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Meet Fiora Firefly of Fiora Firefly in Clairemont

Today we’d like to introduce you to Fiora Firefly.

Fiora, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In 2003 I sold most of my belongings and moved into my van, so I could chase the seasons and (rock) climb. During my second winter down in El Paso, I stayed at the Hueco Rock Ranch, a campground run by climbers, for climbers. Instead of having fire pits at each site, they had one large pit that we gathered around nightly, to make our plans for the next day. One night, I was at the fire, making plans with another climber, when a girl walked up with chains dangling from her hands. She dipped them into the fire and began dancing with these orbs of fire swirling around her. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I already had a background in Musical Theatre. I had to try it.

I started with poi in 2006. Along with Samoan fire knife, it’s one of the traditional Polynesian props. From there, I picked up a discipline a year. I now have about a dozen different fire disciplines under my belt. Some of them are weaponry based, like the bo staff, toys like my hula hoops, or traditional belly dance props, like the palm torches. I also eat and breathe fire.

Has it been a smooth road?
When I picked up my first fire prop, I was living in Moab, UT. It’s this little town (~6000pp) in the middle of the desert. At first, I didn’t have anyone to teach me so, along with a couple of friends (that started at the same time) I muddled through with YouTube tutorials and a lot of trial and error. It took me a while to find the few fire spinners in town, and then I had people to play with.

I started performing a couple of years in. As you can imagine, there were limited opportunities for professional performance in a town that small and isolated, with the nearest major city about 4.5 hours away. If I wanted to pursue full time performing, a move was in order.

I moved to San Diego in December 2014 and had my first booking within a month. I’ve had my ups and downs, getting established, but I’ve never regretted my decision to move here. San Diego continues to provide me with a wealth of opportunities and creative inspiration, with its thriving art community.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Fiora Firefly – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I work mainly hospitality, corporate events, and private parties. I pride myself on adapting each performance to fit perfectly with my clients’ events. To accomplish this, I consult with them before offering up a quote. This is to make sure that I’m quoting them the package that best fits their event, and has accounted for any variables, like costuming, travel, and discounts they may be eligible for. This also allows them to ask me questions about what I do. Alternatively, I can send a questionnaire for those that prefer to handle things via email. Once a client indicates they’d like to book, I draw up an online contract and send them a link. It makes booking super quick and easy. I offer two types of fire performance: ambient/atmospheric, and the stage set. I also offer LED performance and am launching mermaid entertainment for next season (Yes, I swim in a mermaid tail!)

Atmospheric entertainment works well for events where people will be wandering in and out, mingling (as in a cocktail party,) or to maintain the energy level on a dance floor. The performance is intermittent, usually over the course of 2 or more hours. It’s meant to set the tone/create a vibe, rather than serve as the focal point of the event. The stage set is a theatrical, continuous set, utilizing multiple props. Just like you’d expect from a movie, or any theatrical event, as the set progresses, the fire gets bigger, and the tricks more daring, building to an explosive finale.

Each stage set begins with the curation of music for the chosen theme. For example, when I was putting together my Latin set, I spent about a month listening to reggaeton, working with my props to a ton of songs, figuring out what worked best, and narrowed it down to a dozen or so top picks. Once I have my top picks, I head into my DJ program and work with the music until I have a continuous, seamless, perfectly timed soundtrack for the show. Then the rehearsals begin, and I’m working out the progression of props (tools), the dance moves, and the timing of the big stunts, polishing, and refining, Meanwhile, I’m putting together the perfect costume for the theme.

Continuous solo stage sets run 15 minutes, with fire dancing only, for 20 minutes with the addition of fire eating/breathing. When my clients need to fill a larger time slot, I bring in additional performers. I also teach private lessons and workshops. Over the years I’ve had a number of hula hoop and poi dance students. Last weekend I taught fire eating at Pyrotrainia, an empowerment retreat. I maintain an insurance policy that protects my clients, their guests, and the venue, and follow (and in many cases exceed) international fire performance safety standards.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I grew up around NYC, have lived in Atlanta and Phoenix, and have spent time in a number of cities. San Diego has the most relaxed vibe of all of them. I was worried when I moved here, that I’d have trouble adjusting, after living in Moab for so long. But the transition was easy, because San Diego is so kicked back. I love that there’s never any shortage of people to collaborate with, learn from, teach, inspire, and be inspired by…I’d be remiss though, if I didn’t mention our perfect climate and amazing diversity of flora. As for downsides, I could live the rest of my life without driving SB during afternoon rush hour traffic.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Robert Stone Nadel, Michael Walborn (Michael W Photo), Darrel Marcos, Lenslife Photography

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