What do I need to consider to have Fire Dancers at my next event?


Fire Dancers for my next event?

Having Fire Dancers (Fire Performers) at your next event is a fantastic way to make your event memorable and unique. Fire Dancers bring a level of atmosphere and excitement. Many events lack a unique and inviting entrance way, and having fire dancers on the door is a great way to make the guests feel really special as they arrive. From a distance the guests will see flickering flames and will be intrigued and will know ‘that must the venue!’ On arrival they will get their moment of magic by seeing the incredible fire dancers up close! In addition to entrance entertainment, Fire Dancers are great roving throughout the guests doing mini shows or by doing a big impact choreographed stage performance!


So what exactly is Fire Dancing?

Fire Dancing is a unique performance art which involves trained talented dancers using a range of different ‘Fire Props’. These props have kevlar material ‘wicks’ on them which are soaked in a special fuel and lite on fire. Yes that is kevlar from bullet proof vests! Kevlar is an extremely strong material that can soak up fuel and stay together in high heat – this means the ‘wicks’ and props last much longer and can be re-soaked and burned hundreds of times. This also makes these props extremely safe for use at events as the fire is contained.

Fire dancing has been around since ancient times and throughout the ages has evolved. In the last 20 years it has increased in popularity globally and is a safe and popular entertainment option for the events industry.



What types of ‘Fire Props’ are there out there?

If you can dream it, then somebody has likely created a fire prop from it! From fire umbrellas to flaming wings – there is literally hundreds of ‘Fire Props’ out there. However below are some of the core props that we use most. There are also variations within each of the common types (such as poi with three heads called ‘Triple Poi’ or staff with extra heads called a ‘Dragon Staff’). We have used a number of variations in our performances as well as some other types of fire props.

  • Poi (wicks in a ball on a chain)
  • Staff (long stick with wicks on each end)
  • Wands (small wands with one small wick)
  • Fans (Chinese style fans made with metal with 3-5 wicks)
  • Swords (Swords with a full blade of kevlar).
  • Palm Candles (hand held ‘candles’ with a flaming tip)

In the shows and performances we do, we will use a variety of different props which may depend on the occasion, the performers skill set, safety requirements and the space available to perform.


What is the fuel used?


The fuel Highly Flammable use is called ‘Solvent 4400 Special’ and is a specialised lantern oil that is similar to kerosene, except it does not stink! In addition to being relatively odourless – the fuel has a low burning temperature and is not actually that ‘highly flammable’ (got the irony!?) so does not ignite easily. This makes it the perfect safe and clean fuel for use at events.


What about Safety?

Safe and professional performances is an important part of what Highly Flammable offers events. Although some of the ‘dangers’ are perception based (where they are actually less dangerous than they look), there are also a range of things that could go wrong, if the correct precaution are not taken. Highly Flammable has performed entertainment to over 600 events over 6+ years throughout New Zealand and overseas- we have a reputation for professional and safe delivery of our performances. At Highly Flammable the safety precautions include:

  1. Trained professional performers.
  2. Strict safety systems and procedures.
  3. Safety equipment including fire extinguishers, fire blankets and first aid kits.
  4. A ‘Safety Manager’ overseeing the safety elements of the performances.
  5. Public liability insurance.


What about Fire Eating and Fire Breathing?

Fire Breathing is a specialised type of performance which involves ‘spitting fuel from ones mouth’ onto a naked flame, which then ignites creating a fire ball. This is not something we do very often at Highly Flammable unless it is extremely safe, appropriate for the event and/or it is specifically requested as a specialised premium option. Yes it is cool, but it also carries another level of health risks plus complexities, so we prefer to avoid this generally.

Fire Eating is a specialised type of fire performance which involves ‘extinguishing a flame on a wand in ones mouth’. This is a really nice performance technique that is great for Fire Roving or Fire Entrance, as it can be viewed up  quite close. People love it as it looks really scary. There is no ‘trick’ such as fake flame or special gels for the performers mouth – however it is a very advanced technique that requires specialised training and practice which includes understanding some key laws of physics and performance techniques! The performer does not injury themselves doing this. Fire eating is something we do more commonly, however it is not something we do at every event.

# We sometimes get people contacting us for ‘Fire Breathers or eaters’ when actually they just want what we would call ‘Fire Dancers’ – now you know the difference yourself!


What is the difference between Fire Entrance, Roving & Fire Shows?

Fire Entrance Performers

Fire Entrance involves two performers at the entrance way to your event. They usually perform for 1-2hrs ongoing, using smaller more intimate props such as Fire Wands, Palm Candles and Fans. Fire Entrance works well for providing guests with a few moments of magic as they walk into the venue but is not good as a ‘lets all sit and watch with full attention for an hour’.


Fire Rovers

Fire Roving involves Fire Performers moving throughout an audience or outside windows where the audience are mingling. Once again this is more atmospheric and not recommended as a full show which can be watched with full attention for a long time period.


Fire Show/Production

Fire Shows or Fire Productions (essentially the same thing) are staged performances involving a set number of Fire Dancers (2-8) in a short (2-15 minutes) staged choreographed performance, usually to music. This is a great high impact performance option that can be announced or guests invited to watch. These shows usually involve a range of props including bigger performance props such as Fire Staff, Poi and Swords.

Harley Davison rally-35
Pyrotechnic Shows

We also have Pyrotechnics (Sparks) as an extra special addition to our Fire Shows – these involve having Pyro effects attached to the same props. These are very spectacular and for budgets of $3000 and upwards (normally $5,000-10,000 shows) and we do a smaller number of these each year as they involve more complexities and cost.


Some other quick tips please?

  1. We cannot normally perform fire indoors (including in marquees) without discussing prior to our arrival so we can plan for safety.
  2. Fire Safety distances vary for equipment and performance, but generally are 50cm for Roving/Entrance fire and 2-3 Metres for shows.
  3. Please advise your venue pre-event of the plans to use Fire Performance (indoors or outdoors), so they are aware in advance.
  4. It is also important to tell your event staff and particularly security if Fire Performance is involved.
  5. Be aware of smoke alarms at your venue where we are specifically performing, they may need to be turned off or isolated. Our fire is low smoke but can still set off particle sensor alarms (discuss with your venue or us if you are unsure). We are not liable for fees for fire alarms going off at your event.
  6. Music can be a nice addition to fire, but not a requirement. We do not provide music with our performers unless we specify (we do for staged shows) or you request (may be an extra fee). We generally do not provide a sound-system unless requested (additional fee for hire, setup and removal).

Some videos from your Fire Performances!?

We do not have videos from all of our offerings and we are quite flexible when it comes to what we can deliver – especially in terms of performance, costume, theme and music.


If you love what we do and want to discuss what we can do for your next event then please send us a quick email to info@highlyflammable.co.nz and we will make your next community, corporate, sporting or private event incredible!