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Fire Festival Lights up Caldwell Park

Just in time before the rain, “Cirque de Fue” was a hit. Saturday night, hordes of community members flocked to Caldwell Park to see the unique talents and perhaps less traditional gifts such as belly dancing, acrobatics, and fire breathing.
Vendors encircled the roped off area, selling such items as melted metallic art, silver glob-like items shaped like cumulous clouds,  or leather items such as earrings or what appeared to be modern corsets. There were also face painters, balloon animal creators, and food stands that are a fixture in any carnival resembling event.


“Like others, I was drawn towards the idea of people using and trying to control the elements, in this case, fire” says local college student Christina. She came to the event with her friend, and did not want to miss out on a thing, staying from the early afternoon until the last show and the last people dispersed.


The event started on the latter half of Saturday, and with the setting of the sun, the show really sparked, no pun intended.


Group after group impressed audience members by impressive mixes of choreography and flame. Some used what appeared to be short chains with flaming masses of something on the end, others used a four foot long staff  with fire on one or both ends, and still others preferred to use a sort of fan, with long fingers lit on fire on the tips. The performers danced with a variety of musical backgrounds, from dub step to electronic versions of classic pieces.


The performances were exotic and almost erotic, with performers wearing little clothes, in order to one, stand out and two, aid in mobility for their elaborate dance moves.
It should be noted that the event, although centered around the graceful flinging of fire, was quite safe. Audience members sat behind a taped fence, far enough to stay out of any danger zones. A patch of grass also served as a buffer, and was necessary at least once as an excited toddler ran toward the performers, only to be stopped short by a concerned parent. Fire extinguishers were never far away, and after a performance dancers would douse their flaming tools with a wet cloth and stamp out the fire.


As the darkness grew, so did the intensity of the performances, captivating audiences and leaving them in a bizarre trance, with the fire glowing and illuminating such a small patch of light that once the brain registered what it was one was looking at, the light had already moved on somewhere else. The music grew to a frenzy, wild, frenetic, and matching the unstoppable energy of the dancer, and his flame is almost extinguished simply because it is whipped about so much.
Much like the climax in stories, the event wanes some after a rousing act. Now the music is rhythmic, slow, and seems to undulate in perfect time with the well-rehearsed performers.


As the last performance came to a close, the audience was hypnotized, as if in a daze, and the last dancer gave a final graceful spin, and there was the heavy, weighted pause that comes just after the performer has finished, and before the audience can applaud. However, applaud they did, thunderous and intrigued.


To see great pictures, check out “Cirque de Fue” on facebook.


The night was definitely a unique one.


By: Ryan Loughrey





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