It’s hard to picture a fire spinning performance group starting under the nimble fingers of curious folks trolling Facebook, but Kinshira Performance Group is apparently a social media wonder.
The fire spinning, funky-costumed troupe is so popular they will make not one but two major performances in Kelowna this weekend; first, at the Fertility Festival on the Summerhill Pyramid Winery property and second, at WAM!, the Wine, Art and Music signature fundraiser held annually at the Rotary Centre for the Arts during the Spring Wine Festival.
Kinshira founder Tait McGuire claims he caught the fire bug after watching a fire spinning performance at a music festival in 2004.
“It was the most empowering, hypnotic thing and I don’t think I moved from that spot for three hours,” he said.
As the fire jam spun on, he couldn’t help but weave a few aspirations of his own to get in on the action.
He had already experimented with poi, a Maori performance art and one-time combat technique involving to spinning balls, while waiting in a lineup at the Shambhula Music Festival. Combining the experience with copious YouTube instructional snippets, McGuire set up practice sessions in the Orchard Park Shopping Mall parking lot where he and the Facebook friends continued for six months until the cops shut the operation down.
By that point, McGuire had a taste for the show biz element of his new fiery obsession and the possy to put it altogether.
Now eleven members strong—having just picked up musicians Jennifer Schuler and David Beaudoin—he describes Kinshira as a performance collective who travel with their own photographers, elaborate costumes, musicians and various forms of trickery ranging from magic to fire and beyond.
Their repertoire includes Poi, LED light shows, fire, fabric toy shows, staff and baton twirling, stilts and an act that’s part circus, part music festival fun, part children’s entertainment—depending on what’s happening.
This weekend they will do a straight fire show at the Fertility Festival then switch to a roving minstrel act for the Rotary Centre using LED lights and fabric toys to avoid bringing fire into the indoor venue.
The group still does the venture part-time, but spends a couple of weeks at the PNE in the Lower Mainland each Fall for Fright Nights, hits several festivals throughout the summer and McGuire now runs a cloth toy business spin off on the side, giving others a chance to learn the tricks of the trade.
The Fertility Festival runs Friday, May 11 and Saturday May 12 at Summerhil Pyramid Winery. Tickets are $15 at the door or $10 for students; $5 for those who want to hang a piece of art in the vineyard. Kinshira performs Friday evening, details can be found on the Fertility Festival Facebook Page.
Tickets for WAM! at the Rotary Centre for the Arts are $89 or $500 for six. The event runs Saturday evening (7 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and Kinshira will perform throughout the course of the night. Tickets and details are available through Select Your Tickets.