Poi Spinning Beginner Series

Holding Your Poi

Here are some of the many ways you can hold your poi. Feel free to find what works for you. There's lots of room for creativity here!

Shortening Your Poi

You will often want to shorten your poi to learn certain moves. Here we show you the easiest ways to do it.

Direction of Spin

Understanding the direction of the spinning poi compared to the direction you are facing is at the core of all poi movement. If you try to understand this from the beginning, you will do great!

Getting Your Bearings

In the beginning it can help to imagine that you are playing along two tracks. In fact, creating actual tracks is probably the best. You don't need to always stick to this framework, but it will help you get off to a good start.

Always remember to play!

Dan inspired us to make this video. Remember that you can never go back to being a complete beginner again, so enjoy it while you can!

Exploring the Tracks

The tracks are your friends! All of the basics of poi are easiest to learn if you keep clear tracks. This is easiest if you actually have lines on the floor or another clear reference. Be creative! Tennis courts, the sides of a yoga mat, and playing in hallways are all easy ways to give yourself clear tracks.

Crossing and Turning with One Poi

Helpful hint:  Make sure your poi are always rolling towards the same direction in your surroundings, otherwise you will keep spinning the poi forwards relative to the direction you are facing.

More videos

Commentary on Turning with one poi

Having trouble? Nick offers more guidance in turning with one poi.

Playing with Planes

Everything will be more difficult than it needs to be until you can control your planes. The best way to gain control?  Lose control on purpose and then look for control again! Don't rush through this, and feel free to make up your own exercises.

Four Basic Modes

Most poi spinning involves the 4 main modes: Same time, split time, opposites, and split-time opposites. This also represents the main ways we move our arms.

Much of the beauty of poi dancing is in the way we transition between the modes.  Start to gain familiarity with these modes now -- we'll continue to develop them throughout the series.

Same Time Turns

Welcome to your first turn lesson! These are same time turns which are often called reels

This lesson will give you the foundation for turning and flowing with poi.

Crossing poi same time

Now let's venture into the world of crossing our poi!

If you have trouble (which is common in the beginning), remember that you can use one real poi and one imaginary poi. Do this with each hand and then try two poi again.

2-Beat Weaves Forward and Backward

Now let's try crossing in split time to create a 2-beat weave. 

Contrary to popular belief, this move is far more than a lead-up to the 3-beat weave! It's a fundamental skill that will open up a whole world of moves, so keep practicing it for the rest of your life with poi!

Places to Spin a Circle

We kid you not: Playing with one poi at a time is worth it.

Here are some exercises that will take you far!

Hand Positions Behind the Back

Don't worry, this feels very awkward for almost everybody at first. Just keep playing with it a few minutes at a time. Eventually it will feel very natural but that might take weeks.

The Butterfly

The trick here is to keep returning to doing it with just your arms. The principle is the same and eventually your body will get that.