Monday, April 10, 2006

Japanese Poi Event: Almost Mythical

IMG_0964.JPGOn Sunday night I went to "En," a poi event organized by Yuta, Nao, and other members of the Tokyo spinning community.

When I first heard about the "poi event," I didn't know what to think. A fire festival, sure. A pagan dance party in the desert, of course! But an indoor, no-fire-allowed, cover-charge-to-get-in, "poi event?"

Then I started to hear the details: A contest (that I had to help judge, eek), a magic show, a DJ, a bar, prizes... it all sounded so strange, so... foreign. Would it work? Do people do things like this in Tokyo?

4:30pm: We show up at the space: a huge yoga studio in niced part of Tokyo. 15 minutes later a dozen smiling, friendly, perky people are carrying in boxes, gear, decorations, food, beer, spinning toys, blacklights, and other party related objects and setting up the space. It was like watching the A-Team make one of their escape vehicle contraptions. I started humming the theme music.

IMG_0962.JPG6:00pm: The crowd starts showing up. I think we had about 50-60 guests by the end, plus 15 or so "staff." (I never asked how much they were charging, but yes, people were actually paying to get in.) The space was just gorgeous and good music was blasting out of big speakers.

6:30pm: The contest commences, and very quickly I get into the vibe. There was a very supportive crowd and heartfelt dances with LED toys. I did my best to judge although I really didn't know what to put in the "comments" field. During the intermission there was a magic show. Yuta was the final entry and did his choreographed dance that you can see with fire on his japan poi website. I have to say, he's really good, and not just technically good. He's got a real sense of dance and showmanship (aka Mojo). I sooo have to get back to practice to keep up with him! :)

IMG_0966.JPGAfter Yuta there was a break and then, eek, my performance. I'd been really nervous as I've been feeling out of practice and injured and etc., and I didn't have anything prepared at all... but 20 minutes before I went on, a little voice told me to just have fun and that improvising can work out better than a choreographed performance anyway, as it can be straight from the heart, so that's what I did, and I had a blast. Don't get me wrong, I do need to get back to practice, but I learned something very important about heart and spirit and confidence.

After me, there were many more performances: Belly dance (with those incredible wings), modern dance, puppet shows, VJ Light show, and more. They finished with a wonderful ceremony of awarding the prizes, with everybody saying what sounded like nice things but I don't speak japanese.

At 9:30pm they started ushering people out.

At 10:00pm it was like the event never happened.

My mind is still reeling.


Blogger newgabe said...

Hey lovely Nick
So glad to read of your adventures and remember your lovely self! The poi event sounds just great... and I am sure your little impro was just fine! Hugs to you!

12:33 AM  

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