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Davis, California

Monday, April 22, 2024

Fire University arrives at E Street Plaza

The group hosts weekly sessions for fire artists to practice and express their craft

 

By MATTHEW MCELDOWNEY — city@theaggie.org

 

On Feb. 22 at E Street Plaza, members of Fire University gathered to perform fire and spin dance performances.

Fire University, founded in 2006, is a collective of impassioned practitioners who gather weekly on Thursdays. By refining their skills, they provide a mesmerizing experience for the city of Davis. 

Complete with bass music and fire performances, the group welcomes fire artists of all levels of experience, whether they have made their professional debuts or only recently started dabbling in the craft. Fire University encourages public participation and aims to provide a safe learning environment for all.

A performer at the show, who asked to stay anonymous, has been with the group for over a decade. When detailing the storied history of the group’s first public performance in Davis, they also shared that the group “worked closely with the Davis Police and Fire Department.” 

The performer explained how they learned ways to safely practice their art in Davis. With the prioritization of fire safety, the group at Fire University has reported no incident throughout their 18 years of operation. 

“It’s just art,” they said. “We’re out here to just do it. I’ve performed in big venues, large crowds, all that, but for me, I wanted to be able to learn [and] make mistakes. I can let loose that way.”

As an artist, the performer said they took inspiration from various martial arts movies they watched when they were younger. These influences were put on full display for the crowd as this performance blended the innate frenetic energy of the crackling flames with a kasarifundō chain ball that whipped through the air. 

Spectators watched as these performers put their passion and creativity on full display. Mileyna Soo, a third-year student at UC Davis, had nothing but praise for their performances.

“I was just so in awe; it was really mesmerizing,” Soo said. 

Specifically, Soo mentioned a dancer whose hula hoop erupted into fire as it swirled around them and a performer who shot fire into the air from their prop. She is excited to watch more performances at the Plaza, especially the aforementioned artist. 

Shasun Sular, a graduate law student, saw the Fire University’s performances for the first time on Feb. 22 and was captivated by their craft. 

“Everyone is just so talented,” Sular said. 

During the show, Sular explained the cultural connection he felt while watching. He talked about the significance of fire to his Indian culture and found a sense of familiarity with the group and the street performers. 

For the most up-to-date information on Fire University’s future events, find them on their Facebook page. As of March. 7, they will continue to host public performances at E Street Plaza every Thursday from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.

 

Written by: Matthew McEldowney — city@theaggie.org

 

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