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FIRE CONCLAVE

Fire Is The Very Heart And Essence Of life. For It Is Phenomena Rather Than Substance, One That Is Revealed, Seen And Touched In Ways Of Risk And Ritual.

Burning Man's fire activity is ceremony that expands to encompass the spirit as well as the body and mind. The gathering of people, dancing and drumming around a fire, goes back to the beginning of Burning Man and beyond. It is the first basic form of dance that leads to community. By summoning the power of the flame to flow through us, it strengthens and transforms our spirit.

For general information about Fire Performance at Burning Man, see here.

Opening Fire Ceremony

Monday at the Start of the Event

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Procession of the Ceremonial Flame

Release the Man

Saturday at the End of the Event

Opening Fire Ceremony & The One Flame ~ Utilizing the sun and a spiral mirror Crimson Rose extracts a flame from the sun and a fire is lit in a special Cauldron, El Diabla located in Center Camp. For the flame to continue burning it must be stoked, disturbed and kept alive throughout the entire week. We encourage all those that encounter El Diabla help keep this flame alive.

Procession Of The Ceremonial Flame ~ On Saturday night the fire that we extract from the sun, drum and dance around, that has been burning all week long will be transferred to a special lantern, the Luminferous. The Procession of the Ceremonial Flame in great fanfare will process to the Great Circle where the largest convergence of fire performers, the Fire Conclave, in its full force will utilize that same fire for dances dedicated to the Man before he is brought to life in pyrotechnic delight.

WHAT IS THE FIRE CONCLAVE?

The Fire Conclave is a composition of select fire groups from around the world who create choreography dedicated to honoring the Man.

Along with the Fire Conclave there is also the Processional Consortium and Ambient Drummers.

The Processional Consortium is a union of Luminists, torchbearers, who serve to break space for the Luminferrous to pass, Lamplighters who shuttle the Luminferrous to the Man and a specially selected processional band who generates energy for the procession. The Processional Consortium work together to transfer the flame from the Cauldron to the Man.

The Ambient Drummers is a collection of unaffiliated drummers that help create atmosphere at the foot of the man on the night of the burn. Each drummer comes with a drum and need to create music. We collect drummers into groups, give them a chance to practice with each other and then spread them around the Great Circle, with the Fire Conclave, on the night of the burn to fill the air with music. To find out more information and how to join, see here.

FIRE CONCLAVE AT BURNING MAN
~ THEN & NOW

Crimson Rose, Fire Goddess, established the Fire Conclave in 1991 when she first danced her fire magick at the foot of the Man and set him ablaze. As the years progressed and the art form flourished, the few fire performers has turned into hundreds and by 2000, a loose system was established as an opportunity to dance at the foot of the Man. Initially, the pre-show fire dancing before the burning of The Man was a necessity, used to distract the masses of the city while the Pyrotechnic specialists handled last minute issues associated with the release of The Man.

What was once a specialty dance created by a few has spread like wild fire. Fire Dancing has grown and matured into a full-blown performance art form, where the art is as varied as the imagination of those who dance with the flame. In 2005 a clarification of standards for participation within the Fire Conclave was fine-tuned, Ambient Drummers became more organized and the Processional Consortium became formalized. To equalize the opportunity for new and established artists in the ever-evolving Fire Arts and in the face of limited space, time and numerous safety concerns in Black Rock City, an effort to cultivate a higher level of skill and performance artistry has become the mandate of the Fire Conclave.

JOINING THE FIRE CONCLAVE

Each year a growing number of inquiries and requests from performers to participate in the tribute to the Man arise. To better manage the energy within the Great Circle it is necessary to encourage the organization of fire groups rather than solos, duet, trios or quartets. This places the responsibility squarely in the lap of each different fire group. For that reason, to be accepted into the Fire Conclave, each fire performer must be part of a fire group. And the "fire dance" that the group creates must incorporate choreography.

FIRE CONCLAVE COUNCIL

The Mission of the Fire Conclave Council is to organize and manage the yearly gathering of the Fire Conclave groups in Black Rock City.

The most challenging responsibilities with organizing and managing the Fire Conclave is to ensure that hundreds of fire performers and safety personnel, participating the night of the burn are not only compelling to watch, but effectively managed and safe within the perimeter that surrounds the Man called the Great Circle. In an effort to evolve the management of the Fire Conclave a Council was created at the end of 2010.

GOALS OF THE FIRE CONCLAVE COUNCIL

  • Clearly communicate guidelines for participation in the Fire Conclave and maintain the integrity of the selection process through well-considered guidance.
  • Evaluate the intention of each fire group as related through their communications, commitment and video submission for acceptance into the present year's Fire Conclave.
  • Contribute to the Fire Conclave Announce List.

FIRE CONCLAVE COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS

  • Knowledge and experience of fire art and all aspects of safety.
  • Past experience managing a fire group.
  • No longer connected to any one group to create an air of impartiality.

CRITERIA ~ BECOMING A GROUP WITH THE FIRE CONCLAVE

Assemble a group of fire performers and safety personnel who create a choreographed fire dance dedicated to responsible safety practices while outstandingly creative and who as a group understand that acceptance into the Fire Conclave and dancing at the foot of the Man is an honor to be selected and a gift to be given by the Fire Conclave Council.

There are two basic aspects, COMPOSITION and CHOREOGRAPHY that are needed to form any fire group and be selected for the Fire Conclave.

COMPOSITION OF A FIRE GROUP

The basic composition of a fire group within the Fire Conclave is comprised of; Shin, Fire Performers, Safety Personal and Helmsmen.

To equalize the playing field with all groups, there is a minimum and a maximum number of people that can be in each fire group. That means a minimum combination of 1 helmsmen, 15 fire performers, 3-fire watch (that is 1 fire watch for every 5-fire performers). Anything after that would be optional whether you have drummers/musicians, photographers and videographers.

  • Maximum - 50 people per fire group
  • Minimum - 19 people per fire group - this combination would be (15 fire performers, 1 helmsmen, 3 fire watch).
In each fire group there are positions that are mandatory and others that are optional.

Mandatory

  • SHIN ~ LEADER OF THE GROUP
  • FIRE PERFORMERS
  • FIRE SAFETY PERSONEL ~ FIRE WATCH
  • HELMSMEN ~ ACTING STAGE MANAGER

Optional

  • SHIN ASSIST ~ ASSISTANT LEADER OF THE GROUP
  • DRUMMERS/MUSUICIANS
  • PHOTOGRAPHER / VIDEOGRAPHERS
SHIN ~ LEADER OF A FIRE GROUP - For every group, there is one person that is the leader and contact with that group, called a SHIN (in Hebrew means Mother Fire). They manage and organize a fire group, set rehearsals, make note of who shows up and who is accountable. The Shin runs their group the way it works for them within their region of the country. Each group displays its own energy, style and level of commitment. Creating its unique, unwritten code of ethics and varied style of expression of fire. The Shin must understand and recognize that acceptance into the Fire Conclave and dancing at the foot of the Man is an honor to receive and a gift to be given. To hold this position, a person must demonstrate the following Aptitude & Competence:
  • COMMUNICATION - Use email effectively. Submissions of monthly Progress Reports. Clarity and ease of communication between Fire Conclave Council and Shin. Mechanism in place to disseminate information from Fire Conclave Council to members of the group pre-playa and on-playa, such as where to connect with members of your group.
  • SAFETY - Conscious of Safety and understands the standard protocols at all times.
  • MANAGE & ORGANIZE - Have the ability to rally a group of free-spirited individuals in a choreographed fire dance. Be patient and lead with a firm but flexible hand. Willing to vouch and be responsible for the actions of all members of the group.
  • HONOR PROCEDURES - Must be present on the playa until after burn night. Adhere to all guidelines, standards and deadlines related to paperwork, communications, etc. Submit the group roster, choreograph, generate media and other necessary information to gain membership with the Fire Conclave. Understand and communicate the importance of the necessary rules each Fire Conclave member must adhere to. Honor sobriety while performing these duties.

FIRE PERFORMERS - There must be a minimum of 15 fire performers within each group. A fire performer is anyone who dances, moves etc. with a fire tool and creates to the best of their ability. Fire Performers are part of a group that works directly with their Shin and are required to honor sobriety while playing with fire.

FIRE WATCH / SAFETY PERSONNEL ~ This position goes by many names, but simply they watch the fire, making sure that the fire stays on a tool, or where it should be. If performers accidentally lights them selves on fire, Fire Watch are at the ready to put it out quickly with a wet towel or fire retardant material. Fire Watch /Safety Personnel are clear, capable, competent and, are required to honor sobriety while they are performing their duties. Fire Watch / Safety Personnel can sometime also be a performer, BUT while they take on the safety responsibilities they can NOT be a Helmsmen, drummer, photographer or videographer. Each group will have a ratio of one Fire Watch / Safety Personnel to every 5 fire performers.

HELMSMEN ~ Radio communications in the Great Circle before, during and after the fire performance is crucial. Helmsmen are equivalent to a stage manager and receive cues when to start and stop the fire performance. Helmsmen must have a critical eye to observe everything that happens with, around and outside of the performers area and are required to honor sobriety while performing their duties at the Burn. Helmsmen perform ONLY this one task and can NOT perform with fire, play music or act as Fire Watch. Helmsmen MUST attend radio training protocol, and all requisite radio check out paperwork will be competed at that time. This will also require that the radio & equipment will be returned after the Man falls. Each fire group will have one Helmsman.

OPTIONAL

  • SHIN ASSIST - The Shin Assist is there to assist the Shin with activities, support and carry part of the load. However the Shin is still required to fulfill all duties. It’s important that the Shin, if choosing to employ a Shin Assist introduces their Assist to the Fire Conclave Council.
  • MUSICIANS/DRUMMERS OR MUSIC - Any kind of music that will help you be creative and will complement the dance. No amplified music that requires power will be allowed within the Great Circle. If your group is in need of drummers, we do create a group called Ambient Drummers and can help your group with ambient drum accompaniment. This is a loose group of drummers that are arranged around the Great Circle in places where there are no drummers.
  • PHOTOGRAPHERS / VIDEOGRAPHERS - There are particular guidelines and registration deadlines that are related to these positions, not just with the Fire Conclave but with Burning Man, more information can be found at this link: http://www.burningman.com/press/. There will be a limit of ONE photographer AND/OR ONE videographer allowed for a total of two media people.

CHOREOGRAPHY

Choreography is the art of designing sequences of movement in which motion, form or both are specific. The art of composing dances, the movement and patterns of a dance composition means there is thought to the dance. Choreography does not necessarily mean a synchronized dance, but it could. The direction for the Fire Conclave is choreographed dances, the opposite to simple fire jam/chaos. Any person or group can come together and "Fire Jam". There is nothing wrong with free form fire jams and each group will get a chance at a bit of chaos, generally after the designated time for the choreographed dance and before the Man burns. But to step within the boundary of the Great Circle, there needs to be more than chaos. A diverse range of styles and techniques, choreograph with intention makes the best contribution to the Fire Conclave.

“Fire Dance” does NOT mean only one kind of movement/dance or only a small number of tools. This genre of dance is as diverse and wide ranging as the imagination of the dancer that utilizes fire as their medium. It is human nature to evolve and the drive to move fire dance to the next evolutionary leap is no exception. Because of the diverse levels of the membership of the Fire Conclave, some fire groups are already experienced in creating choreographed dances. While others are not use to thinking in this direction, it becomes a stretch (in a good way) of the creative mind. Fire performers of today and tomorrow are meeting the challenge and embracing it whole-heartedly. The drive to excel fire dance is a continued push for evolution in this modern form of performance art.

DEADLINES FOR EACH YEAR

The deadline for communicating intention to participate with the current years Fire Conclave is MARCH 1. If you are a leader of a fire group and willing to following the criteria and demonstrate aptitude & competence then you must be subscribed the Fire Conclave Announce list. If you are reading this after March 1st, you will have to wait until the next year to apply but please do subscribe to the Fire Conclave Announce list so you are receiving relevant information in a timely fashion.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE FIRE CONCLAVE ANNOUNCE LIST

The Fire Conclave Announce list, not a discussion list, is the one place to hear about all the activities related to the Fire Conclave. All fire performers, whether with a group or not are encouraged to subscribe to the Fire Conclave announce list. Email fireconclave(at)burningman(dot)com, and provide answers to the following questions:

Tell the Fire Conclave Council that you are responding to these questions from the web site and tell us something about yourself, what attracted you to fire, how long have you been playing with fire, what kind of tool(s) do you utilize, where you live, how many years attending Burning Man, if you play with a fire group and anything else you want to express about yourself.

FIRE CONCLAVE MEMBERSHIP

As of this update the Fire Conclave has grown to 1,500 members that come from all walks of life. Whether from a small town or big city, the passion, love and respect of the flame is alive in their heart. For a full list of each year's membership, please read the Fire Conclave Afterburn Report.

Fire Conclave Membership has come from many diverse regions: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington DC, Washington State, Wisconsin.

International Fire Conclave Membership

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Cambodia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Serbia, Ukraine, United Kingdom.