She’s part of a team that heats up their shows with fire and lights
Laura Selenzi of Serpentine Studios tells us why she’s eager to entertain as part of fire and light dancers
Name / Company or Organization
Laura Selenzi – Serpentine Studios
What do you do and how long have you been doing this?
I am a Bellydance artist and instructor, which I have been doing for about 24 years now. I study additional art forms such as fire arts, stilting, and many other forms of dance. I am the owner of Serpentine Studios where I run an entertainment agency, providing creative opportunities for performing artists and excellent entertainment for events all over Atlantic Canada!
I’ve used candles in my Bellydance practice for years, using hand held candles, balancing a candle tray and using a Shamadan which is a traditional Egyptian candelabra headdress. I became interested in “bigger” fire arts back in the early 2000’s when I was attending NSCAD and performing in burlesque shows. Ivan and Loki of Ash Circle began training my dance partner and I before they moved away. I’ve always loved working with our many talented local Fire artists such as Kyle Scott, and was excited to have the opportunity to train and work with Kristin Langille Dahl and Vanessa Furlong in the last few years.
What inspired you to do this and what is your motivation for continuing this?
I have been fascinated with fire since I was a kid relaxing in front of a campfire. I loved watching Fire performers at the Busker festival and later on, admiring my performer friends. Fire is undeniable. It’s beautiful and terrifying and universally respected. As a Bellydance performer, I always feel like I have to earn the audiences respect. It is a difficult art form, but most people don’t understand how much work goes into it. When you come out dancing with fire, people are immediately impressed and excited. I love feeling powerful and badass and capturing the imagination of the crowd.
What was your favorite show?
I have loved working with Alderney Landing for their Fire and Water festival for the past few years. They are wonderful to work with and the crowd has been so appreciative. I also love that they bring in Indigenous artists and performers from different cultural backgrounds.
Any advice for people thinking about getting into this?
Don’t start on your own. Seek out experienced fire performers and get trained in fire safety. Take lessons and work with a mentor. If there is no one in your area, contact someone online and talk with them about how you can learn safely. You must ALWAYS have a fire safety person on hand in case something goes wrong.
As for performing, you need to have liability insurance and ideally insurance for personal injury as well. Talk to other local performers for advice on how to go about doing this!
Any other comments?
Safety is paramount with fire arts. You can seriously injure yourself or others even if you are highly trained. You need to respect fire, and sometimes the weather conditions can mean there is no way to perform safely, and you need to be ready for that possibility. I always come prepared with a backup act (usually using LED props) so the client/crowd is not disappointed in this case.
Website / contact