Part II: The Journey
(Missed part 1? See it here).
"Which planet are we going to, again?" I asked Dana as we marched by the solar-powered lights and entered the speckled shadows of the forest, passing through Saturn's field.
Contrary to what you might think, we weren't on an interstellar flight with our FiberFlies whips - we were exploring the huge playground of Quasar Festival, where workshop stations were named after planets. More specifically, we were trying to find exactly where Dana would be giving a talk on the therapeutic benefits of flow.
As we continued our quest, Dana shared how important it was to take small achievable steps to experience your flow state as opposed to trying to do something complex and difficult right off. That way, you can find those small moments of satisfaction with progressions when learning a trick. This was only one of many "Ah-ha!" moments I would have throughout the festival.
Later that day, I sank my teeth into some Falachos: basically, warm, crispy-salty falafel nacho meal deliciousness. (Ok, let's face it, the version with fries was even better - and how can you say no to a large serving of falafel bites, beans, and guacamole after a day of walking all over the forest??).
"Where are you headed to next?" Jon asked me through a mouthful of cheese and chips . "Oh, Uranus," I said as someone snickered loudly at the table across from us. "I'm really looking forward to Peyton's (Queen Peyote's) tech whip workshop! I might try to catch a couple of the rope dart classes before that as well. Oh, and Dana and Jacquelin (Firecat) are doing choreo and whip patterns, too." It was pretty much back-to-back workshops all day, and I wanted to take them all. It soon became obvious that the agenda was going to be dance, dance, eat, dance, dance, eat, repeat.
Like learning the sounds of different languages and their similarities, I started recognizing different cross-prop patterns and vocabulary that could translate to the light whip. During “Rope Dart 102,” I paid close attention to what my anchor hand (where the rope dart is attached) and leading hand (side controlling the dart) were doing. Noticing them separately got me excited about different ways to transition from pixelwhip wraps into other moves. Tips about spatial awareness, footwork, and clean technique were easy to use with different light whip moves. Later, I was able to jam out during the night with my pixelwhip, applying the new techniques I learned.
"Ok, so the rope goes under this arm, over this shoulder, around -- wait what?? Can you just do that again? Like maybe a few times?"
I traded ideas and watched as Sam quickly adapted rope dart moves to his energetic flow. We watched hoopers spin and toss patterns that we tried to figure out ourselves. Dana bought an orbit at the festival, adding it to her collection of hoops, leviwand, and light whips.
The next day was all about awesome. Gretchen (G-Force Flow) taught whip dancing and illusions. Sam blew people's minds with an extended workshop on slings, anchors, drop whip, and more.
We had the treat of watching Alien Jon create mind-blowing patterns with poi in the shifting lights of the lunar dome. Firecat jammed out as a DJ onstage, framed by dazzling fractals and Peyton's ever-so-smooth FiberFlies flow. Maia soon joined them, and looking out over the crowd, I could see almost a dozen whips swirling around in the dark. One highlight was watching a multilayered light show start up with an orbit, joined by a pixelwhip (Sam), topped off with a dazzling hoop (Dana) in the background. Everyone was giddy with excitement after that team effort!
Soon after, we decided to make the trek past the fields to the last stage, "Crash Site." The night was only getting colder, and when you're bringing your best fiberoptic whip to an event, you want to keep it happy. I wrapped my whip loosely around my neck to keep it warm between sets and transport it safely. It created a beautiful glow in its fabric shimmer sleeve as we walked. On the dimly lit path, we saw flow toys bobbing in the distance like little spacecraft on a mission. Dragon staffs, clubs, and poi danced along the trail.
At Crash Site, the music boomed loudly through the trees. Alien Jon quickly got recruited to seed the fractal generator with the light from his FiberFlies whip. While he created interesting light displays, the VJ in front of him typed commands into a program that morphed the whip patterns into mesmerizing shapes (thanks to Gregg of Nimbus Labs!). We watched the colorful visuals as they were projected onstage, adding to the magic of the DJ’s show. During the next set, Jasmine (Princess Lumiuni) traded light shows with an orbiter, and Dana mirrored another orbiter with her pixelwhip moves. The spirit of cross-prop community was alive and well that night.