Because everyone secretly wants to play with fire…

At my alma mater Colgate University, we have two great traditions with fire. As a freshman, you are led up the hill by torch carrying members of Konosioni (the senior honor society) where you then walk around the quad and into the Chapel for Convocation. This marks the official beginning of your time at Colgate. Then at the end of your senior year, the night before graduation, all 750+ members of the senior class hold torches and walk down the hill together. This signifies that your Colgate career has ended and come full circle. Holding a torch is absolutely terrifying, but it is absolutely  worth it. Torchlight is hands down the greatest Colgate tradition. In fact, it is recreated during every reunion. We just got to have our fire…

This is not Convocation or Torchlight. Just another instance of Konosioni jumping at the opportunity to play with fire…
Photo credit: Fatima Sowe

Now you may be asking why I am talking about one of my college traditions. Dance can draw inspiration from anywhere. When we are young, we have a slight obsession with fire. I have a very distinct memory of fire play gone wrong and blaming the black spot on the carpet on an ink spill… I am positive no one believed me.

We grow up and learn to become scared of fire. Fire can kill, take away our possessions and loved ones. We no longer want to play with physical fire, only the metaphorical ones. There are still people who still retain healthy or unhealthy obsessions with fire. When I was volunteering for first year Convocation yesterday, I thought about how fire could be incorporated into dance.

It is absolutely memorizing to see the dancer in this video play with fire. You certainly have to be a little crazy, which is probably why there is maniacal laughter in the background music. The dancer in this video, Srikanta Barefoot,   is incredible. Not only is he twirling around flame tipped batons and swords, he is doing flips, kicks, and spins.

I found myself holding my breath when he was balancing the batons on his body or swinging them through his legs. You can see he is genuinely having fun. It is a very well done video with some great artistic qualities. I love the part when Srikanta is in the dark and the light from the fire is the only illumination. If you are interested, he does offer an instruction DVD. Enjoy!

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