Dancing with fire is like dancing with a partner; there must be a balanced relationship between the dancer and the element. Before I discovered the art, my relationship with fire was far from what it is now. One year I had lost all my belongings in an apartment fire caused by a gas leak. The next year fire threatened my life again when a neighbor in my duplex had a cooking accident. These experiences caused me to feel intimidated and resentful towards the element. It was when I first discovered the art of fire dancing that my thoughts changed. Watching dancers move the element to create patterns of light and shadows made me realize how beautiful fire could be. I thought that attempting this myself would help me overcome by negative feelings. This took time as well. At first, I tried dominating the flames as if making the dance into a form of revenge for my earlier experiences with fire. This resulted in a few scars. Finally I learned to respect the element and develop a relationship with fire that allows me to use it's beautiful glow to express myself through movement. The fire that is my dance partner is not a fire of destruction, but a shining light that reflects the fire burning within.
I have always wanted to do something related to Joan of Arc here in New Orleans. When I realized her birthday was on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th (when we celebrate Twelfth Night), it seemed a perfect way to honor her and to kick off Mardi Gras!
Joan of Arc represents so much to so many people and she deserves more attention in this town that is a sister city to Orleans, France!
I hope the procession grows into a larger event eventually. For now, I'm just pleased to be finding other people in town who want to celebrate her while celebrating Twelfth Night!