, Salem, MA


December 27, 2012

Firing up Beverly's New Year


Indeed, rather than spitting flame out of their mouths, most of the performers in Spiral Glyphics spin burning toys around their bodies.

“The most common is called ‘poi,’” Grosvenor said. “That’s basically what looks like two tennis balls on the end of two short strings.”

While poi have their origins among the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand, those used by spinners are made of Kevlar, which doesn’t disintegrate when it burns, Grosvenor said.

Other toys include hula hoops, fans, meteors, staff spinners and rope darts, each of which is spun using a different motion.

Spiral Glyphics sometimes shares membership with Eternal Lotus Fire Collective, which also draws its members from the North Shore.

“We often meet up on a beach or park and teach each other different tricks,” said Jill Manos, a Danvers resident and member of Eternal Lotus. “We’re always connecting to other people in the group, to learn and teach new things.”

Performers usually spin fire in pairs or triplets and take turns resting before the whole group converges in a finale, she said.

Elements of martial arts, yoga or acrobatics are often incorporated into fire performance, to enhance the mesmerizing effect of whirling flames.

But just as often the performers improvise their body movements and respond to music as it plays.

Both Grosvenor and Manos describe themselves as “flow” performers, with no strict choreography to the way they move while they spin fire toys.

“It’s definitely like dance,” Manos said. “We incorporate a lot of dance into it.”

One key element in every appearance is the choice of time at which spinners perform — which on Monday will be between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.

“It works better to have twilight,” Manos said. “In twilight, you can see a person’s body, along with the prop.”

If you go What: Spiral Glyphics and Eternal Lotus Fire Collective at Beverly's New Year 2013 When: Monday, Dec. 31, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Where: Cabot Street, Beverly More information: For a full schedule of Beverly's New Year 2013 events, which will be held from 3 to 7 p.m., see the insert in The Salem News or visit

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