The history of our Fire Dancers. How Dreams of Fire began – Part 1

I thought Id start this blog post with an overview and history of Dreams of Fire, South Africa’s most established and experienced Fire dancing entertainment and Fire effects company. It all began in Mid 1999 when I was given my first Fire staff. I hadn’t planned to get into fire dancing but having received the fire staff and lots of encouragement to use it I started playing around and working out basic moves. See in those days there wasn’t a wealth of fire dancing knowledge available on line, actually there wasn’t any, so it was all trial and error and on the very rare occasion finding a fire dancer to watch at a Trance party or festival. My first fire staff was made of rosewood and was 1.8 m tall which was taller than me and essentially a marshal artists fighting staff. The first real discovery I made was that a fire staff needs to be the right size for ones height and the heavier it is the more stamina is required to play efficiently with it. I learned this the hard way after finally getting the courage to light for the first time. I got burned and I was completely exhausted and was like “this is really not so much fun at all. In retrospect I now realise that it would have been the perfect contact staff but contact only came later. After that I was at a Trance party and there was a Fire dancer present, I was excited and went to talk to them. I noticed they had a shorter fire staff and they had used an aluminium pole. I asked If I could take it for a spin and wow how different and amazing the experience was. Needless to say the first thing I did when I got home as strip the Kevlar off my staff and put it on a thinner diameter aluminium pole that was 1.5 m in length and you would not believe how different the experience was and how much more I could do just by reducing the length and weight. So by this time it was the end of 1999 and the Millennium was upon us. I launched Dreams of Fire in 2000 and started putting a crew together. There weren’t many fire dancers to tap at the time so some in house development and training was required and of course inspiring others to get involved. Once word was out we would get offered free entry to trance parties and festivals in exchange for some fire dancing. I was also doing psychedelic décor at the time so was getting quite involved in the festival and party scene. Our first big booking came in 2000 with an international company called Schneider Electric who chose South Africa to celebrate 30 years of service. They had a Black Tie affair at Vodaworld and I teamed up with Josh Lindenburg who was heading the events entertainment side.  I had a crew of 9 performers and Masimo had built a big 30 burning logo.

We worked out a 6 minute mixed Choreography with staff and poi and then preceded to light up the burning logo on stage. It was a hit and this show officially marked the beginning of my professional career in Fire entertainment in South Africa and became the spring board to getting bookings and building a reputation in the industry. By 2002 we had performed at Sun city and based on previous experience were picked to represent the Element of Fire in The welcoming Ceremony for the World Summit on sustainable living 2002. This show consisted of 500 performers and Dreams of Fires crew of 9 brought real fire to the stage. We were honoured to be part of this globally broadcast show with Nelson Mandela sitting in the Audience. Our reputation grew in the corporate industry and word of mouth started bring in a lot of the bookings even though we did have our website up and running