The number of outdoor party events that go down in our city is evidence that flow art is alive and thriving in Cape Town. It’s not difficult to join a fire spinning jam, a hula hooping class, or try your hand at slacklining in a park. Attend almost any sort of outdoor festival and no doubt a flow artist will catch your eye with their prowess.

Flow art is a term used to describe a number of non-competitive, movement-based practices that combine the elements of dance and prop manipulation. Flow arts utilise a variety of modalities, or props, which are collectively known as flow toys. These include poi, staff, hula hoops, levitation wands, flower sticks, fans, diabolo and more. Flow arts draw inspiration from many ancient and modern disciplines and cultures. These include martial arts, Tai Chi, circus disciplines, traditional Maori poi spinning, contemporary modern dance, and so forth.

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The appeal of practising flow arts lies in the feel-good factor that the physical acts and challenging movements bring about. Also, the nature of the activities tends to engage one in such a way that it can have a meditative effect. It’s been said that some mental, physical and spiritual benefits can be achieved through flow.

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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a Hungarian professor of Psychology who has focused his work on happiness and creativity. He developed the psychological concept of flow: a highly focused mental state. He theorised that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow — the moment when a person is fully absorbed in the activity that nothing else appears to matter.

Watch a video and find out how Flow might be the secret to happiness.

The following companies are passionate about flow arts and wish to share the benefits thereof: Flow DNA and Connect and Flow.

Psychedelic Theatre presents interactive performances for events. Circles of Life is a non-profit company that takes flow arts to under-resourced communities across South Africa. The folk at HoopFlowLove are the hoop dancing experts. FireTribe brings together the fire spinning devotees.

If you want to explore flow for yourself, you are in the right city! You have only to search some hashtags on Instagram to be inspired to join the movement. #slacklining, #firespinning, and #hooping are just a few examples to get you started.

Photography courtesy Flow DNA Facebook and Connect and Flow Facebook

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