Community building runs in the family

I’m thrilled to see my niece, Ayala Kalisher, a fire dancer, building community. Plus I’m just a damn proud Auntie. You go, Girl!
Playing With Fire – City on a Hill Press

“I saw it at a festival, and everyone out there just looked so cool, and I wanted to be able to do that,” Kalisher said. “They all looked like they should’ve been superheroes out of a comic book manipulating that fire.”

Along with the fact that fire performance is much appreciated by both sexes, Kalisher’s desire to spin fire “like a rock star” is a common motivation for fire dancing.

With a number of fire troupes based out of Santa Cruz, the area claims a mixture of professionals and hobbyists who freely collaborate and share ideas to progress their work.

One recently formed fire-dancing group, Fire University Santa Cruz, was created by Kalisher to try and get local fire spinners of all skill levels to gather weekly.

“I was inspired by the Fire University in Davis to try and build a fire community here,” she said. “When I moved back to Santa Cruz recently, a lot of local performers that spin fire in Santa Cruz told me that the public gatherings had disappeared and no one had any motivation to recreate them, so I brought Fire University here.”

If you read the article, you will see that Ayala is also her community’s technology steward, helping coordinate joint orders of material and making their own fire dancing tools. See, it isn’t just about online, eh? There is technology stewardship of many kinds in diverse communities of practice!

Photograph By Phil Carter