Read More Avi

Avi’s creative passion for the fire arts ignited in 2010. His determined effort to reach beyond personal limitations inspires his innovative work with contact staff, multi-staff, juggling, poi and dragon staff.
In addition to creating works of art with a performance troupe, Avi is highly engaged in social circus projects. He is the Tour Coordinator for Performers Without Borders, a social circus organization that teaches children living in slum communities and orphan homes throughout India, Nicaragua and Kenya. Furthermore, Avi is a volunteer with CircEsteem, a Chicago-based social circus program serving the Uptown community. Adults can also catch his frequent workshops around the city, or his Firewalking Seminars.
Did we mention that Avi is also a Certified Firewalking Instructor and leads adults in empowering breakthrough exercises?


Read More Loki

Loki Averro is a flow artist and teacher, with a passion for martial arts and circus. He started clowning around as soon as he could walk, and began his journey with spinning in 2011. He spent the last couple of years traveling to fire festivals and teaching kids how to circus, and is now focusing more on performing and teaching Fire and Flow Arts. He specializes in manipulating the Rope Dart, but loves spinning ALL of the Things.


Read More Jeremy

Jeremy fell in love with object manipulation and fire dancing in late 2012, just after turning 18 years old. After spending some time on poi, he moved on to staffs and other forms of object manipulation.
In the summer of 2015, Jeremy was brought in as a member of Pyrotechniq, and is extremely honored to be given the opportunity to work with such an amazing team. Jeremy hopes to spread his love for manipulation and fire spinning to the masses, with Pyrotechniq and the community that has done so much for him.


Read More Perkulator

Emily Perkins, better known as Perkulator, first fell in love with hoop in 2011. Though always staying true to hoop, her practice has expanded to include acrobatics, fans, contact staff, levitation wand, double staves, fire eating, and more. Her passion for movement has led her across the nation- teaching, performing, and producing at events such as Kinetic Fire, Flow Show Chicago, FLAME, Electric Forest, and more.




6 Week Beginner / Intermediate Poi Class



Learn Fire Dancing in Chicago

This is a 6-week poi series. It is designed to go further in depth with some of the basics from the beginner series, but will not exclude total beginners. We will be covering many ideas that would give newbies a lot to take home to start their fire journey. The class will touch on some simple poi theory (the technical breakdown of timing and direction), body mechanics (how to move with your prop), and common terminology. We will go deeper into exploring flowers and weaves and throw in some fun tricks and ideas along the way. The flow of the series will bear in mind the overall progress of the class and cater to what individuals need as we go. The 6th class will be longer and at an offsite, outdoors location. We will cover fire safety and give students a chance to spin fire for the first time with experienced safety and supervision.

People’s Promenade on the Bloomingdale Trail 606


Pyrotechniq is proud to be a part of The People’s Promenade: A Walk with Light this Sunday 12/20 on the 606! Come help us bring the light as a procession of well lit neighbors (bring your own light to wear or carry!) Starts at Ridgeway Park at 4:30pm making its way to a host of activities at Walsh Park where we will have a performance waiting for you! Come out and help us shine!

Find more information here: http://www.the606.org/explore/trailmix/

Gaea Lady

Read More Gaea Lady


gaea lady fire

Andrea aka Gaea Lady has been moving in mysterious ways since she was 3 years old and hasn’t ever given it up. An enchantress by nature, she sees her body as her instrument to express herself. Studying classical forms to start her career, her attention soon went the way of the ethereal including fire, hoops and hypnotizing fabrics. Dabbling amid any form she can get her toes on, her style borrows from the graceful and energetic mix of all she’s studied in the past. Fire has enticed her since 2009 when she picked up a pair of fire fans and has never looked back. In addition to Pyrotechniq, she is featured in Chicago at the Kiss Kiss Cabaret, at Untitled’s Unbridled, The Naughty Little Cabaret, The Drifter, and private events.  She travels all over the US performing & teaching.



Tech Fans and Fans Choreography 7-Week Class Series With Ellie SoRokin’

Read More Tech Fans and Fans Choreography 7-Week Class Series With Ellie SoRokin’

Hey Fan Tech Enthusiasts! Wanna LEARN fan stuff? This is a lot of good info (I hope), so get ready…

622699_10151310302169252_499907807_oI am a fire performer living in Chicago. I have been spinning for 7 years and teaching for 3 with multiple props including hoop, iso hoop, poi, staff, double staff, clubs and FANS! I spin with Pyrotechniq Fire Troupe and perform at Unbridled at Untitled/ The Fear Haunted House at Navy Pier/ Freakeasy. Sooo, I have this fans choreography that I made for and taught at Kinetic Fire and Fire Drums last year, meant for a group of people to someday perform. I really want to get that group of people to make it into something real (Real AWESOME!) in Chicago this winter/spring. I know you fan spinners are out there!! It will provide participants with a swan dive into regular practice, fun and challenging tech, body movement, choreography, memorization (hell, some of you might even get a workout 😉 and, for those that dare, a (non-fire), potentially paid performance opportunity in the springtime 😀 The 3-minute choreo was meant to focus heavily on seamlessly combining dance and prop technique and I can’t wait to have this fan dance, if you will. 😉

I am prepared and really excited to offer a 7-week Fan Tech and/or Fan Choreography class series at PNG Studios in Humboldt Park on one of two days (to be decided by YOU) in the week, scheduled to start around mid- January. 
 **You will need your own set of fans.
To see some of my work and a bit of whats to come, check out my video(its a bit old):
To check out Pirate Ninja Gypsy Dance Studios, go to http://www.pngstudios.org
I am looking for people’s interest and availability for these classes!  
Wednesday nights from 7:00pm Tech and 8:30pm Choreo
Sunday afternoons from 3:00pm Tech and 4:30pm Choreo.
IF SUNDAY wins, classes will start on Sunday, January 12.
IF WEDNESDAY wins, classes will start on Wednesday, January 15th
YOU HAVE UNTIL THURS THE 19th- 7 DAYS- TO CAST YOUR VOTE SO IF YOU HAVE A PREFERENCE OF DAY RESPOND TO ME VIA EMAIL to SOUNDWAVESURFER1@GMAIL>COM  with your day of availability and which workshops you are interested in. This is going to be essential if you are serious about wanting to take one of these classes. I want to accommodate as many interested people as possible and only 1 day will be chosen.
Important Pre-Pay and Performance Dates/ Class Info Below — Please Read Carefully
Prepay and Minimum Attendance
Each series must hit a minimum of 3 Pre-Payed Students to Green-light it.
Pre-Pays need to be in by TUES, DEC 31st. All Prepays will be notified on WED JAN 1st if the minimum has been hit and the class is a go. This will also be the date I follow up with Pre-Pays if the class does not happen, in which case they will be refunded their money within the following week. 
Address withheld due to private residence. Location details will not be posted publicly but sent in the payment confirmation e-mail to those that prepay or can be requested on an individual basis for drop-ins. Feel free to email or FB pm me for the info. 
$105 – Only Tech Fans Series:
$105 – Only Fans Choreo Series: https://www.wepay.com/events/manage/176749/promote
Purchase Options Overview/ Basic Series Overview- 
Visit We-Pay Links for more details on class breakdowns
There will be two separate, 1-hour classes. The first will focus on learning and playing with the moves and categories of moves to be worked into the choreo. The second class will focus on working those moves into choreography based heavily on combining rhythm, dance/body movement and clean prop technique.
Those interested will have the option of taking just the Tech Series or just the Choreo Series for $15 a class OR have the option of taking both for $20 total each week- That’s two hours of fans with a 30-minute break in between. A series, if purchased alone, will total $105 or $140 for the two if purchased together. If you don’t want to pay for a whole series, Drop-In’s are also welcome for $15 a class but will have to wait to see if their desired series hits the pre-pay minimum of 3. As mentioned, notification will be posted on this thread and the Facebook page on Jan 1st.
Awesome Performance Opportunity Details
I would like to take the Choreo and submit our piece for the Chicago Flow Show, happening here at the end of March. I will only submit if we have a minimum of 6 COMMITTED performers –maaaybe 4– AND only those participants that N A I L the Choreo will be invited to perform for the Flow Show, however, if we do not have enough participants or get chosen for Flow Show, I would still very much like to perform our piece elsewhere, and anyone would be welcome to join at that point, nailed or not 🙂 as there are many fun options and the piece can take as many as we can get! (Oh, and I should add that I am also interested in performing the piece elsewhere with everyone in it if we DO make flosho, so everyone that wants to gets a chance to perform 🙂
Performers for the Flow Show will probably get paid for the series of 3 shows on the weekend of Saturday March 24th. (Shows are Fri, Sat, Sun) Flow Show performers must also be available for several run-thrus with me to tighten up the loose ends (this is only if we NEED them–you will not be charged for these) in the couple of weeks leading up to the Tech Rehearsal and for the Tech Rehearsal itself on Thurs March 27th. Costuming may run approximately $10- $15 at the thrift store, max, and could take you an hour or so, but what you get paid to perform may cover a good portion of what you spend on classes, so go for the gold! 😉
… who likes Disney?  >;D

Fire at Navy Pier’s Halloween 2012

Pyrotechniq will be lighting up the stage with dazzling, spectacular, engaging fire performances for all those at Navy Pier’s Big Halloween Bash! Located in Gateway Park at the entrance of Navy Pier, our shows will be at 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm on all dates listed below. All shows are FREE, family friendly and always a great time. Come for the fire spinning, stay for the carnival rides, petting zoo, Houdini and so much more!

Friday-Sunday, October 19, 20, 21
Friday-Sunday, October 26, 27, 28
Wednesday, October 31st (Halloween!)

Gateway Park is the large park on the West (Entrance) side of Navy Pier. Often thought of as the park that is inside the car round about and bus round about. There is a large fountain and a huge canoe sculpture.

View Larger Map

More information here:

Custom Fire Hoops

Read More Custom Fire Hoops

Spin with the same fire hula hoops we use. We can build them in the size you want, and decorate them to your requests.

Just contact us for more information on our hoops.

The History of Combustion Thursdays

Combustion Thursdays started at the beginning of 2006 when the 5 original founders of Pyrotechniq chose to gather each week to spin fire, create amazing things, continue strengthening their bonds, scheme up trouble, and enjoy each other’s company. It has since grown beyond the Pyrotechniq troupe and opened to the greater Chicago fire community as a way to share space and learn the fire arts.

When asked about the purpose of Combustion Thursday, “Burn and Learn” is the embodiment of the event. The intention is to focus on the fire arts for the fire community as a place where there’s not a large audience. Hence people feel comfortable playing and learning and strengthening community. It’s about the spinners, fire or non-fire. All spinners are welcome. We humbly request that these events be limited to current, practicing, and aspiring fire performers.

For more information about Combustion Thursdays, please apply to the Chicago Fire Dancing List.

How to Make Spinning Flags

How to make spinning flags

To make flags, you need a few things:

  • Suitable Fabric

    A light, draping weave, such as a silk, makes the best flag. Knits and stretch fabrics don’t work as well, since the weights tend to pull the flag out of shape and make it difficult to fly. Colors and patterns can make the visual quite amazing. Gold and silver tissue lamé are great for most lighting conditions. We of course prefer colors that glow under black light!

  • Weight

    You will need leaded weight tape or braided weight cord. Most fabric stores have this.

  • Sewing Machine

    or a needle, thread, and lots of patience

The fabric should be cut into two identical pieces. They can be square or rectangle. We have seen flags as small as 20″ square and as large as bed sheets. A good starter size is 45″ by 36″ rectangles. Take each piece and hem or fray check the unfinished edges. (You can leave the edges “as is” if you want them to fray. This can be an interesting visual effect, but be aware the threads can get tangled as you play.)

With the fabric laying flat, arrange the cut weighted cords in order, centered in one corner. They should be laid 1″ from the edge of the fabric.

Fold the fabric edge over the cords and pin into place. Zigzag stitch the weights in place. (This can also be done by hand). Stitch down the folded fabric edge to finish.

General Sizes for Flags

Small – 38″ x 32″
Medium – 45″ x 36″ – This is the standard size of most sets of dance flags.
Large – 54″ x 42″

For each flag, you will need two or three lengths of the weighted cord (see the calculator below for measurements). For a 42″ by 36″ light weight fabric flag, a 40″, 30″ and 20″ length should work fine.


Flagging Weight Calculator

We’ve resurrected this Flag Weight Calculator from the depths of the Internet so others may share it’s power. It used to live on spintribe.com. The calculator provides you with the proper lengths of curtain weight when you want to make your own flags. Thanks to and © 2005 Mark Ludwig for creating the original calculator.

Enter in the the size flag you want and whether you want your flag to be light, medium or heavy. Then press Calculate. The resulting numbers represent the lengths of lead curtain weight you’ll be needing to make your flags.

<— Length (long side) of flag
(in inches)
<— Width (short side) of flag
(in inches)



Calculated size ratio
Calculated area of fabric (feet2)

Light Weight

length 1
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width 1
width 2
first tier total
second tier total
total weight

Medium Weight

length 1
length 2
length 3
width 1
width 2
width 3
first tier total
second tier total
third tier total
total weight

Heavy Weight

length 1
length 2
length 3
width 1
width 2
width 3
first tier total
second tier total
third tier total
total weight

Note: this calculator requires a javascript enabled web browser to operate.

Ashley Bertling

Read More Ashley Bertling

Ashley has passionately pursued the art of fire since 2004. In 2006 Ashley co-founded the group presently known as Pyrotechniq. She contributes her technical, managerial and object manipulation skills to the group with grace. She enjoys performing with all things fire, including but never limited to: poi, hula hoop, jump ropes, umbrella, hand candles, fire eating and fans. Her favorite aspect of working within Pyrotechniq is the creation and execution of group choreography.

Devin Breen

Read More Devin Breen

Devin is a founding member of the Pyrotechniq fire performance troupe and a Chicago native. His interest in the flow arts began in 2006. Devin performed in hundreds of shows with Pyrotechniq until 2015 when he left to pursue other passions.

Ellie Sorokin

Read More Ellie Sorokin

Ellie’s love for movement was discovered and honed at the age of 9 in 4 years of semi-intensive classical ballet training. Ellie began prop manipulation with a hoop in 2006. In the fall of 2007 she met Sensei Kyle Ford at a music festival in Minnesota where he taught her the 3-beat weave with a pair of practice poi and unknowingly unleashed a fire monster of gargantuan proportions. Her prop arsenal now includes hoop, isolation hoops, poi, staff, double staff, fans, meteor hammer, club swiniging, club swinging, (oh, and did i mention club swinging?) and DANCE. Her love of new and old styles of dance continues to evolve in every direction and her ultimate mission in movement is to seamlessly combine unique and expressive hybrid-dance technique with the clean and technical flow of any prop. CLUB LOVE!!


Liz Campanella-Breen

Read More Liz Campanella-Breen

Liz joined Pyrotechniq in 2007. Her business savvy and relentless energy helped build Pyrotechniq into what it is today. Liz managed and performed in hundreds of shows with Pyrotechniq until 2015 when she left to pursue other passions.

Fire Umbrella

Read More Fire Umbrella

This is not your traditional umbrella! Our fire umbrellas light up the night, keeping us dry in a whole new way. Our flame umbrellas contain 8 spokes of burning goodness. We personally hand-make each umbrella ourselves, ensuring the highest quality. Our spokes are interchangeable, allowing us to vary the shape of the umbrella and the size of the fire. These tools are primarily designed for outdoor use, although they add an incredible elegance to indoor performances in the right circumstances.

Fire Belt

Read More Fire Belt

The fire belt is used to illuminate and accentuate the movements of the dancer. It is called a “belt” because of its placement on ones body; securely fastened around ones waist. The belt itself is not on fire, Instead, there are six fire wicked spokes that stick out seven inches from the performers body. Once lit, the tips of the flames rise to the height of the wearer’s rib cage and sway with every movement of the performer. At this time, the fire belt is not designed to hold up ones pants. Maybe someday it will serve a dual purpose. It’s especially beautiful when combined with belly dance.

Fire Jump Rope

Read More Fire Jump Rope

We’ve all have had fun playing with jump ropes as children. As adults, we’ve upped the ante with custom-built flaming kevlar jump ropes! There are many ways a fire jump rope can be wielded, creating different mesmerizing patterns and fascinating shapes. As these slithering fire serpents produce some of our largest fire, we typically recommend them for outdoor performance. Although depending on the situation, fire jump ropes are possible in indoor venues.

Blacklight Veils

Read More Blacklight Veils

Veils are beautifully-draped, flexible coverings that flow to the desires of the wearer, whether wrapped like silk or projected high in the air. They are UV-Reactive and thus create a lovely ethereal glow, as well as having colorful patterns.

Thank you to Andrea Mattson-McGaffey for creating these veils.

Blacklight Flagging

Read More Blacklight Flagging

The art of flagging dance, often called flag spinning, flag dancing, or rag spinning, but more commonly referred to as flagging, is the undulation, spinning and waving of flags in a rhythmic fashion to music. Practitioners of this form of performance art and dance are usually referred to as “flaggers” and “flag dancers”

The added weights to the otherwise loose fabric made it possible for the new flaggers to spin and move the fabric through the air in ways similar to fan dancing, but with the added maneuverability of a very flexible material. Flags used by these new flaggers can be of almost any fabric, but silk, organza and lamé are preponderant, with silk being the most favored. Silk flags are usually dyed in vibrant, ultraviolet fluorescent colors, creating an almost hypnotic spectacle when waved rhythmically to music.


Read More Buugeng

Buugeng can be translated as martial arts illusion, and were created by Dai Zaobab who owns the trademark. He created this name from three Japanese words. The “buu” comes from bujyutsu (martial arts), referring to the similarities between martial arts and the curves and circular nature of the Buugeng itself as well as the movements of Buugeng play. The “geng” originally came from the Japanese word mugeen (infinity), because the infinity symbol is frequently manifested in Buugeng play. After some time, it was decided that a better description of the art came from the Japanese words, gen and genwaku, which translate as illusion.

A single Buugeng consists of two folding C-shaped blades that lock together and unfold in opposite directions to form a flat S-shaped staff. Two of these Buugeng are played together to create stunning geometric illusions. A triple Buugeng consists of three C-shaped blades emerging from a three-pointed centerpiece with a hole in the middle.

Fire Sword & Contact Sword

Read More Fire Sword & Contact Sword

Among the biggest fire in our arsenal, fire swords are a sure crowd pleaser. Who hasn’t had the thought that the epic sword battle in your favorite movie would have been just so much cooler had the swords been on fire. We certainly have. Jedi knights and glowing neon swords? Oh please. Our fire swords are exactly that, combat swords that we have modified with extra-large wicking for extra-large fire. Due to their size, this is a tool that we reserve nearly always for outdoor performances. Fire sword performances can fit any occasion ranging from decorous use to enhance that special photographic moment, to a dramatic full contact skirmish scene straight out of a movie for that grand finale, and everything between.

Contact sword combines the raw power of fire swords with the jedi powers of contact staff. We begin with a fire sword and then heavily weight the hilt, creating a balance point where the hilt meets the fire blade. Thus, the artist can manipulate the sword as a contact staff, but with the added flexibility of a sword. The result is an incredible, almost impossible feat of a floating, flaming sword moving around the body.

Purchase fire swords from:
Fire Mecca
Trick Concepts

Fire Fans

Read More Fire Fans

The shape of a traditional fan, usually with some sort of ring at the handle and varying numbers of spines resulting in 3-12 wicks/flames or one solid piece of rope wick lining the outer edge. Fans have been used in dance for hundreds of years in various cultures and dance styles throughout the world. Included in the more traditional styles are Chinese fan dancing, flamenco in Spain and ballets like Don Quixote. A bit newer on the scene is the US-born feather fan, over-sized and used frequently in the world of burlesque fan dancing. The fire found the fan, however, via bellydance. The fans would be an accent of the belly dancer with little technique in their own movement.

Once they began to hit the mainstream, somewhere around the turn of the 21st century, fire fans took a turn for the technical. In today’s fire fan dance, the fans are as much their own dance as the dance around them is, taking many moves and ideas from poi, double staff and mini hoops and, of course, claiming some of their own in fire tool history — a history in the making.

Purchase Fire Fans at:
Trick Concepts
Fire Mecca

Fire Fingers

Read More Fire Fingers

Short torches attached to individual fingers. Great for the small bit of theatrical flare for a skit, a bellydance, lighting candles or general mystique. Some of the quaintest flames in our flame buffet and a great tool to introduce those daring, supervised children to fire dancing. Sometimes the smallest things are the most beautiful.

Purchase fire fingers at Trick Concepts

Rope Dart

Read More Rope Dart

The “Dope Art.” Rope dart looks like a single poi on an extra long leash. The weight is flung around the body as the slack of the rope is guided into specific wrap patterns around various limbs of the body in order to unwind in a unique way. The weight alternates between being flung away from the body, and being yanked back in with quick tugs on the remaining slack of the rope. It truly plays with some lesser used motions in the field of props. The rope dart or rope javelin also known as Jōhyō in Japanese, is one of the flexible weapons in Chinese martial arts. The rope dart is a long rope (usually 3 – 5 metres) with a metal dart attached to one end. This was a weapon from ancient times, which allows the user to throw the dart out at a long range target and use the rope to pull it back. The rope dart can be used for twining, binding, circling, hitting, piercing, tightening, and other techniques. The rope dart came about when peasants in Asia were not allowed to carry weapons. It was so unlike a weapon in appearance, consisting mostly of a rope, that they could easily carry it around with no fear of being noticed.

Purchase rope darts at:
Dark Monk

Double Staff

Read More Double Staff

Two smaller staves, on average anywhere between 2.5 to 4 feet in length spun with one in each hand. These are a beautiful way to display one performer with 4 separate flames. These share many overlapping moves with fire fans, as fans create a line (or small staff) when viewed head on from the wick side, but have a far greater range of motion due to the finger grip required. These are simply smaller versions of their larger sibling the single staff but, like iso hoops, allow for easier manipulation of two at once because of their size. Having two — as always — also allows for a wider range of intricacy in technique and also the unique visual effect of 4 medium-sized flames wielded by a single performer.

Purchase double staves at:
Trick Concepts
Fire Mecca

Fire Staff & Contact Staff

Read More Fire Staff & Contact Staff

A rod of wood or metal, generally somewhere around the height of the staffer, with wicking material applied to one or both ends (generally to both). The roots of Fire Staff are deep and varied, drawing historically from Samoan Fire Knife and various martial arts throughout Europe and Asia. The earliest form of the bō, a 6 foot staff, has been used throughout Asia since the beginning of recorded history and originated in Japan.  Use of Jo, a staff approximately 4.18 feet long, date to the 16th century.  The oldest systematic descriptions of stick-fighting methods in Europe date to the 15th century. Knife dancing has a history which goes back hundreds of years. The modern fire knife dance has its roots in the ancient Samoan exhibition called “ailao” – the flashy demonstration of a Samoan warrior’s battle prowess through artful twirling, throwing and catching, and dancing with a war club.  Fire was added to the knife in 1946 by a Samoan knife dancer named Freddie Letuli, later to become Paramount Chief Letuli Olo Misilagi. Letuli was performing in San Francisco and noticed a Hindu Fire eater and a little girl with lighted batons. The fire eater loaned him some fuel, he wrapped some towels around his knife, and the fire knife dance was born.

Staves can be used either by holding them and directing the motion with the hands, or by rolling, bouncing and passing the staff around your body using everything EXCEPT the hands. This is called contact staff. This prop, also, is gaining new dimensions of technique and forms of expression. Moving away from the traditional hold and spin of classic staff spinning,  people have broken into a category of moves which involves spinning on their staves, reminiscent of skateboarding mixed with gymnastics mixed with The Matrix.

Purchase staves at:
Fire Mecca
Trick Concepts

Belly Dance

Read More Belly Dance

Belly dance takes many different forms depending on country and region, both in costume and dance style, and new styles have evolved in the West as its popularity has spread globally. It is the traditional dance in Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt.  Although contemporary forms of the dance have generally been performed by women, some of the dances have origins in male forms of performance.

In our own performances, we incorporate elements of traditional bellydance style and technique with heavy overtones of American Tribal Fusion. ATS style bellydancing focuses more heavily on fusing belly dance with more contemporary categories and techniques of movement including popping, locking, ticking, hip hop and endless others. Our bellydance is generally paired with hand candles, fans, or a fire belt.