|Monday, 11 February 2008 17:47|
What is glowsticking, freehand glowsticking, and glowstringing?
What is glowsticking? Glowsticking is the act of dancing with glowsticks. Glowsticking can be done with glowsticks or glowstick-like instruments sharing the same kind of qualities: durable, consistency in light, and safe to toss around, and often made up of a soft and pliant plastic that doesn't hurt (as much) if you smack yourself with it.Glowsticking is an "umbrella term" describing two broad categories of glowsticking, with the most agreed upon separation being whether it is stringed or not stringed. More importantly, glowsticking has roots in the electronica and rave scenes, and has a cultural paradigm more in common with those scenes than those of other scenes. Some aspects include the culture of non-competetiveness, preferring sharing and performing in accordance with your observer, without any kind of negative statement implied. Because of this glowstickng competitions are frowned upon by most practioners of glowsticking. Although glowsticking as a field can largely be practiced anywhere, the roots it has with raving has led to the adoption of most of the ideals (whether they actually exist in practice, is of course, up to debate) of the raving scene.
Freehand glowsticking and glowstringing are technical terms describing the set of moves common to both practices. Freehand glowsticking is glowsticking typically practiced without strings attached to the glowsticks. Glowstringing, a field that shares many of the same aspects as many other stringing related fields, such as poi, yo-yoing, and martial arts forms common with swords, flails, and rope darts, is typically done with glowstick or glowstick-like instruments tied with a durable string at the end of it. In some case, handles may be used, because of moves which favor the fact that the glowstick handle can be grabbed and switched with the swinging part. In some cases, because of the existance of handles which glow both ways, moves which "throw" can be accomplished as it can be grabbed on either side.
Freehand GlowstickingFreehand is defined by the steadily growing body of concepts and moves. Some of these concepts include, but are not limited by: tracing, taps, throwing, as well as interdisciplinatary dance skills borrowed from common funkstyles categories. Freehand glowsticking typically borrows from many other dance styles as well as having its own unique set of moves. Here is a video advertisement (circa 2002) with a variety of freehand glowsticking.
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GlowstringingGlowstringing is defined by a few factors: the use of glowsticks on a string, the swinging motion, and an equally large growing category of moves and concepts that are common to glowstringing, including but not limited to: wrapping, tracing (with strings), and elaborate string manipulations common with yo-yoing and martial arts (as well as other disciplines). Glowstringing, much similar to freehand glowsticking, typically borrows from other disciplines, with a huge portion of moves coming poi related disciplines. Glowstringing has even on occasion borrowed freehand concepts, such as the aspect of mimicking traces (and vice-versa). Here is a video example.
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Is Glowstringing Poi with Glowsticks? An explanation of the history of freehand and glowstringing, intermingling.There has been some who have claimed glowstringing is poi with glowsticks. This confusion is understandable, as the field of glowstringing is relatively smaller and newer compared to the field of poi. Poi as a cultural art form is a hundreds of years old discipline coming from New Zealand.
Glowstringing originally probably came from Poists who practiced the art at raves, where glowsticks were probably advantageous compared to non-glowing objects. Many glowstringers can probably trace their roots to poi and many will often practice more poi at times than "pure" glowstringing.
Glowsticks were preferred by many in the rave scene in a way much similar to freehand's development, and were preferred in the rave scene to emit light for a numerous reasons, including its relative cheapness, their harmlessness and durablity and their disposable nature, but has largely cemented glowsticks as an icon of the rave scene, sometimes negatively, which is why there was and is still such a large prevalance of glowstick use by freehanders and glowstringers alike.
The nature of the glowstick, allowing for concepts which would otherwise be impossible with other objects, has thus significantly influenced the development of both freehand and glowstringing. In freehand, the obvious shape of the glowstick is used in numerous ways to accent, or to catch, or to even create patterns of light or to accentuate body movement. In terms of glowstringing, glowsticks have significantly impacted former pure poists in order to take advantage of the glowstick. This makes it possible for certain moves which would otherwise not make sense for poi done without glowsticks, and in many cases, these moves go directly against the poi aesthetic. For example, linked catches and glowstick manipulations borrow far more from a yo-yo string manipulation concept than Poi. The idea of tracing and such would not even be pleasing without the glow of the glowstick, and wrapping would not look as good or would be as easy to do or even practical without the use of a glowstick or related instrument.
Over time, glowstringing, because of the cultural differences that resulted from many different reasons, has become its own category. An example in real life is the "Blues" style of music, leading to "Jazz", and "R&B", but all recgonized as different forms of music all sharing similarities and concepts but are thought of as different genre of music. In all, glowstringing belongs in the same category of swinging objects and object manipulation such as Poi, martial arts, yo-yoing, staffing, etc.
What about Fire-poi, or poi done with lights, aren't they the same as glowstringing?It is undoubtly an understandable feeling to have on the first glance that glowstringing is the same as fire-poi or poi done with lighted objects, since-- the feeling goes-- they both emit light. The difference is mostly having to do with culture, aesthetics, and the use of the glowstick itself. Glowstringing is simply of a different aesthetic nature than of Poi, often favoring different type of moves that may not be "pure poi". It is also undoubted that glowstringing has made an impact on the modern poi community as well. Some fire practioners have experimented with some moves which have been formed and improved upon largely by the glowstringing community. An main difference is the nature of the object itself. It's not practical to do some of the many glowstringing moves with fire (although it IS possible, no doubt). The problem with some of the LED lights is that they are often more dangerous or more fragile than glowsticks. Glowsticks as a source of light is unmatched in durability, inexpensiveness, and safety, although alternatives have been developed. But the REAL difference is the difference in culture, history, and aesthetic philosophy (namely being that glowstringing is more about "dance"). Some things which are vitally important to glowstringers aren't as so to poists, and some things which are vitally important to poists aren't as important to glowstringers.
Are you trying to say glowstringing is "better" than poi?Not at all. But that seems to the impression that some poi-diehards have received from the explanations on glowsticking.com. Glowstringing is not better or worse-- just different, with a different culture, and different set of practioners, but most importantly cultural roots vastly different from the poi aesthetic. Glowstringing has different goals, mostly having to do with the aspect of dancing to music (the above mentioned definition of glowsticking). We respect and admire Poi artists, and will use many poi concepts in glowstringing, just as freehanders will use juggling, footbagging (hackeysacking), and object manipulation concepts. Let's make this clear: We recognize the inherent beauty of poi and realize that poi too can be done to the music. The main difference is the intention of the swinger himself-- when he is glowstringing (as a verb), he is a glowstringer.
But by saying Glowstringing has some elements borrowed from Poi and tacking on things you claimed to have invented, aren't you basically saying glowstringing "evolved" from poi and thus is superior?
No, not at all. Glowstringing definately is not "superior" than Poi. This is a common complaint people have upon reading defenders of glowstringing. That is not all what we are saying. It is the same fallacy many people have when scientists speak of "evolving". "Evolving" does not imply "betterment". Who will claim seriously that "R&B" is better than "Jazz" (well some of the die-hard fans of each might, but that just illustrates our point). Some glowstringers might say glowstringing is better looking (to them) than poi, and some poi will sneer at the rapid wrapping moves which they will see as lacking artistry. But Poi and Glowstringing are different aspects to the same overall field of swinging objects.
We are also not claiming to have invented anything. But then again, who can? Every facet of human knowledge is drawn from prior inspiration and knowledge from others. Even Leonardo Da Vinci had his own inspirations. We can however, claim to have as a community, brought into a cohesive whole, the idea of glowstringing and to have progressed the ideas of glowstring further.
But it's still an object tied to a string, on each hand and you sometimes do weaves and such!To make the above explanation clearer, "Poi" as an aesthetic form is thoroughly a modern art, very far removed from its original cultural intent of training Maori tribesman in warfare. Modern poi, as developed and hugely popular it is in many countries around the globe, cannot claim superiority over all disciplines involving a string. Glowstringing itself has a growing history-- and has a body of moves that are just as large as categories of "weaves", "butterflies", etc. To make another point, sword fighting has the weave motion, staffing shares some of the same concepts, martial arts such as flails and darts as well. More modern disciplines including yo-yoing share the same qualites as string manipulation, and glowstringing itself is often practiced in conjunction with other freehanders.
In conclusion...In all glowsticking has a fundamentally different outlook to its art than do other dances. We are defined by our roots in the rave culture, and thus our philosophies about style and dancing are different from other arts. That does not mean, of course, we are stuck in the rave culture, and to even define the rave culture as such is sort of a misnomer, as it is different in every nation, in every region, and even in the same city. As the music and the dance evolves, so will glowsticking and glowstickers.
We simply ask that everyone have an open mind. Thank you for respecing our culture and taking the time to read through all of this.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 February 2008 19:56|