Fire artists are skilled performers who use fire to create fascinating visual performances. They may use a variety of tools such as fire sticks, torches, or fire poi to manipulate flames and create patterns and movements. Some fire artists also incorporate other elements such as music, dance, or acrobatics into their performances to make them more exciting and creative. Fire artists often spend years perfecting their skills and developing their own unique style. They must be highly trained in safety measures and know how to properly handle and control fire to avoid accidents. In addition to their technical skills, fire artists must also be physically fit and able-bodied, as their shows can be physically demanding. The performances can take place in a variety of settings, including festivals, concerts, private parties, and corporate events. Many fire artists also perform at night, when the light of the flames is more visible and creates a more dramatic effect. One such group is “Fördefeuer”, a collective of professional fire artists based in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein. One of the artists is Claudius, who has been living here for over 6 years.
“The first stick my parents bought me to play with was a fire stick“
Claudius started juggling in a children’s circus in elementary school. He was so enthusiastic that he told his parents he needed his own equipment. At a young age, he improved his skills a lot and juggled all day. “The first stick my parents bought me to play with was a ‘fire stick’. They told him: “You can light it when you turn twelve years old.” And that he has realized. With an age of twelve and parental advise, he lit his fire stick for the first time, “it was really exciting and I had so much respect for the elements.” That’s how Claudius started to play with fire.
“Sometimes the local kindergarten requests you, in exchange for a coffee and a little money and sometimes you do big weddings on the beach and get paid pretty well”
Until he was 24, juggling was just a hobby for him, he went to performance festivals, juggled in his spare time and improved his skills with every chance he got. Then he met a man at a workshop who had been a professional fire artist for 6 years. That was a turning point in his career. They got along well. Afterward they decided with 3 people to form a professional fire artist group: “That’s how I got my first “real” fire show in front of an audience”. This is how “Fördefeuer” was created. “Fördefeuer” does a lot of fire shows, about 20 a year. It’s always different shows. “Sometimes the local kindergarten requests you, in exchange for a coffee and a little money and sometimes you do big weddings on the beach and get paid pretty well”. They also perform at birthdays, festivals, music videos and city events. “It never gets boring and there’s always something new”.
“It’s really interesting to live only from performance art, but it’s also very stressful”
With Covid, Claudius and the group faced a pretty tough time as well. “When Corona started, I decided I didn’t want to make a living only from fire juggling in the future,” he said. Before, he could live off the money he made from his fire projects like medieval fairs, school projects, and so on, but then there was no more money coming in. So he made the decision that it would be safer for him to do his fire passion on a side basis. He still thinks it was a good decision. “It’s really interesting to make a living just doing performance art, but it’s also very stressfull, and you can plan well for the next year.” Often people think the money you get for a 20-minute show is a high price to pay for an hour, but it’s about much more than just the show. Claudius explains: “It’s about preparation, endless training, insurance, website, the risk you take and so much more. So be understanding when artists tell you the price, it’s often justified.“
„We got to do signatures for about half an hour, about 80 pieces“
Even though it’s not Claudius main job anymore, he still loves working with Fördefeuer, doing shows and performing. Claudius also really enjoys doing projects with video producers. “Afterwards you can look at it and say “Woooow that’s so beautiful””. In the past, they’ve done some music videos, for example: “Cosuming Fire” by Sons and Preachers and “Bait” by THE PINPRICKS.
And his highlight so far was a graduation ceremony at an elementary school. There was a fire show there and all the kids were excited and asked for signatures. He really enjoyed playing for the children and making them happy.
“We got to do signatures for about half an hour, about 80 pieces”Claudius
In 2023, fördefeuer will again stage breathtaking shows in and around Kiel. Fire artists are a popular form of entertainment and captivate audiences of all ages with their performances. If you have the opportunity to see a fire artist group perform, it is sure to be an unforgettable and exciting experience. If you don’t want to miss anything, you can stay up to date on Fördefeuers Instagram account or check out their website.