Welcome to Dancing Lights, My name is Nell Abram and I am a flow artist specialising mainly in the art of Poi Spinning, Palm Torch and flow dance. I have a social working academic and professional background so using my talents to be accessible to all social groups and contribute to my local community is at the core of my work. This is my professional performance website where you can book me for light and fire shows, enjoy my stories of previous shows I have done and keep up to date with future gigs and my community work. Please drop me a message to say "hi", its a pleasure to have you visit my site and I always appreciate feedback and contact. Much love.
Every day since January 29th 2021 I have been practicing spinning for an hour or more a day. There have possibly been only several days missed in this time and I never go for more than a day without picking up my poi or other dancing props to play with.
I was first introduced to poi in my early 20's at a party but I never imagined it was something that I could or would do. I remember feeling mesmerised by the patterns and look of peace in their mastery that the Artists had and wishing that I could have that the same way you might wish you could have a pet elephant. Fast forward twenty years down the line, a long standing history working in health and social care with a variety of user groups, a post grad diploma in social work, lone parent to a 5 year old, chronic health conditions, long covid that had me questioning if I was suffering early on-set dementia, an existential dilemma about who I was and my place in the world, and due to a few traumatic experiences along the way, some on-going anxiety inducing mental health problems....this is the ground upon which the seed germinated.
I have a neighbour who plays with Flow Arts (Kara Love) and whenever I saw her I remembered the Flow Arts that I encountered when I was younger and yearned so much to feel the peace and beauty I saw when I watched her play. The following Christmas I was at an emotional rock bottom. Every ounce of energy and willing to exist I had I put into keeping my daughter happy, but I realised I was setting her a poor example by merely existing to keep her happy. I realised that she needed to see there was more to life than keeping you're children happy, that life was also about investing time in the things you love and make you happy which meant I needed to start showing her by example.
But what did make me happy?
What was the "thing" I wanted to be?
I remembered my yearning for the peace and contentment I had witnessed in all the people I had seen partaking in Flow Arts and wishing that I could do the beautiful patterns they make when they are spinning.
That Christmas a friend gave me some money as a gift with the message that it must only be spent on something that would put a smile on my face. Without hesitation I bought Nick Woolsey's beginners course. I actually only completed four weeks of the course before I already found myself in what us Flow Artists call a "rabbit hole", where we become so absorbed by the variations of one particular trick that we are unable to move forward until we exhaust it of all exploration. From this point forward I built a network of Flow friends and family all learning, growing and supporting together. My poi collection grew along with my repetoire of moves and dancing style. My journey has unfolded so naturally and at the same time it feels quite remarkable the pleasure I get from playing with new ideas.
I speak of the contentment, peace and beauty I observed in other artist that inspired me, but find it incredibly humbling listening to other Flow Artists origin stories which can often contain many different shades of rock bottom that inspired them onto a Flow Arts journey too. Message me if you think this is something you would be interested to try it would give me joy to get you started. Lets give the elephant a nice warm welcome.
The contemporary poi spinning movement emerged in the festival and party scene in the 1990's. It has spread much wider than the “partying” and “festival” origins now and is known worldwide for its proven mental and physical health benefits, mathematical intrigue and artistic aesthetic in the patterns made and is practised by people from all walks of life. It is very important to acknowledge that poi spinning and the name “Poi” was appropriated from the “Indiginous maori...” who have spun for centuries. When it became popular in the 1990's dance scene the name was adopted quite naturally without awareness of appropriation. In recent years the appropriation issue has entered the community's eye and efforts are being made to show acknowledgment and respect for its true origins. Traditionally, Maori females known as Wahine perform group ceremonial dances with poi called The Kapa Haka. The practice of poi within the culture was also used as a form of physical rehabilitaion, coordination, flexibility and strength training.
The poi used within the Maori culture look very different from the poi that have emerged over the years from the 1990's and the history of the continuing growth of the movement, its equipment and branches of spinning techniques is a very interesting one. Videos have been made to catalogue these things but as yet it has not been brought together on an academic level.