Flow Arts In The Rave Scene: More Than Just Gloving

| May 04, 2017

I talk about gloving. A lot. I drop references to gloves or gloving in probably four out of five of every one of my articles. I’ve even devoted full articles to gloving, from Insomniac’s irrational ban on gloves, to light show etiquette. But light shows and flow art has grown to encompass so much more than just gloving.

Gloving has been around for quite some time, but recently, other forms of flow art have been making their way into the scene.

Orbits, poi, hula hoops and space whips have become more common at festivals and raves, and have been adding their light and color to the flow art community.

Most ravers know what gloving is, but we want to give a short introduction about the other flow art mediums.


Orbits involve an illumined LED wheel on a long cord that is held with both hands. The orbit spins quickly on the cord when the orbit is manipulated. An orbital light show was actually one of the coolest light shows I’ve ever gotten, the patterns and light trails are unlike anything else that I’ve ever seen. Orbits’ small size makes them easy to carry around festival grounds.

Hula Hoops

Hula-hoops may have been a fun childhood pastime, but in the world of LED lights and neon colors, they have become a new rave staple. A LED hula hoop is mesmerizing and allows the artist to use their entire body while performing. Unlike your childhood hula hoop, flow art hula hoops aren’t restricted to your waist.

Space Whips

Space whips contain long LED fibers that emit different colored lights. Unlike gloves, poi and orbits, the lights on space whips are diffused throughout the entire strand, resulting in a softer luminescence.

The space whip fibers can be quite long, but when twirled and manipulated correctly, space whips create visual flow art that is impossible to stop watching.


Poi originated as an (occasionally pyrotechnic) Maori performance art but over the years, the plain white ball-ends have been swapped out for the twenty-first century LED version.

Poi as flow art is much faster than gloving and hooping and involves swinging two poi balls around the performer. Poi can be quite challenging, but if you can keep the strings untangled, the results are breathtaking.

You cannot quantify one type of flow art over another. Gloving isn’t better than orbiting. Poi isn’t more complicated than hula-hooping. All of these different types of flow art are unique and beautiful in their own ways and all of them demand a high level of skill.

Inspired to try your hand at flow art? You can check out our selection of gloves here, orbits here, space whips here and poi here.

about the writer

Lindsay Moriyama

Lindsey Moriyama

Read More...Lindsey was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii but now she lives, writes, bartends and stretches paychecks in New York City.

Illenium, Gareth Emery and Porter Robinson are her favorites, but you'll find her at any EDM event in any borough. A lover of every genre from trance to dubstep, you can find her on the fringes of a crowd gloving, dancing and bringing good vibes. A PLURR fairy, basshead, trance child and kandi kid all in one, this scene is her world.

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