roster!

Every year RevMo becomes far more than a fire troupe--the people you spend time with will become your friends and family over the course of the year, creating powerful relationships and connections that work both inside the rehearsal space and outside.

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42. 3 Poi Dance Combos for all Skill Levels
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Learned a few poi tricks and now trying to figure out how to string them together into transitions, dance, or flow? Check out this new video! I've written 3 move combos that feature tricks I've been covering in my 1-minute tutorial series. I've included one for every skill level and each builds upon the work of the previous combo. The last combo also incorporates footwork and dance to make the combo performance-worthy!



43. Shapes vs Momentum in Poi Dance
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Description:

For the past two years I've been struggling to come up with a way to teach poi/dance integration on my YouTube Channel and I've finally struck upon a format that I like! Every month I'll be posting a new video blog covering a topic in flow arts and dance fusion--I'm hoping that by posting the way I'm learning myself that it'll help many of you find ways of merging the two together as well :)



44. Top 10 Favorite Poi Spinners of 2016 Vote Rundown
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Description:

The top 10 favorite poi spinners of 2016 video is out! This is the fifth year of this project and like every year, this one broke many of the rules I'd come to believe about how the vote count sorts out. First and most important (to me) is that this is the first year that two women have made the list! Ever since we had a list of 10 men I've badly wanted to see more women crack into the top 10 and this was the year I finally got my wish.

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45. 2016 in Retrospect
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2016 has been a really incredible year in so very many different ways. Now that it's nearly over, I wanted to share some of my highlights from this year with you all :)

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46. New Poi Course!
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Available for the first time to the general public! If you've picked up many of the basics of poi and are looking to deepen your knowledge, this course will take you through crossers, isolations, hybrids, and so much more. This 11-part series will guide you from the world of beginner poi into intermediate spinning.

Purchase the full series here!

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47. Luminancer Update
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Description:

I did a video on Luminancer several months ago in my series on how to create light trails on your spinning footage, but they recently came out with an update so I wanted to do another video on what’s changed and what hasn’t.

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48. ePoi Review
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Description:

ePoi are Emazing Light’s entry into what I’ve come to think of as the kind of mid-market poi that hover around the $100 dollar mark and meet some or all of the following criteria:

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49. Flow[space] - Drex Poi
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Description:

Back in September, a gentleman named Johari Kazura from Starlight Academy in Singapore came through the Flow Space right after Burning Man just like I did. He had with him a gimbal-mounted camera rig and we spent an afternoon playing with it in the Flowspace.

 

 

 



50. Tutorial: Double Staff 8-Step CAP Recipe
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Description:

I know it’s been a while since I’ve done a double staff video, but recently I had a Skype lesson with a double staff spinner who wanted to know all about 8-step CAPs and I realized that it’d make a great topic for a video! Specifically, we covered how you can create a variety of different 8-step CAPs with a very simple recipe.

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