How the Flow Arts Have Taken Over the EDM Community
Have you ever wondered why you see people at festivals dancing around with their own light-up hula hoops at a festival when there is a million dollar production happening behind them? LED gloves, hoops, poi, staffs, fans, orbits and other glowing props are growing in numbers at concerts and music festivals around the globe.
These "flow artists" dance at the back of the crowd, in their own bliss, all while mesmerizing those around them.
The Concept of "Flow Arts"
Flow is 'a mental state of operation. There are sequences and stylistic execution that must take place. Through the use of props such as a hula hoop, accompanied with dance and movement, "flow art" is created.
Music is another important component to flow. Maintaining a beat and basing movement off of a matching sound enhances the performance.
The originators of the craft used fire in their performances to create a visually aesthetic aspect to the performance. Fire is still used to this day, however with the obvious advances in technology since creation hundreds of years ago, the use of LED lights have added a new trippy aspect.
To help us get a better understanding of the flow art community, I reached out to poi performer, instructor, and blogger of almost 10 years, Ben Drexler of DrexFactor Poi for his professional input.
"I think the flow community really stands at a point of crossroads in history where our media, hobbies, and work begin to become more user-driven than creator-driven. The flow arts have grown and flourished at an astonishing rate precisely because they are something anybody can pick up and enjoy and become a gateway into building a community of common interest," Drexler said.
The Most Popular Flow Props
Hooping uses a round ring that is not usually spun like a normal hula hoop, as these hoops are generally larger in diameter. Rather, they are wrapped, rolled, and tossed around the body at different speeds, beats, and rhythms.
Poi is the art of spinning two weighed objects at the end of two separate cords.
Gloving requires the use of Glove Lights, or a set of gloves with LED lights attached to each finger. This method is best when used up close and personal ensure the intricate use of each of the ten fingers is seen.
Anyone just starting off and along their journey of mastering the craft will face is the frustration of body coordination. Those that accept the challenge will eventually feel pride in their success for mastering their first trick. That first trick helps you to understand the next trick, and so on. Next thing you know, you'll be forming sequences that you didn't even imagine to be possible.
From there, it becomes an obsession.
The Community of Flow Arts Continues To Grow
"I imagine the flow arts will continue to grow organically at a slow but dependable rate. We will likely have more companies, events, and options in technology than we do right now, but the big X factor is how the community reacts to the growth," Drexler said.
The future of the flow arts inclusion in the EDM community is what makes the connections made so genuine. Find a "flowmie" that shares the same obsession as yourself in the middle of a music festival and it could end up being a lifelong friendship.