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Flow Arts? What is this thing called Flow Arts. Its mainly an American thing, a marketing strategy back in the early 2000 approximately to create a category outside of circus and juggling and combining a more neo hippie, Burning Man, fire spinning, tendency of falling into more philosophical debate on manipulation.
This is all just based on my perspective.
The pros: Juggling has started to have a big presence in the Flow Arts, and the growth of people in the Flow Arts community has been huge due to the popularity of EDM (Electronics Dance Music) and hence the music festival has been growing such a rapid speed, and eventually perpetuate the growth of people in the Flow Arts Community.
So i am observing this from europe mainly through the internet but the flow scene in europe is definitly either growing or simply more people who did the same thing (juggling in hippie cloth to edm music in parks and on festival with a high focus on fire and glow) for quite some time just find a place in these scene.
I believe that in the beginning the term flow juggling was used to seperate playing juggling for pleasure from practising juggling in order to learn a specific set of juggling skills. i believe it was also used to seperate different styles of movement while juggling (standing until you do a 360 vs dancing like a hippie with pois)
i also believe the world would be a better place if we would agree to use the word flow exclusivly to describe the state of flow and nothing else but i guess it´s to late for that.
i think the point when the seperation really started was when the WJF was losing relevance because people got bored from technical juggling or whatever. Some Hobbyist especially those with uncommon props (poi hoop levi etc) didn´t identify with the term juggler anymore because they werent those kinds of geeks. they didn´t have the option to say well i am not a juggler i am an artist because they didn´t have the desire to become artists. all they wanted to do was get in the flow zone with their props. But then the scene exploded and so did the technical level of flow props. Poi got incredible Techy and Hula Hoop got artsy. So now we are at a point were we have a technical geeky juggling community, a circus arts community, a profesional scene, a hobbyist scene of people who are perfectly happy with the term juggler and many more as well as people who easily fit in all of these (me). I think we need to have this “discussion” and i think that we need to get everybody involved but i think the most important thing is to remind us that we are all jugglers in the first place. First you are a juggler, then you can start explaining what kind of juggler u are if u think it´s necessary. if we don´t exclude anybody from the juggling scene and nobody excludes himself from the juggling scene because he´s a special snow flake juggling can grow in any direction it wishes and spread through the world in the process
Thank you Fisherman for that reply.
Ive only been to Europe for the 2nd time. And my assumption of Flow Arts not really growing is kinda wrong. I went to a jam here in Milan last night pre Ejc, there was like 3 numbers ball jugglers, and probably 15 poi spinners!!
Its interesting to hear and see the growth in Europe.
random thought i had just now, it might be that while the flow arts szene in europe is growing the seperation between flow and tech might hasnt crossed the borders so it is not really an issue because we´ll still train and meet at the same places
‘Arguments Against the word Flow Arts’ Article. By Dawn. And this is my reply.
I do agree that clubs balls rings are more towards the ‘juggler’ heirachy and poi, staves, hoop are more under the ‘flow arts’ category.
Its like the tech vz flow in a way, there is no definite answer and people will always ramble and define themselves as what they want to be in their head.
For me Juggling or Circus = EDM and Flow Arts is sorta like the new Liquid D&B, Dubstep, its a subgenre from the old umbrella.
A few things that will help define if you are Flow Artists
1. You wear Harem Pants
2. You spin Poi more than anything
3. You have Dreadlocks
4. You attend more fire festivals than juggling conventions
5. You spend more time around the fire circle than indoor training space
6. You attend Burning Man
7. You most likely live in America
8. You probably dont run 5 balls
9. Theres not much point of you attending EJC, cause you think its all toss juggling
10. You collect rocks
11. You probably dont know whose Anthony Gatto
12. You probably own PodPoi
A few things that helps define you as a Juggler
1. You wear grey sweat pants and a business shirt
2. You mostly dont do Poi
3. You probably can do 5 balls
4. You get heckle at the Fire Circle (Tony Pezzo)
5. You probably dont know the buzzsaw joke (Wes Peden)
Hoopers dont really matter and dont debate, they just care about their goddesses cause they are in their own universe, they do not care if they are considered a juggler or flow artists. But most American hoopers use the word ‘flow’ heavily.
This is where the moral dilemma is, Im technically not from America, and yet I wear harem pants from my hometown and spend most of my time nowadays in the indoor training space. I have no dreadlocks but I do fishtails with clubs, is that a flow art? Club Fishtails? I have no identity. Lost in this subculture.
In the end there is no definite definition.
Here is what I really think:
I do agree on the hierarchy of props.
Flow Arts = Poi, Staves, Hoops then the rest
Juggling = Clubs, Balls, Rings then the rest.
I think since we are mainly talking about prop manipulation, the movement of feet might be another story. In my mind, theres 3 categorization, spin/ swing, contact , toss.
So if you look closely to those 3, spin/ swing heavily belongs to the flow arts. It has to, think about the biggest contribution, the antispin and the buzzsaw. It was not like the flow arts created it, it already has been there for centuries, its just the flow arts popularize it.
Contact, its a blur area between juggling and flow arts, cause the difficulty is high hence more towards techy / juggly but then theres movement of body or the sense of kinetic awareness, more hollistic, flow arts? It also depends what style of contact, rolling, or wrapping and then it falls into either category?
Then comes toss, traditionally the whole world knows toss = juggling.
But here comes the catch though, theres the catch though, does that mean from a poi spinner once you start tossing poi you are entering the juggling realm?
Or a juggler once you start adding swings, buzzsaws and even the amazing antispin you are entering the flow arts.
Or to get even more confusing, swing, antispin and throw with 3 clubs?
Or strictly work on siteswaps with 3 poi?
But thats the beauty no? Like if you are the king of siteswaps, or the king of antispins its like ok. But then once you are the king of antispin, contact and throws regardless of props then we are talking. Then you have shred all labels and have entered another dimension?
Chew on it, let it digest.
I appreciate pushing boundaries and straddling borders to the point where a current classification system breaks down. There’s a juggler in my club who’s been at it for a couple years, who’s fairly up-to-date on videos, and after I show him a trick/pattern, he’ll often ask me, “What’s that trick called?” Many times it doesn’t have a name, and every time that’s the case, he looks surprised!
When people straddle borders between philosophies, and build up amazing hybrids, I imagine some people being more surprised than others. The exact terms are escaping me right now, but it reminds me of a theory of learning where:
1 – The student sees everything as clear-cut, right/wrong
2 – The student begins to see grey areas, and has a little existential crisis, not knowing how to compartmentalize/evaluate these grey areas.
3 – The student can see these new areas, think about them critically, and converse about them meaningfully.
I truly enjoy your (and a few others’) work in mixing and developing philosophies that span props in ways that haven’t been done before.
I agree, this is the most interesting aspect of juggling for me. It seems like there’s still so much uncharted territory to be explored – not just raw juggling theory itself, but learning about learning how to create or execute juggling patterns. I’ve been thinking about the juggling applications of concepts like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_competence, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metacognition#Metacognitive_strategies, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creativity_techniques a lot recently.
How about just using ”juggling” to describe toss juggling and ”object manipulation” to describe spinning, contact etc? Of course “object manipulator” sounds weird and less fancy than ”flow artist”.
But to my mind those to categories more or less describe the actual actions that you do and ”flow arts” describes more the mindstate or kind of subculture that you identify with. There are many poi spinners (and especially poi jugglers) who would fit more under the ”juggler” mindstate than the ”flow artist” mindstate (if i understand what this last one is correctly).
Edit: i even know a few spinners who wear sweatpants and don’t have dreadlocks and don’t even use the word “flow” in conversations about juggling and manipulation!
Ok, i can undestand the urge of categorize and atomize to manage, as we learn to do so.
The hiscorical way of juggling or popular way to see juggling was tossing and performing in a circus, it can be logicical to say/see that juggling is tossing with this particular circus spirit.
Since then, a part of juggling split apart from circus and go next to théâtre and dance; probably in the neo-hippy too as you name it. Juggling was take away from only circus.
So Juggling was adapting, morphing i don’t know but the spirit of it seems still : Body, Mind, Object and the Relation between all three.
Maybe i can considerat different path of juggling like i just want to show off with color and fire, i just want to add object and rythme, i just want to dance and juggle, i just want to be with my friend, whom juggle.
Still i prefere to looking for the complexity of what is juggling than looking for boundary between way of people dressing or manipulate them object.
If you start juggling you probably gonna have something happen inside you. If you catch it and develope it. Ok, now you are a juggler.
So i don’t see difference between ball, diabolo, hoop and poï but i see a big difference in how people practice.
This is an amazing reply.
How old would you say flow arts is?
please also state your reasoning for your answer.
Who coined he term and when?