The Show’s Mission

Mission of the Flow Show

The Flow Show holds as its mission the presentation of the Flow Arts in a dance-theater setting.  Most opportunities for Flow artists to do what they do for an audience lie in the context of circus, where the acts are focused on the “Ta-Da!” moments, or as go-go-type acts accompanying bands or DJs, or entertainment at parties.  The performances in these contexts end up being trick-based or essentially they are after-thoughts to the main event.  The dance-theater setting gives the performers an opportunity to stretch what they do in new, artistically expressive directions for an audience that is there specifically to see them Flow.  It is the hope of the show to model how Flow Arts performances can be shaped, and how the Flow Arts can be featured in the context of dance.

from the program of the first Flow Show held April 24, 2009:

The props used in tonight’s performance are not new.  The ancient Greeks and Egyptians played with hoops; poi has been part of the Maori culture of New Zealand for as long; the staff has been used as a weapon in cultures around the world for millennia and clubs first appeared in India centuries ago.  Additionally, these props have been part of circus acts for a long time.

What is new is the way the manipulation of these props has fused with contemporary ideas of movement, dance, and flow.  What is new is the edge of technique, of geekery, constantly being pushed by many of the performers taking the stage tonight.  Many of us take vastly different approaches to the same toys.  Known collectively as the Flow Arts, these ancient disciplines have fused with Burning Man, rave and circus cultures and although their ancient antecedents are visible in the contemporary iterations, the modern versions are indeed new and constantly evolving.

Often performing with fire, frequently as bit parts in circuses or as the floorshow accompanying a DJ set at dance parties, practitioners of the Flow Arts rarely have the opportunity to make what they do – the movement and the flow – the focus.  Rarely are these art forms presented as movement disciplines – as dance – in their own right.  This was the impetus behind this show.

We hope you enjoy what we’ve made together.

The night of that first show, a crowd estimated to be three times the legal capacity of the venue showed up and most were turned away.  The response by those who made it into the show was rapturous, and it was clear at the end of that first night that something bigger than a one-off show was born.  Our goal is to establish this show an annual event, and we hope to grow it in future editions.

The first two years the show was an independent production by Khan, it is now a formal project of Fund the Flow Arts, a nonprofit organization established to promote and present the Flow Arts globally.