by Srikanta Barefoot


Dance-based fire dance (or DBFD) combines dance technique with Object manipulation techniques (juggling, tossing, spinning & twirling).  DBFD approaches the object manipulation fire arts from a dance-based perspective and DBFD artists build upon techniques established by various dance disciplines.  

Unlike fire spinning & fire juggling, in which focus is on the tricks performed by the object itself (ie. tech poi, yoyo, buugeng), in DBFD the dancer is as much or greater a focal point than the objects which he or she manipulates.

Dance-based fire dance blends dance and object manipulation techniques in a harmonious and connected way.  The relationship between the dancer and the object is a source of inspiration for discovering movements which are complementary to one another (for example certain object manipulation techniques may help a dancer to turn or jump, by transferring momentum generated from the prop to the body).  Such inquiries are of primary interest to dance-based fire dancers.

Special focus may be given to stage presence, atmosphere, choreography, dexterity, musicality, energetic flow and evolution throughout a piece.  Dance-based fire dance may be performed as a powerful impulse (improvisation) or as skilfully executed choreography.


 A vocabulary of DBFD techniques provides functional ways for achieving harmony between object manipulation technique and dance technique.  Jen and Srikanta Barefoot of Fusion Arts have been have developed a curriculum of DBFD techniques (as applied to multiple props like poi, staff, double staff, swords, hula hoop…) and teach via their online courses and fire dance retreats and workshops.  

In DBFD lessons, object manipulation is taught in tandem with dance technique so that the entire body is implicated from the start.  Special focus is given to musicality, stage presence, choreography, concept evolution and other performance and technical aspects used for preparing contemporary fire dance for performance. 

What distinguishes DBFD from fire dance?

Much of what is currently referred to as fire dance may better be termed fire juggling or (flaming) object manipulation because it has little or nothing to do with dance.   The use of fire dance as an umbrella term leaves no term for the combination of dance with fire.  Those passionate about applying dance concepts to fire performance are effectively left without a term with which to refer to their art.  Thus the term dance-based fire dance was proposed in order to distinguish other forms of fire performance from what (in a perfect world) should simply be referred to as fire dance.  It is cumbersome and redundant, but it’s clear, leaving little room for confusion.  

Distinguishing between different the kinds of fire performance is necessary for the evolution of the fire arts.  Check out The need to clarify fire performance terminology for complete definitions of the various terms.  

Dance-based fire dance facebook group

Check out the dance-based fire dance group on facebook!  The group is dedicated to the evolution of fire dance as dance and is the place to both share and connect with other dance-based fire dancers around the world.

France Fire Dance Retreat!  Join us!!!

APRIL 14-20 2024




Learn to fire dance with ex Cirque du Soleil Fire Dancer Srikanta Barefoot. Over 165 minutes of video! Instruction, inspiration and fun! Learn More…


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Examples of DANCE-BASED fire dance

Below are a few video examples of dance-based fire dance & dance-based fire dance lessons which Fusion Arts has created over the years.

Dancing with the Fire Staff

In this instructional video series on Dancing with the Fire Staff, ex Cirque du Soleil fire dancer & fire dance coach Srikanta Barefoot teaches techniques for combining dance & staff manipulation.  The series includes a choreography section which encourages students to focus on other dance & theater concepts like musicality & stage presence.

Fire Dance Quartet 2016

From 2015 to 2016, Fusion Arts trained two contemporary dancers to manipulate poi, staff, swords, etc.  The project was presented at Fusion Arts’ annual Fire Dance Retreat in the summer of 2016.

Feel Good Fire Dance 2009

In 2009, Cirque du Soleil Fire Performer Srikanta Barefoot created this video which combines dance techniques with poi, staff & swords.  Filmed in Macau and on the stage of ZAIA, it was one of the first contemporary fire dance videos to appear.

Srikanta was the first contemporary fire dancer featured by the Cirque du Soleil performing over 700 shows from 2008 to 2010.

Jen & Srikanta Barefoot Duo 2012

In 2012 Jen & Srikanta Barefoot published some of the contemporary fire dance choreography they had been working on together.  Jen has a background in both ballet and contemporary dance.  Srikanta has a background in circus, theater and contemporary dance.  The two began creating contemporary fire dance choreography together in 2009 and continue to create Fusion Arts Fire Shows & LED shows together to this day.

Solo Fire Dance Act 2015-2018

This video features footage of contemporary fire dancer Srikanta Barefoot.  The video highlights the ex Cirque du Soleil Fire Dancers work with the fire staffs.

His solo fire dance act Dancing Fire features contemporary fire dance with the single staff, double staff, fore ropes, fire swords and pyro poi.  There are a couple of more recent clips of Srikanta’s fire performance on the Fusion Arts Instagram account:

Single Fire Staff Performance by Srikanta
Double Fire Staff Performance by Srikanta