Spinning Russian Fans
What are Russian fire fans?
Russian fire fans are a flow prop where you can preform many tricks with. Many of these tricks are transferable from other props such as mini hoops. They consist of a ring where usually 5 wicks are attached in a fan shape allowing you the ability to dance with a set of fans on fire (of not on fire should you just use them with covers).
Cheap v's expensive Russian Fire Fan's
Fire fans are a very specialist prop that are generally made by fewer companies than props such as poi and hoop therefore finding a good pair of Russian fire fans can be a little trickier and most decent pairs would be found in Russia. Depending on where your located you might have to factor in slow and expensive shipping. A decent fire fan may take a week or two to manufacturer should their makers have long orders to fill. A cheaper fire fan such as one by home of poi is by comparison made on a production line, they are less solid in construction and have less weight to them and often are painted.
I have purchased and tested the "home of poi" fire fans which is one of the most popular starter fire fans on the market and a pair of "Uncle Druulian's" fire fans (the choice of many professional fire fan artists such as Rem. This is how they compare...
Home of Poi spider
£57 (plus postage), around £29 if you are prepared to sow on you own wicks. Prices may differ subject to shop pricing and exchange rates...
£111 (plus shipping) price may differ due to changes in shop prices or exchange rates.
Time to receive item
Premade item, quick shipping to UK.
Takes about 2 weeks to make and after shipping issues took around a month for me personally to receive the fans.
How do they flow?
Basic moves can be achieved but anything requiring weight to aid the trick can be awkward and paint can make handles sticky.
Copper handles and extra weight make spinning easy and most tricks are easier to learn on these. Build quality is much better.
Uncle Druulian's every time. If budget is an issue then the Home of poi fans will do however why spend the money on the budget ones if you think that you will probably end up with the more expensive ones anyway as these may still have a resale value if you end up not liking them... which is what ebay was invented for.
American tech grip
When choosing a pair of fire fans one of the biggest choices to make is "what grip do I get?" as there is another type of fire fan grip called the American tech style. These basically are fans with a smaller ring that are controlled by fingers instead of your hands. I may be biased with my preference to Russian's so here's someone who loves their American doodle grips to explain the American tech...
Personally I was stuck between a Forged Creation's Doodlegrip™ American tech grip and an Uncle Druuian's Russian grip but I went for the Russian's for these three reasons...
- Uncle Druulian's were cheaper
- American tech lends itself to a more boxy and folding style and I prefer the biger more flowy spinning style. Although most moves can be done with both types of fan's each fan lends itself better to different styles.
- The "™". If you look for practice doodle grips by which I mean non-fire props that are similar to fire fans and have the same grip to be used for practice or senario's where fire fans may not be appropriate then with the simple Russian grips you have so many choices. There are maker's that make led practice fan's in the Russian grip, uv neon petal grips, shiny wedge fans, fans that are made to look like bat wings even. Yet for doodles you have one obvious practice fan choice and that's a white plastic fan from forged creations, the same company that also makes doodles.
In the end through if I could get both I would get both and it is all down to personal choice.
Which fire fan grip do you prefer?
If you do not have money for lessons or instructors nearby/ flow festivals, helpful fire fan mates etc, etc... then I suggest that you start with Rem's Russian fire fan series on youtube. If you've learnt yourself some double hoop moves already then great I'd also recommend looking to play around with your fans after watching a few fire fan tutorials on the different grips you can use and have a go at transferring some skills.
When looking into any prop that involves fire it is very important to research fire safety. You are responsible for your own safety should you choose to light your fans. Therefore you must...
1) Use the right fuel (commonly paraffin)
2) Wear clothing which is less flammable (clothing which made of natural non-flammable material such as cotton as opposed to plastics, which doesn't have easy to burn detailing).
3) Always bring the proper fire safety equipment such as fire blankets, fire extinguishers, wet towel.
4) Always bring a spotter with you (someone to watch you while you spin fire to use appropriate fire extinguishing gear shout you need it).
5) Always have the required public liability insurance when preforming in public spaces.
6) PRACTICE (Always practice every move until you are confident with them before using them in a fire performance).
Should you not wish to use your fire fans for fire then there are some amazing fire fans that are designed to be used as a practice prop. Covering your fire fans with fire fan covers helps protect the wicks so that the fans can be used as practice props. Even through many fire fan artists start off with a normal set of fire fans they can be used as practice props while the covers are on for as long as a fan artist may need to practice whether that be weeks, months, years or forever. Everyone can learn their flow at their own pace.