Fire Dance lights up Mountain Fair
July 28, 2007
CARBONDALE – Talented men and women from Masri Nar belly and fire dancing awed the crowded Mountain Fair audience Saturday night when performers swung fire on ropes and torches, coming inches away from their bodies, and belly dancers moved their hips to the music.”It was enchanting,” said Kim Derhamner, who watched the performance from the front row with her friend, Stacy Evans.
“I liked the story,” said Evans. “It’s good to bring a balance between masculine and feminine.”The fire dance told a story of women dancers who were treated badly by men, and who left to dance with their “Fire Mother” until they gained the respect the deserved.Fuego, a fire performer, started off the ceremony by banging a gong with a burning torch. Later he swung burning ropes around with the other performers, and even ate and breathed fire.The belly dancers from Masri Nar all had different levels of experience.”It was great,” Carolyn Cipperly said. “We worked on it a long time.”It took the group eight months to finalize the dance pieces, but a lot of Saturday night’s performance was improvisation, Cipperly said.They did not have a director, and they all collaborated on the choreography, said Cipperly, who has been belly dancing for four years and started out spinning fire.”I wanted to learn to move more,” Cipperly said.And move she did.
Donning a blue turban, colorful jeweled gold necklaces and bracelets and tattooed eye make up, Fuego lifted up his arm to display a burn scar on his rib cage.He got the scar while fire dancing.Fuego lived in Glenwood for about 15 years, and now bounces around from festival to festival.It’s taken him a long time to master the art. He’s been doing it for seven years, three years professionally, he said.So where does one get the urge to start such a unique hobby?Well, for Fuego it was the Burning Man festival in Nevada.And he probably picked it up a lot quicker than most. He had 20 years of martial arts experience under his beaded belt when he began.But it still wasn’t easy.”It’s pretty hard,” said Fuego. “It takes a lot of practice.”
Maciej Mrotek swirled fire inches from his face, and at one point even held it in his hand. His pants looked like they had caught on fire as he twirled a flaming rope between his legs. Mrotek drew plenty of ooh’s and ahh’s from the crowd.Mrotek, who was raised in Redstone, moved back to the valley a year and a half ago. “I started coming here when I was 3,” Mrotek said of the Mountain Fair.He started his own fire dancing company, “Dance of the Sacred Fire.”Mrotek said his sister, Krystia, who passed away at age 15, used to perform here .”I came back two years ago to perform in the same spot she performed,” Mrotek says.Mrotek is an ex-firefighter, and he saw a fire show that changed his life, he said.Then he decided to do it full time, traveling around the country and across Europe to perform. Simple as that.