Where to Perfect Your Flow: Summer Festivals and Workshops

The Flow Arts and it’s fraternal twin, Circus Arts, have quickly become a key attribute of festival and music culture. Nothing adds to the quality of an event like a graceful aerial hoop performance or some mesmerizing fire spinning. And although many of these practices are age-old, the recent rise in popularity seems to coincide with the past decade’s proliferation of EDM culture.

Flow and Circus Arts include but are not limited to: poi, hula hoop, aerial hoop, aerial silks, juggling, staffs, nunchuks, Buugeng/S-Staff, rope dart, fans. Dance is an underlying component of every discipline but can be considered a Flow Art on its own, especially when it incorporates contact dance and acrobatic elements. Dance collectives such as Subscura, Omnika, and Lucent Dossier Experience have been at the forefront of this burgeoning field.

The performances can be seen at all of the top-tier festivals and events such as Shambhala, Bass Coast and Lightning in a Bottle, and to meet the demand and interest in this community, festivals and events are developing for the purpose of teaching and inspiring flow artists both new and established. There are many well-established Flow Festivals in the states, and Canada’s numbers are rapidly increasing. Here are some of this summer’s top events in British Columbia.


Photo: Bailey Wheeler

1. Okanagan Flow Festival

Date: May 13th-15th, 2016

Location: Green Bay Bible Camp, Lake Okanagan, BC.

Price: $249 CAD (includes room and board!)

Instructor Highlights: 3 CanSpin Award winners, Daniel Musahi, Todd Oaken and Noah Weigel. 2016 Hooper of the Year Nominee, Babz Robinson.

What makes it special: The most comprehensive Flow Festival in British Columbia, OKFF will feature 40 workshops and 13 instructors in multiple disciplines. The festival’s producer, Kipper Christopher Martin of Pyroneer Productions says attendees can look forward to the strong community vibe: “The fact that everyone will eat together and bunk together helps build community and friendship.”


Photo via lucentdossier.com

2. Leviathan Studio Poi Retreat

Date: June 5-12 and 12-19

Location: Leviathan Studio, Lasqueti Island, BC.

Price: Early-bird (until April 1st): $700CAD for one week or $1300 for both weeks. Regular: $800/1500CAD (includes organic meals for the duration of the retreat!)

Instructor Highlights: Nick Woolsey, creator of Playpoi Studios, is known internationally for creating instructional media, workshops, and retreats. His comprehensive poi-tutorial community, playpoi.com, is an educational haven for poi enthusiasts.

What makes it special: This retreat is for spinners who have mastered the basics and want to invest in their art. The off-grid location is totally magical. Special guests include fire-spinners Karina and Kat from Vesta Fire entertainment.

*Nick Woolsey is offering Betty and Kora readers a $50 discount off the early-bird price, and is extending the early-bird pricing until May 15th for us as well! All you have to do is send him a message when you are ready to register and tell him you heard about the retreat via B&K!


Photo: Xavier Photography

3. Romancing the Hoop

Date: April 22nd – 24th, 2016

Location: Cedar Hill Rec, Victoria, BC.

Price: Full Weekend $125 USD, Single Day $68 USD

Instructor Highlights: Anah Reichenback (Hoopalicious) is the founder of Hoop Revolution. Her list of accomplishments includes 18 years of performing and teaching and an Instructor of the Year award from Hooping.org. At the forefront of the modern hoop movement, this woman has a ton of hoop knowledge to share with beginners and pros alike.

What makes it special: This workshop focuses on the “love affair” with your flow: the inherent pleasure derived from hoop dance creates “satisfaction of mind, heart and body.”

*Anah is offering a $15 discount to Betty and Kora readers when you sign up using the promo code: BandK


Photo via hooprevolution.com

4. Salt Spring Island Contact Improvisational Festival

Date: May 25th – May 29th

Location: Beaver Point Hall, Salt Spring Island, BC.

Price: Student Rate: $300, Regular Rate: $330 Professional Rate: $360 (Meals included.)

Instructor Highlights: Jennifer Mcleish-Lewis, Cyrus Khambata, Karl Frost.

What makes it special: We’ve all seen that couple on the dance floor, defying gravity and rolling around on each other like some kind of tandem human jungle gym and you’re just like “whaaaaaa?” but also you’re jealous cause it’s totally awesome and you wish you were that cool. Well this event can help you achieve that dream.


Photo via spinallthethings.com

5. NorthWest Flow Fest

Date: June 25th-26th, 2016

Location: Gas Works Park, Seattle, WA.

Price: Early Bird (until April 1st) $45, Regular $60

Instructor Highlights: Richard Hartnell and Marvin Ong

What makes it special: OK, OK, I know this one isn’t in BC… but it’s an awesome neighboring fest. Listen to this description, via the website: “NorthWest Flow Fest is designed to offer 3 major workshop tracks for dance participants by day, and flow parties with live music by night.  Workshops in the areas of Prop Manipulation, (hoop dance, juggling, poi and staff spinning), Dance (Bellydance, African Dance, Capoeira, Breakdance, etc), and Yoga will run simultaneously, giving participants as many as 3 different dance and flow arts workshop opportunities at any given time.”

Outside BC:

There are two other comprehensive Flow Festivals in Canada that offer teaching in a wide variety of disciplines: Spin Out in Alberta (June 10th – 13th for 2016), and Spin All the Things: The Toronto Flow Festival (April 22nd – 24th). They may not be in the BC area, but by learning and sharing information about events such as these, we create a greater demand for the expansion and growth of the Flow Festival community!

WORDS: Lauren DeGaine

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