News May 24, 2012 at 4:00 am

Code Changes Could Snuff Indoor Fire Dancing in Portland


Thank you for writing an article about this.. Many have no say or knowledge that this is happening, and are helpless to stop it. It really saddens me that so many have practiced, and worked so hard to be phenominal fire performers, to have to once again adjust to new fire codes. Shon has already done major construction to meet previous safety codes, and many rely on the art form as their "bread and butter". If it isn't broke, don't break it more.. :-( Performers have "fire safety" for a reason. I wish the best to all performers, and really hope that this issue can meet a compromise that won't destroy what has taken years to build.
Thank you for this post. I am not a fire dancer, but I have worked alongside many fire dancers for seven years at Devils Point & Dante's. I've never seen an incidence where safety came into question. These entertainers are professionals, and they take great pride in knowing how to perform safely. I hope this issue is resolved soon so that Portland can enjoy fire performances for years to come!
What was the motivation for changing the code? Had there been multiple accidents from fire performances in the past year? Or is this just the usual city bureaucracy?
I have been coming and watching, supporting and have become very good friends several of the fire dancers here in the Portland area. They are amazing to come watch and the people watching them love them. It is a shame that the fire codes are trying to take away the core of what Portland is known for. Portland has always been an open city to performers of all kinds and I think that is why so many people travel here to see. I was at Leona's last show at Dante's and there were several people there that my husband and I have spoke to there that travelled from all over the place to come here to see the show. This is these performers lively hood and for many of them how they make their income. I think that is things have been fine then why change it???? Please do not force these amazing performers to leave and go else where because their job has been torn away from them. I would miss all of my amazing friends that I have made and Portland would justy become boring if you take away the heart of what we are known for.
To answer your question Browse - the usual city bureaucracy. (Commisioner) Randy Leonard and his "hit squad" might even be behind this. He IS the fire comminioner.

I have friends who do fire performance and fire saftey. They are ALL very careful and pro about it! There are ways to weed out people who do stupid or dangerous thngs. Changing the fire code won't help.
Twenty-five feet is extreme. o.O
Well this is certainly Baz Lurhman's next film. Let's have the top fire dancer be named Passion and I'd like to see some sexual advances from the fire marshal, please.
"I can look the other way, Passion, if what I'm looking towards is your naked, fire-silhouetted bod."
Then they do that dance where they arch their backs a lot and whip their hair. With sparklers. And super fast.
Welcome to Portland where if it's enjoyable, we will shut it down.
Are people really rallying against this? Literally playing with fire in a crowded room with no sprinklers is a TERRIBLE idea. What is wrong with people???
Are people really rallying against this? Literally playing with fire in a crowded room with no sprinklers is a TERRIBLE idea. A problem hasn’t happened yet? Well, that’s good, but it’s still a fucking small-ass space with no water. What is wrong with people???
Oh, for pete's sake, this is obviously a fire hazard. Compromise, go right ahead, but don't be a bunch of idiots just to get what you want.
Thank you, @Graham. Even my fire dancing friends annoy the crap out of me.
"Art is anything you can get away with." -Andy Warhol

Just because you don't understand it, or it annoys you, or you think it's stupid doesn't mean it's not a relevant art. Certain people are drawn to fire. People make a living off of their fire performances. It is a Portland staple in clubs. Out of the hundreds of fire acts I have seen, I have never felt unsafe or that the situation was out of control. What, is the fire just going to leap out of someone's hands/mouth and land on the surface that is probably not wood and certainly won't just burst into flames causing a fire so fast that nobody can put it out? These are tiny, controlled flames. Even if it did land somewhere it wasn't supposed to, it would be extinguished before there was enough smoke to turn on a sprinkler system. THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE NEARBY, ALERT WITH WATER. Fans are turned off and staff and security are on their toes.

People are not just "playing with fire"....they have practiced for years and auditioned to perform on a stage. They are probably more comfortable around an open flame than a fire fighter, and they certainly know how to control it.
This law is going to mess with incomes. A solution must be reached soon.

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