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Kate Balk - A Fire Spinner

27 May 2012

Born in Bulgaria, grew up in Mozambique and Sydney and been learning and spinning fire on Koh Phangan since 2009. 

When did you first arrive to Koh Phangan, and why did you decide to make this place your home?
I first visited Koh Phangan in 2008. I spent a few months here and found it very difficult to leave. I decided to alter the trip I had planned and spent most of the year in Phangan.
Returning the following year I realized there was no where else I’d rather be so I stayed. I think Koh Phangan is a perfect place to call home as there is quite a variety in beaches, food and parties for an island of this size. 
kate fire spinner in Koh PhanganWhy did you choose to become a fire spinner?
Like most people, I was captivated by fire the first time I saw people performing.
I bought practice poi and started practicing. I was very lucky I had good teachers to show me basic moves and techniques. Whenever I was on the beach or had spare time I practiced and over the years I acquired a lot of moves and people started asking me to perform.
Tell us about your show.
It varies depending on where you are spinning and with whom. I spin only poi and usually freestyle combining moves. If I spin with a friend we will work on getting a routine together and doing some symmetrical moves. 
What gigs did you make in Koh Phangan and in Thailand?
In Koh Phangan I’ve spun for Rhythm and Sands, Jungle Experience, Eagle Bar, Beach House and Hat Rin beach. I’ve also done Sangsom Festival in Chiang Mai and Hic & Tist Reggae Festival near Pattaya which were both amazing as they are big productions and most most of the crowd hadn’t seen fire before
kate - Fire spinner in Koh PhanganWhat are your planned projects for 2012?
Jungle Experience has kindly let us use their beautiful grounds for fire meet ups on Tuesday evenings starting from 8. There are many really good fire spinners visiting Phangan through out the year as well as many people wanting to learn and share tricks so it seemed natural to have a place to gather and perform or just sit and listen to live music and watch fire dancers. 
We’re also commencing a new festival soon called Tribal Land focusing on performance and arts. There is so much creativity on this island which rarely gets to be seen.
What is your vision for the future?
Koh Phangan is already an island which attracts fire spinners as there are many amazing local spinners to watch and learn from. Hopefully in the future it can become a place like Costa Rica or Bali where really talented people from all over the world whom are passionate about fire can come gather and learn from each other. 
What is your advice for people who would like to start do fire spinning?
It is definitely not easy. People always think they can spin until they pick up practice poi or staff and realize it takes a long time for your body and brain to learn the steps. It is about geometry. My advice would be don’t attempt fire when you are drunk … hold out till the next day and buy your self some practice poi or a staff. Look up some beginner moves on youtube or ask somebody you’ve seen spinning if they can teach you something. There are people on the island willing to give lessons which most beginners need. 
From then on chances are you’ll be addicted and want to learn more and you’ll know when you are ready for fire. Practice practice practice!! I’ve seen some horrific fire accidents… It is dangerous and the smell of burning hair isn’t very nice. 
How you can be reached for reservations?
And final question. What is your favorite party on KP?
Too many! Loi Lay Floating Bar is truly an amazing venue and their Sunday Parties have a great vibe. Jungle Experience is also A LOT of fun and usually quite wild. Also Guys Bar and Eden of course. 

for Phanganist readers.