Written by Erik Gonzalez

What is Flow Arts?
Flow arts, a major part of the music and arts community, is the intersection of various movement-based disciplines that can include dancing, juggling, fire-spinning, and object manipulation.

Though these types of performance first started out using fire or simply juggling props incorporated into routines/tricks, the flow community grew in numbers. Eventually, the electronic music scene and flow arts merged together and is now the reason we’re able to experience talented flow artists doing what they love around music. Nowadays, we see all types of flow arts at festivals and shows, usually with LED lights to create an even better illusion.

Why is it important in the community?


Flowing brings out a special type of energized focus in anyone who chooses to pick up a prop. Both the EDM and Flow Arts Community have created an atmosphere where everyone is welcomed and encouraged to pick up a flow art that’s fun for them.

The best part about picking up a flow toy is the fact that it becomes a gateway into communities where people are always open to teach and grow together. Check out some of the flow toys listed below and where you can buy them. There is also many other online shops not linked here that I encourage you to seek to compare prices or find non-LED toys.

Pois

Staffs/Batons

Levitation Wands

Orbits

Hoops

Martial Flow

Gloving

Fans

Cubes/ Bugeeng’s

Pixel Whips

Juggling/ Vision clubs

Shuffling

Fire Burners

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Photo taken from Flowtoy Youtube

Questions with a few Flow Artists themselves!
Below are some fellow ravers, alongs with their bios, who have been involved in the flow community for quite some time. Each were asked 2-3 questions in relation to their flow toy, the community, and how it’s helped them!

Levitation Wand: 

Starr Hovland – 23 years old from Central Florida. “I started in flow back in 2011 when I attended my first Rainbow Gathering and realized you can dance with a hula hoop and now I plan to spin all the things! My day job is order fulfillment and being a broker for computer and server parts in the Tech industry, and I truly love the balance with my tech life and my artistic life. I also do a lot of crocheting on the side, and plan to make a small business out of a newfound passion I have recently discovered.”
Facebook | Instagram | Twitch

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Photo of Starr taken at a hardstyle rave gig, performing with Leviwand and as a Go-Go dancer

How would you describe both your emotions while flowing and your emotions towards the flowing community?

“My emotions while flowing used to be for my panic disorder. The mind state of flow is very real, and has helped me cope in public with dealing with anxiety as my props were my tools. Now, I get this infinite curiosity of what new things I can manage, and thats when I become a tech flow-er. When it comes to the leviwand community, I have never been in such a loving and inspiring community before. The community has a huge place in my heart where there is amazing support, love, and new friendships.”

What would you say to people who are scared or embarrassed to pick up a wand or any other flow toy for that matter?

“Some advice to newcomers into Leviwand and just flow in general, first I would say we welcome all newcomers to flow with open arms! Its a judgement free zone, and we all started being a lil newbie. What matters is, if you are having a blast, do not compare the skill level of others to your flow. There is only your unique flow, and yours alone and own it.”

You’ve recently started to do videos on your twitch where you show others how to do certain Leviwand techniques, what’s been your favorite part about that so far?

“I started teaching Leviwand on Twitch, inspired by the wonderful first flow festival on stream which was Flowvid-19. I have agoraphobia on top of my panic disorder so this is a great outlet for me to teach in front of people instead of going and traveling far from my home to be an instructor for a flow festival. My favorite part about teaching on Twitch is being able to interact with the community and then seeing my friends post videos of the moves I have taught or the combos I have taught afterwards. Its a beautiful experience to teach something that a lot of people can understand and be able to implement the taught skills into their own flow and expand it to their own imagination.”

Pois:

Mariah D. Requenez – 24 year old from Austin, TX. Appreciates all kinds of music! But most importantly, “I love wubs, dubs, and wonky sounds.”
Facebook | Instagram

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Photo of Mariah flowing with her pois

What’s one thing about flowing and the community that you’re appreciative of?

“I would say I really appreciate the self expression that everyone gets to have when flowing and in the community. Every person has a different flow, yes they may use the same tricks but the display of these tricks and the transitions between those tricks are the dance of the soul, you know? I’m so grateful to be a part of a community that is entirely about sharing, expression, love, and art.”

How did you go about choosing your flow toy?

“Personally I had experience dancing with streamers and flags at a younger age, so when I was first introduced to poi I immediately fell in love due to the similarities and knew that was going to my flow art of choice.”

Can you explain how, or if, flowing has helped you out during the pandemic?

“Flowing definitely helped me during this pandemic, not just by keeping me active and busy but also because I was able to set little goals for myself like learning certain tricks and feeling accomplished when I could see the progress in my flow.”

Hooping:

Alejandro Garcia – 25 years old. Born and raised in Houston, TX 🤘🏽. “Flowing was introduced to me back in 2015-2016 at my first music festival, UME in south padre, been loving it and growing ever since. Aside from dancing, I’m also a graphic designer. I enjoy creating things. I’m definitely all about self-expression.”
Facebook | Instagram

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Alejandro at Freaky Deaky 2019

How has hooping/flowing impacted your mental health?

“Flowing/hooping has impacted my mental health in many ways. I’ve always said flowing is my form of meditation. It’s soothing, yet very much enjoyable. It has definitely taught me patience. Gets the chatter out of your head. Helps you live in the present moment. Stress comes from overthinking from the past or future, so I’m very grateful to have found an activity that brings my focus to the present.”

What’s your advice to someone that wants to start hooping?

“Do not compare yourself to other flow artists. This is not a competition. It’s all about self-growth and self-realization. It’s about YOU. Just have fun and dance your a** off.”

What’s one thing about flowing and the community that you’re appreciative of?

“I appreciate how big and kind the flow community is. I would definitely recommend anyone flowing to join groups on Facebook and get inside conversations with other flow artists. You will meet great people and learn so much about the culture.”

Staff:

Alex Bravo – 25 year old EDM enthusiast living in Houston, TX. “Music has healed me in so many different ways at the moments I needed it the most. I want to keep working on my flow and truly master it, so that later on I can share my knowledge with others and let them experience the beauty of the Flow community. Now I’m just waiting for the day I get to perform with my staff at the next festival.”
Facebook | Instagram

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Alex flowing with his staff

How did you go about choosing your flow toy and who would you suggest pick up that toy?

I used to be in color guard back in high school, so I felt like the staff was going to be the easiest one for me to begin diving into the flow arts. They’re both stick manipulation, just one has a flag attached to it, so when I saw the staff I figured I could apply the same knowledge I already had with tossing flags and rifles and apply it in a new way. When I finally picked it up it was like I already knew exactly what I was doing. I think the staff can be for anyone as long as you have the discipline to learn and you’re not scared of getting hit!”

Do you think using the staff, or any other flow toy, can help with anxiety/stress, especially during a Pandemic? If so, how? 

Absolutely! I think any flow toy you pick up can be a healthy way to cope with stress and anxiety. When I pick up my staff and hear the music I feel such a sense of relief and can feel myself begin to lighten up my mood. I actually just picked up the staff at the beginning of quarantine and I can’t tell you enough how much it already has helped in keeping me sane. Specially during these times, being in quarantine stuck inside your house can definitely make you feel trapped, so getting to go outside to practice with my staff has become one of my favorite daily activities. It’s nice to have something to be able to distract myself and have no worries even if just for a little while.

Shuffling:

Dmarques Wooten – Also known as DanceGod, is A 27 year old Californian in Houston. “I’ve been dancing & performing upwards to 10 years. Dance has aided in keeping me together through many trials and tribulations such as my time in the armed forces. Now all that I do, I do to make the arts more accessible to those who are otherwise intimidated by the idea of dancing in public let alone their own homes.”


Facebook | Twitter

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What’s one of your favorite feelings you get whenever the music takes over and your shuffling kicks in?

“My favorite feelings whenever I’m about to Flow is the anticipation between my friends and myself. You never know what kind of flow you’re going to get when people are present. That unknown feeling drives me.”

How would you suggest people who want to shuffle should start out?

“For everybody out there looking at getting into shuffling or feeling stuck on what to do I always suggest to reach out to avid teachers in the scene like @Marissashuffles on IG, 2pull or myself. We’re really big on pointing people in the right path. If that’s too daunting for my anxious homies I suggest just peeping online tutorials and having fun at home.”

Fire:

Samantha Weldon – Also known as Samantha Sapphire, is a traveling performance artist based in Los Angeles specializing in cirque-style entertainment. Besides flowing with fire she is also experienced as a Stilt Walker/Character Actress/Fire Dancer/Gogo Dancer/Melbourne Shuffler/Aerialist.
Facebook | Youtube

How long have you flowed with fire and what is it about it that made you want to do it?

“I’ve been dancing with fire since 2012.  I was drawn to it because I spent years in my school’s colorguard & really enjoyed prop manipulation in the first place, so when I first saw it I thought, hey, why not set it on fire?!  I immediately wanted to try it.”

Describe your mentality during your flow after a rough day. Describe how you get lost in the flow.

“Getting lost in the flow is something that really helps me to decompress from everyday stressors—the props aren’t going to give me attitude or put me down or ask me to accomplish yet another task on my already overfilled plate.  Getting that dose of “me time” where it’s just my props, music, and my dance, can altogether cure the side effects of a rough day for me.”

How has flowing with fire impacted your mental health?

“As a person diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, it’s really grounding for me because I’m generally in control of what happens between myself and my props in the flow state.  Fire is one of those things that instantly commands your attention/focus and that’s something I struggle to keep my grasp on when I’m having a particularly anxious day.”

Gloving/Pixelwhip:

Sawyer Glover – A native Texan currently living in Austin, Sawyer started learning flow arts within the past year and it has been exciting watching her own skillset grow along with the progress of her fellow flowing friends. She just finished her internship with C3 presents, and plans to continue working in the music production industry now that she is a college graduate. 
Facebook | Instagram

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Sawyer at Austin City Limits festival 2019

What is one of your favorite parts about gloving and who do you suggest would be amazing at it?

“My favorite part about gloving is how you can practice it all the time, in the car listening to music, in class, literally whenever. Anyone can practice their finger flowing and pick it up fast.”

Describe your feelings towards picking up the pixelwhip? Do you like it?

“The pixel whip is one of the prettiest flow toys in my opinion, I love tracing it all over my body. Being a female, I feel like it’s sexy and empowering when I flow with it.

What’s one thing about flowing and the community that you’re appreciative of?

I love that we are expressing our love for the music through the art of flowing. It’s intimate and engaging, and everyone is so supportive of each others art. It connects people and is just genuinely fun. Going to a festival and finding the “flow area” and watching everyone’s moves and mutual love for the music, it’s beautiful.”

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Photo taken from Moodhoops

At the end of the day, if you’re ever feeling discouraged to try something new or extremely bored, diving into the flow arts community is one of the best choices you could do for yourself. I chose to pickup a Leviwand over a year ago and have never regretted it since then! Flowing will always be a huge part of the electronic scene but an even bigger part of our lives as part of the flow arts community because it allows us the chance to leave the negativity behind and focus on growing. Picking up any kind of flow arts encourages yourself to do just that. By this time next year, there’s no doubt you’ll be giving other festival goers incredible lights shows and yourself some amazing memories!

 

Posted by:Erik Gonzalez

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