Fire performers 2014 events – Weddings, palaces, private parties and more

2014 has been non stop so far. After returning from the tour with Art on Ice we were soon off to quite an adventurous event in Nigeria. Two promotional nights in the city of Enugu for one of the countries largest beverage companies. Despite an unfortunately necessary heavy security presence the event was great fun and well received by a very excited crowd. 

Several TV interviews and 6 acts over 2 nights, sharing the stage with former colleagues from Cirque du Soleil, Srikanta Barefoot and Jorge Silvestre. A rather exotic destination for a reunion performance!

Next up was a special event in Mannheim Germany for European multinational software corporation SAP. 

The venue was an old fire station converted into an amazing events space. We welcomed the strict OH&S requirements and a demonstration for the city fire marshall. A great chance to show off our extensive risk assessments and safety documentation which Stephanie prepared in German.

Back to the UK for a beautiful unique garden party held on a beautiful estate in Kent. Themed ‘Midsummers Night Dream’ we created custom fire elf characters to enchant the guests and bring a touch of magic into the night. 

We enjoyed it so much we’ve developed them into a permanent act. Beautiful roving creatures for weddings, anniversaries and outdoor events.

Some more recent events include a spectacular company anniversary at Kensington Palace, a 50′s theme remix of our Electroswing fire show for a performance at the O2 arena, and a commissioned piece, completely bespoke and based on Grimms Fairy Tales, for a very special private party in London’s Village Underground. Some pictures below, More on the way soon!









Excerpt from an upcoming interview for Fire Arts Magazine:

  1. What do you mean by Clean Burning fuel and would you consider White Gas (Coleman’s Fuel) to be clean? 

Well that’s a bit subjective. ‘Clean’ is a meaningless term except in marketing and perhaps I should not have used it.

You could take ‘clean’ to mean odourless, smoke/carbon black free or non toxic, and in 2 of those 3 definitions ‘Coleman’s’ is clearly a better choice than some of the Australians kerosene use or the British with their paraffin.

However if your looking at a lack of potential toxicity then some of the isoparaffins are the clear winner. These are highly refined aliphatic branched chain isomers with a high degree of purity and specific properties including very little or no odour. 

I use isoparrafins with very very low naphthalene (not to be confused with naphthas) sulphur and aromatic contents (aromatic has nothing to do with smell but for hydrocarbons refers to benzene/toluene i.e. bad stuff). I like to see aromatics lower that 0.05% and prefer 0.01% or lower.

The great thing is isoparaffins are available in a range of flash points and are used in a range of specialist industries worldwide. It doesn’t mean you can pick them up at the corner store but they are available if you know how to request it from a distributor professionally.

In contrast Colemans (aka White Gas, VM&P Naphtha,  Coleman Fuel) although very low in benzene can apparently be up to 25% n-hexane and 15% cyclohexane. Both n-hexane and cyclohexane have strict occupational exposure limits and the potential with long term repeated exposure to induce neuropathy (nerve damage). Coleman Fuel contains up to 25% n-hexane and up to 15% cyclohexane by weight (Calumet, 1998). Vol. 1, No. 9: Clandestine Drug Labs/ Methamphetamine Sept 2003 Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)

The perspective we need to keep in mind is the amount of exposure. You might think your closely exposed while fire dancing but it’s actually relatively small exposure during the actual performance compared to amounts of fumes and vapours workers in the trucking or painting industries experience day to day. However the exposure prior and post performance could be of concern.

You see given sufficient oxygen the complete combustion of any hydrocarbon produces just carbon dioxide and water. 

Combustion tends to be less complete as the number of carbon atoms in the fuel contents rise, typified by a yellow smoky flame which are carbons left over as the hydrogen bonds to the first available oxygen and the more complex volatile carbons get left over.

Colemans is a mix of compounds with lower numbers of carbon atoms (shorter/lighter) than fuels such as lamp oils or the British ‘paraffins’ (a frustratingly archaic and non specific term) which have more carbon atoms (longer/heavier… keep going heavier and you’ll get to wax). 

So Colemans burns relatively efficiently, quiet easily compared to heavier fuels… but it’s not during combustion where I would surmise the danger. 

I believe the danger for high exposure is during ‘spinning off’ when you are creating a dense cloud of vapour around yourself, and post show with left over vapours streaming off the hot props, not being burnt away but building up (especially in confined spaces) and being breathed in by the performers and anyone else backstage. 

So I advise, no matter the fuel, cover your mouth with a mask or cloth or at the very least hold your breath while spinning off until the vapour dissipates (or avoid that technique altogether, feel free to ask me how) AND when extinguishing a prop keep it wrapped in your wet towel (or wet molleton/duvetyne) until you can get it into a well ventilated area or it has cooled down entirely.

If you want to be careful and professional then I would recommend a look into isoparaffins. 

Taking milk thistle extract and alpha lipoic acid semi regularly would also be a reasonable precaution.

 

P.S. based on my reading and extrapolation  of Cirque du Soleil’s results with Passive Organic Vapor Monitors during testing on the Zaia show, I would estimate we’re looking at exposure of 60-90ppm (as hexane) during fire performance, and between 500 up to a max of 1000ppm during spin off or next to hot extinguished props assuming a large indoor space.

The 8-hour Time-Weighted-Average for n-hexane is 500 ppm (1800 mg/m3). 

 

Please credit Dan Miethke & sparkfiredance.com in all reproductions. I am not interesting in retailing fuel (for now) and am concerned for the health of my brothers and sisters so share the above with the best of intent however YMMV and all the above is not to be misconstrued as heath or chemistry advice from a professional!

************ This is a work in progress and will be updated as I collate new information and understandings. *************

Big thanks to Matt Silence for his input as a analytical chemist and Ed Hollings as a chemical engineer… Also thanks to Callan Morgan for introducing me to my first isoparrafin nearly 15 years ago, and Gabe Monson for doing the same for many up in Brisbane… Arashi Seiraika, Vatra Amidzich, Gora Krisztian and Rusty Kilpatrick for their own research and insights…. and the wider community at large for their contributions… I love you all ★♥★!!! 

New bespoke flame effects – Fire breathing swords for ‘Art on Ice’ production

Check out our newest and biggest effects, created for Art on Ice and premiered in the Hallestadion in Zurich.
These massive fire swords create a huge cloud of fire with Dan in the middle of it all. This fire stunt culminates in Dan lighting beautiful helix trails of fire on the ice.

Such a fantastic cast and crew to work with. More footage and photos to come. The entire show will be broadcast on March 23rd.

Art on Ice – Zurich premiere

A wild week of effects design and testing, rehearsals, choreography and some last minute arrivals of the olympic gold medalist cast members, direct from Sochi, all culminating in our spectacular premiere show Thursday night!

Resounding success to a huge crowd. Ten thousand people in the Hallenstadion Zurich. One show done today, another tonight and two tomorrow, then we’re off to Lausanne.

Art on Ice Zurich 2014 Production with Spark Fire Dance

Spark Fire Dance audience program - Cirque du Soleil fire breathers

Gev breakdancer - Art on Ice 2014 with Spark Fire Dance fire eaters circus artists

Zabado and Zoola - Art on Ice 2014 with Spark Fire Dance fire jugglers

Zurich, Lausanne, Davos, Helsinki, Stockholm…. Spark Fire Dance on tour!

We’re flying out to Switzerland today to perform as part of the ‘Art on Ice’ production, with a cast including ‘Hurts’ and other former Cirque du Soleil and Olympic athletes! 

We’ll be presenting brand new even larger fire and special effects and will be literally setting the ice on fire in front of a projected tour live audience of more than 100,000 spectators. The shows will also be recorded and broadcast worldwide!

Art on Ice stage show, stadium and audience

UK based Spark Fire Dance will be performing with Art on Ice 2014 tour, Zurich, Lausanne, Davos, Helsinki, Stockholm.

Premieres:

Hallenstadion Zurich, Thursday 27th Feb. 

Patinoire de Malley Lausanne, Tuesday, March 4

Vaillant Arena Davos, Friday, March 7

Hartwall Arena Helsinki, Tuesday, March 11

Globe Arena Stockhom, Thursday, March 13

Open letter response to America’s Got Talent

 

We feel that productions with budget can do better than to ask artists with highly skilled or dangerous acts to perform simply for ‘exposure’.
It undermines the professionalism of the circus arts industry and disrespects the years of effort it takes to attain these talents.

———————————————

Hi Carter,

Thanks for getting in contact.
To give you an idea of what we could present you can see a recent TV performance of ours on ‘Beat the Best’ in France here: vimeo.com/sparkfire/lemeilleurartiste
Our performers are UK based however we are available worldwide for bookings.

I’m happy to talk further about ways we could bring our unique performances to the screen with your production.

The only hesitation I have is the unfortunate issue we’ve encountered with many previous ‘Got Talent’ enquiries, the inability of the producers to organise fee’s for the not inconsiderable time and effort of professional artists performance.

Would this be different for the ‘grand daddy’ of the Got Talent series, the American version?

We had a fantastic experience with ‘Beat the Best’ who not only pay full fees but also offer great tech support and whose guiding principle seems to be a desire to display their contestants and their skills in the best possible light.

If you feel your producers share these goals I would be more than happy to discuss and negotiate options to offer our services.

Look forward to hearing from you. 

Best Regards,

Dan Miethke
Spark Fire Dance

 

———————————————

Hi Dan,

This is Carter Palmer, part of the casting team for America’s Got Talent Season 9, based out of Fremantle Media offices in Los Angeles, California. I came across your incredible fire dance videos and was very impressed! I know you all are based out of the U.K…. but I’d love to submit a video of their performance to our producers.

I’d love to speak with you both over the phone to answer any questions and hopefully book this! It could be a fun experience for you all to meet our producers and find out more about the show. Our show has been sold in 147 international territories and being a part of this show gives you incredible exposure around the world. 

Hope to hear from you soon!

Best,

– 

Carter Palmer
Casting Associate
America’s Got Talent Season 9

UK Fire show premiere… London to Paris for ‘le Meilleur Artiste’

Unique new act based in London, available across the UK, Europe and the Middle East. 

We took part in the french version of ‘Beat the Best’ where we performed our speciality Electroswing Fire Show. The pressure was on and had a hard time finding a suitable rehearsal space to accommodate our large scale special effects and stunts, but it all came together and we are very pleased to present our performance!

The jury was taken aback and felt the heat of our ‘Dragon Fire‘ effects and we loved their comments!

 

Full Transcript:

To take over the couch at The Best, we’re welcoming a couple coming from the UK, Spark Fire Dance  

Dan and Steffi travel the world with their Fire Dance Show. 

Dan: Fire dancing is a unique combination of prop manipulation, martial arts and dance. We’ve performed all over the world in over 80 cities and more than 40 countries around the world. I’ve worked with Cirque du Soleil. 

Normally the fire artists just light up the end of a prop and then complete figures by spinning, juggling and throwing the prop. 

Presenter: Dan and Steffi literally dance with the fire. Dan has created their speciality props which allow them to include special effects into their circus acts, similar to a firebreather, as here where Dan literally sets his partner on fire.  

Dan: To be out there on stage with fire is to work with something that’s moving and alive. To manipulate that power and to work with that power is an amazing thing. 

Presenter: Their fire shows have been performed in more than 40 countries. They dance with fire in an incredibly modern act created especially for this competition. 

Welcome to the stage of “The Best”… Spark Fire Dance! 

Ladies and gentlemen please show your appreciation for Spark Fire Dance who have literally set the tent on fire tonight. 

It goes without saying that these are two experienced circus artists. Don’t try to do this at home next to the BBQ, it won’t work and it could be very dangerous. 

Well, Spark Fire Dance have they lit up the audience and the jury?

We will know in just an moment. You have a few seconds to give the two of them a rating out of ten. 

And it’s finished! 

Alessandra: I watched you during this number and I thought ‘Wow, Wow!’ 

Presenter: So was it ‘Wow’ for you Alessandra? 

Alessandra: Absolutely, I’m scared of even a matchstick, so I was really amazed.  

I truly had the impression that I was part of a fire works display. 

There were sparks everywhere, even in my eyes, because it was so beautiful… and also what this very, very beautiful and talented Miss did with her sort of fans. 

I’ve seen it done before, but only with feathers - notably, Zizi Jeanmaire in a choreography of Roland Petit ‘Mon truc en Plumes’… I found this very, very beautiful, choreographically very accomplished.

They are courageous, they are good looking, they are young, Truly they have a lot to offer … 8.1 points! 

Presenter: Arturo, what did you think of this number? 

Arturo: I have truly never seen anything like it. 

I liked the mix of Jazz with Fire, it gave visions of some kind of gambling den or casino, with the devil playing cards. The production is extraordinary. 

It reminded me of the acts that were performed back in the grand theatres of music halls, some rare exceptional acts of the 40s and 50s… truly! 

So, I gave you 7.5 points. 

Presenter: Well, this is equally a good score for Arturo Brachetti, a very good score! 

So Lara, you have been pretty much in accord with Alessandra from the beginning of this series…

Lara: I thought that the level of difficulty transcended was absolute.  

I think if you play with an element so vivd and so dangerous as fire with such mastery, you can’t be anything but ‘The Best’. 

Alessandra is right in repeating, you are exceptional. 

Unique in what you do and very novel. 

I’ve given you 7.5 points. 

Presenter: And we will finish with Sébastien Stella… 

Sébastien: In The United Sates I see a lot of fire acts,  fire eaters, fire jugglers, Thus I loved the innovations here. 

He was able to research how to create much bigger flames. I like it when a fire performer is able to play with the risk and with the audience and to bring the flames so close to the audience as you did. 

Arturo: Lara, she’s got a tan now, look! Only from the front… You haven’t lost your eyelashes, have you? 

Sébastien: I think now at this level of prop manipulation, of knowing the fire, I really hope that they will continue pushing the limits and to create more works together. 

I gave 7.1 points. 

Presenter: All scores above 7 for Spark Fire Dance. In an instance we will se the average score of the jury.

7.6 points, excellent score! A tiny little bit lower than the one of Hamish McCann. 

It’s the public again that will make the difference. 

To go up these stairs you have to get a score higher than 16.4.

The jury, I remind you, has given you a score of 7.6. 

Let’s all see if the public has followed the opinion of the jury… 

score counter… (drum roll) 

14.7 … 

Unfortunately this won’t be enough. 

Thank you, for your presentation. 

The Australian pole dancer Hamish McCann has maintained his position against his first challengers 

The deluge of fire and the choreography of Spark Fire Dance have not topped it.

The competition stops here for Dan and Steffi. 

Alessandra: Spark Fire Dance – I found them outstanding, very dangerous and very impressive and very elegant at the same time. They act, they literally play with fire, acrobatics, dance, all of it.

Thanks to The Best, we can see they are dream makers…. I think they could have very well risen to the Finals!

Madinat Jumeirah Arabian Resort New Years Eve performances

We’re thrilled to be back in Dubai for New Years Eve at the luxurious Madinat Jumeirah Arabian Resort, the largest resort in the emirate. 

Here’s one of the four beautiful stages we’ll be performing on tomorrow night! 

Amazing-light-show-performers-Spark-Fire-Dance-entertainment-companies-Pyro-poi

Duo flame gangster pizazz, sexy circus without breaking a sweat

Another amazing shot here with Steffi’s Dragon fire in full swing.
These effects create a beautiful finale for our acts that your audience can actually feel as the heat pushes them back in their seats.

london fire acrobatics dance entertainer

Luxury wedding entertainment ideas? Entertainment and production companies know that true quality is hard to find. Our fire acts are perfect for those unique special events where you need excitement and impact and where anything less than the best is not an option.

Getty Images shoot – Super detailed fire effects

We recently collaborated with an acclaimed photographer from Getty images, Ian Gavan, on a mission to capture some of the full force of the fire we’re working with.
Our first shoot with him was out on a beautiful beach location at Saunton Sands here in the UK.

Heavy winds were a major challenge and we had to race to catch some sunset shots, but we persevered and got some amazing material thanks to Ians superb skills behind the lens.

The shots will be going out as an interest pice to selected news agencies online galleries.

Some more fantastic images will be posted over the next few weeks.

Fire Show by UK performers

Spark Fire Dance – Ultimate FX act – Double Dragon Swords

MTFX Flame Jet finale with Starlight productions & Cirque Bijou

We shared the stage with MTFX for a beautiful private event at Dumfries house in Scotland with Starlight Productions and Cirque Bijou.

Great to meet a couple of their crew and have a good chat about fire tech. Check out their wild flame jet systems firing after our ‘Ultimate FX!’ act!

The Best, le meilleur Artiste on TF1 – Spark Fire Dance on Beat the Best!

Our performance for “The Best, le meilleur Artiste” has just aired on Frances TF1!
We haven’t even seen it yet but the feedback we’re getting is fantastic. We’re so excited to have performed our act to such a wide audience in France, Switzerland, Belgium etc.
Footage should be up soon. Until then just a couple of photos!

l’émission 7 de The Best, le meilleur artiste

Fire and light shows in Mexico & the US

We’re back in Mexico again for one of our favorite events, the San Luis Potosí Feria Nacional 2013!
3 days of intensive rehearsals and we’re hitting the stage with an innovative show featuring some amazing acrobats, shadow dancers and projection performances by Flowmotion Dance Company. Three power packing 16k lumen projectors making it a remarkable light show.

The audiences are loving our signature ‘Dragons Breath’ fireball effects, similar in effect to a firebreathers burst, it’s a fantastic human flamethrower impression, without any of the health dangers or messiness of firebreathing!

We have flame masters shooting propane flames across the top of the 16 meter wide stage as our pyro dancers add maximum wow factor to the show with pyrotechnic doublestaffs and poi. A fantastic fire and light show for a very appreciative local audience.

20 shows here over the next 3 weeks, then on to Black Rock City, Nevada and Burning Man where we’ll be lighting up the events stages with a bespoke special effects show at Fractal Nation and Nexus with a heap of other great circus performers.

It’ll be non stop party entertainment, but educational as well!
We’ll not only be canvasing the other entertainment companies and circus freaks for cutting edge event performance ideas but also dropping into the TEDxBlackRockCity which is at Burning Man for the third year in a row!
The theme is ‘Paradigm shift’ with a great lineup of speakers. Should be some fascinating material.

 

London acrobats combine traditional circus skills with contemporary fire dance and unique SFX

Pyrotechnics Poi dancer at Mexico Feria 2013

 

2013, what a huge year so far!

A bit of a catch up post for us, we’ve been flat out!

Cannes Film Festival & Monaco Force Blue SuperyachtDragons Breath Clubs Fire Shows Cannes
2 weeks of high rollers galore as we performed on a super yacht in Monaco with the superstars of LMFAO and added our flaming signature to customised productions for the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Paris – Le Meilleur Artiste
We recently had an amazing two days of filming for the exclusive french talent show, Le Meilleur Artiste! with our new Electroswing Fire act featured. Screening across europe on Frances TF1 later this year.

Mexico – Leon Feria 2013
We spent the winter months on contracts in North America and performed our fire shows and aerial acts at one of the largest Ferias in Mexico to over 15,000 people a day!
The audiences were fantastic, super enthusiastic about circus. What a pleasure to be welcomed with so much warm applause by people from all walks of life.

Week days was an early rise for performances at 10am! Not usual for us, but the audience totally made it worth
it. 5000 kids from surrounding towns screaming with joy. They’d never seen entertainment anything like our fire and pyrotechnics shows and were more than happy to share their excitement with us.

Aerial Ring Mexico - Lyra hoop dance

It was great to be working at the same festival as the amazing circus company ‘Les 7 Doigts de la Main’. Fantastic to train and hang out with some of their team.

London – Mercedes Benz Winter Ball – Fire and Ice
A recent corporate event where we performed with several other stunning circus acts.

We performed our Fire Fury act to bring some warmth to Mercedes Benz’s Winter Ball.
The gala dinner was held in the beautiful Lindley Hall in London, one of the stunning halls of the Royal Horticulture Society built in 1904 and placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

The setup and decor was beautiful with a central stage which had us performing in the round very
close to the audience.
The guests were more than warmed up after our fire show, with several comments quite taken aback by the sheer intensity. Nice to make an impression!

Lisbon – Boehringer Ingelheim
Corporate Fire Shows wow factor Fire jugglersBoehringer Ingelheim held an annual congress in the beautiful seaside Hotel Cascais Miragem with delegates from across Europe.
To round off the corporate congress we performed our duo fire show ‘Fire Fury’.
Our ‘Dragons Breath’ fireball effects were supplemented with a fire cannon array shooting across the front of stage. A combination which proved to be a fantastic hit.

Qatar – Heir Apparent’s Cup
A short high power performance in Khalifa International Stadium, Doha Qatar.
We supervised a team of five fire performers brought out to light up the stadium for the opening of the largest football event in Qatar this year. Special effects and maximum fire power were brought to bear on this unique event which was broadcast to fans worldwide!

Switzerland – Hotel Royale
High impact custom freestyle fire for an exclusive event thrown by the world renowned Hed Kandi events. Overlooking Geneva Lake at the prestigious Hotel Royale.

London  - Responsys
All the stops were out for a maximum wow factor version of our Electroswing Fire Show at the Lancaster in London. Rockabilly swing theme was the name of the game here and with some fantastic MC’ing by Mario Queen of the Circus and our X factor corporate entertainment the night was a hilarious and high powered success.

Kuwait – World Futsal tournament
46 degrees outside! Luckily we were indoors for this custom production of the opening ceremonies of the World Futsal tournament.
Acrobats, dancers, aerialists, wall runners, martial tricksters and our fireballs and flaming choreographed fire show, custom tailored to a tango theme to represent the South American teams!

UK – Festival of Speed – Goodwood
10 Freestyle motocross riders jumping over us and an F1 onstage as we let loose some massive handheld fire effects for this exclusive private production for Lord Goodwood’s event!
Aerial fire fans and our ‘Dragons Breath’ swords were just the warm up if you can believe it, finishing our act with a duo human pyrotechnic finale and supported with a  huge sky lighting fireworks display.

Edinburgh – Sky TV
An amazing arena setup for Sky TV’s annual family day. 10,000 people and two huge shows. A great chance to pull out all the stops and give our biggest effects the space to really light the place up! The clients confided that they were worried two people could not fill the 15 meter wide stage, but once they saw the first show they were completely blown away. What a rush to get such feedback!

Huge stage high impact fire act and event entertainer.jpg

 

 

 

 

Adventures in Istanbul

We’re loving exploring this fascinating city between our shows. It’s a gorgeous mixture of Asian, Middle East and European influence. Really stunning, beautiful & different. We look forward to coming back for more events or productions and getting to know the city even more.

Istanbul

We’re in Istanbul for a weeks run of performances in the ‘Illuminaire’ Phoenix production.

The 2000 seater theatre is looking great and the city is splashed with billboards advertising the show, which features artists from across europe.

Our hotel overlooks the Bosphorus, watching the sun rise over the Istanbul straight dividing the European and Asian continents, it’s a great place to bridge our past 2 years work in Asia and celebrate our new focus on Europe.

It’s a fascinating city, throbbing with the pulse of 14 million people, gleaming scrapers rising out of neighborhoods with 600 year old spice bazaar’s.

The city is rapidly growing and the event entertainment market seems poised to embrace the next level of corporate quality acts and cirque style shows.

Our local connection speaks of the modernization of Istanbul’s conference and business sector outpacing even the cities rapid population growth in recent years, with the development of the events services industry expanding fast to cater to the new wave of Turkish entertainment requirements, product launches and exclusive private functions.

Dress rehearsals and media previews are under way and the performers and crew are getting ready to rock with a fiery pyrotechnics and circus extravaganza premiere tomorrow night.