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A brief history of Chinese Spinning

Cirque de Flambe

Some time before 300 AD China developed a fire art called, in English, Meteor. The performers filled two bowls with fuel, and connected them with a chain, lit the fuel and spun the bowls by the chain. This constituted a great risk, as if the bowls were jolted, up to a fifty foot radius would be soaked with burning oil. Meteor was originally an art practiced only be the upper classes. Rich families would pay to have their children learn the art despite the risks entailed. The children would begin learning with weights, then move on to bowls filled with water. Only after complete mastery of these steps would they be allowed to perform with fire. The art of meteor slowly disappeared in China until the 1850's, where, during the height of the Opium Wars, it reasserted itself as an art practiced by all the classes. It was around this time that the art appeared in

Fire Meteor
Britain, and spread throughout the Empire. It was not until the 1960's that the art gained a real following, but it soon gained much popularity in America and England. Meteor appears as a circus act, a club act (utilizing phosphorescent illumination), and as a favorite of street performers. It is famed for its wide range of moves, combining those of poi and staff.

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