Lara Hopwood

Department(s): Fire & Performance


Long before she ever knew fire dancing with poi existed, Lara danced with a variety of unlit equipment on her high school’s color guard team. It wasn’t until well after she had put her prop twirling days behind her, however, that she discovered fire dancing through a description in The Crucible’s course catalogue. Although she only intended to enroll in a welded sculpture class, Lara couldn’t resist the lure of spinning props lit on fire. She immediately immersed herself in the art of fire performance, learning fire dancing (poi), fire eating, and fire staff at The Crucible, and exploring the use of other fire props on her own.

She has since performed with fire in an independent production, at private parties, and at Crucible events. Most recently, she was a fire performer in the 2009 Burning Man Fire Conclave and was featured in Intrinsic Self, an award-winning documentary about fire performance art created for the Seven Day Film Festival.

Lara applies professional experience in corporate training to teaching at The Crucible, tailoring classes to suit the needs of each new group of students and seeking to make learning engaging and fun. She finds great satisfaction in helping students learn to express themselves through fire dancing and loves sharing in their excitement when they light their poi for the first time.

When Lara is not teaching at The Crucible, she can be found keeping people and processes on track at a San Francisco entertainment technology company, or educating the public about gardening and horticultural issues in her role as a California Master Gardener.

Check out the award winning documentary Intrinsic Self that includes Lara: Video