Fire & Performance Classes

Fire has always been a powerful, mythic element for humans. It has played a significant role in our history and molded our very way of life. Fire performers have a deep respect for the flame and know that by no means do they ever have total control over it. At The Crucible, you can learn to safely manipulate fire’s captivating power, and learn to make and use various tools like poi, fire staffs, hula-hoops and the fire rope dart.

Upcoming Bay Area Fire & Performance Courses

Browse below for all upcoming Fire & Performance classes. Please note that due to safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, all upcoming Crucible classes are in-person with strict health and safety policies in place for students, faculty, and staff. You must review all Crucible policies before registering.

Meet The Fire & Performance Department Head: Shaina Johnson

Shaina’s performance career started with ballet at age four, and after exploring many forms of dance, she discovered a passion for fire performance in 2001. Shaina first performed at The Crucible at the celebration for our new Oakland location in 2003. As an instructor, Shaina strives to create a supportive environment for participants to explore new skills by imbuing her classes with warmth, humor, and engaging, hands-on activities. Her classes emphasize safety, learning at one’s own pace, interactivity, and community creation.

Fire & Performance Adult Classes

The Crucible offers a wide variety of adult classes teaching different fire performance techniques. Whether you want to learn the fundamentals of eating fire or how to dance with poi, The Crucible has you covered. See the complete list of fire performance classes offered below.

Fire Eating I

Fire Eating I

Amaze an audience with your new skills as a fire eater! You will learn the science and safety behind basic tricks so you can fearlessly perform with open flame. You will learn tracing (how to run fire along the surface of your skin), transfers (moving flame from one source or position to another), various extinguishes, and tips for putting on a great show. You also will make your own set of torches to take home.

fire eating ii

Fire Eating II

Expand your performance repertoire by learning intermediate fire eating tricks. Construct a new pair of torches and explore vapor tricks and transfers, jellyfish variations, human candles, and more! You will also learn basic choreography, transitions, and stage blocking to best showcase your new talents.


Fire Effects I

Flame Effects I

Learn to design and build safe, effective, beautiful flame effect sculptures with propane. You will learn many different ways of manipulating fire for use in sculpture, including accumulator poofer effects, propane and liquid fuel effects, igniters, and electronic controls.


fire effects ii

Flame Effects II

In this intermediate course, make safe, effective, and beautiful propane and liquid fuel flame effects. You’ll design and build flame effects sculptures in class working with an instructor and a variety of materials. Build upon your fire effects skills to create unique, fiery projects. Students who build flame effect devices to take home may have additional expenses for materials.


fire hula hoop

Fire Hula Hoop I

Hoopnotize your friends with your amazing skills! This energetic course is an introduction to the basics of hooping including using different planes of the body, hoop tricks, and hoop expression through flow and imagination. At the culmination, you will hoop with fire!

Fire Performance

Fire Performance

Learn the art of fire dancing using poi, staff, and hoop to increase strength and skill in choreography, movement, and tricks with music. Build up to spinning with fire through this course.


Fire Poi: Intermediate Tricks

Fire Poi: Intermediate Tricks

Learn to spin poi with greater control and style as you explore the intermediate concepts of plane theory, transitioning, in-spin, anti-spin, and flow. You will practice advanced poi skills, including isolations, stalls, throws/tosses, wraps, flowers, crossers, meltdowns, behind-the-back moves, 5-beat weaves and corkscrews, and more! On the final night you will work with open flame!

PREREQUISITE: Fire Poi: Introduction previously called Art of Fire Dancing I (Poi) or permission by instructor. It is recommended (but not required) to take Fire Safety before this class.

Fire Poi: Introduction

Fire Poi: Introduction

Learn the ancient art of Maori fire dancing. Used by these warriors to increase strength and skill, poi (which means ball) is a form of juggling that uses balls on ropes swung in circular patterns. While learning to spin poi without fire, you will also gain knowledge about the history of the art form and its origins. On the last day of class, students will spin with fire! It is recommended (but not required) to take Fire Safety before this class.

Fire Poi: Turns, Transitions, and Flow

Fire Poi: Turns, Transitions, and Flow

In this fun, supportive class, learn to spin your poi with greater control and style as you explore intermediate tricks for practice with and without fire. Class includes a warm-up/cool-down, introduction to new skills, group activities, and review time for exploration, questions, and troubleshooting. Skills covered include Isolations, Stalls, Throws/Tosses, Wraps, Crossers, Meltdowns, Behind-the-Back Moves, 5-Beat Weaves and Corkscrews, Flowers, Intro to Partnering, and more! We will focus more deeply on concepts such as Plane Theory, Transitions, In-Spin, Anti-Spin, and Flow (moving freely and expressively through the performance space). The last night you will work with open flame! A thorough review of fuel, equipment, and fire safety will be provided.

PREREQUISITE: Art of Fire Dancing I (Poi) or permission by instructor.

Fire Safety

Fire Safety

Learn to understand what exactly fire is, techniques to prevent uncontained fires, and how to suppress a variety of fire effects. Walk away with a scientific understanding of the sources of fire and its reactions, as well as hands-on experience putting out fire effects under the expert guidance of Christopher T. Palmer. This is the first class in the six part Fire Series.

fire staff i

Fire Staff I

Learn to spin fire staff! Sometimes styled like a weapon; sometimes like a dance partner, staff is a fire performance tool that lends itself to unique movement possibilities. In this class, you will construct a practice staff for use while learning basic tricks, such as rotors, windmills, figure 8s, helicopters, palm spins, wraps, weaves, and behind-the-back moves. On the last night, you will set your staff aflame!

fire studio

Fire Studio

By invitation-only, this select group of individuals—having completed the Fire Series training levels—may be asked to exhibit original fire performances and/or fire effect pieces during The Crucible’s events. Mentorship and coaching will be made available in preparation for and adjudication of pieces prior to public showcase.


Fire & Performance Youth Classes

We do not currently offer youth classes in our Fire & Performance Department. You can see all The Crucible’s offerings for youth here.

Being Prepared For Your Fire & Performance Class

Fire & Performance classes are held on the second floor of our building, and outside in the gated parking lot. Please contact us if you have any questions about accessibility and we will be happy to accommodate.

Students must arrive for class in all-natural fiber clothing, long pants, and closed-toe, closed-heel shoes with socks that protect up to the ankle. Long hair must be tied back. Nylon, polyester, spandex, or other synthetics are not allowed around machines, equipment, or processes that can produce hot fragments, sparks, or flames.

The Crucible requests students always arrive in studio safe clothing when working. Layers are encouraged as the studio can be very cold or very hot.

Ready to get hands-on in Fire & Performance?

The Crucible has Fire & Performance classes starting each month