Tandem Flame Is On Fire!

Fanning the Flame for Fire and Flow Arts in South Africa

With a shared passion for fire arts, Morgan and Herman founded Tandem Flame in 2016. Their approximately 10 years’ experience in fire performance and their thorough understanding of this powerful element allows them to skillfully manipulate it with elegant accuracy.

The duo has dedicated many years to the safe practice of fire dancing and continue to experiment with other disciplines and learn new skills, whilst honing their current skills to ensure that every performance is “on fire”, leaving audiences spellbound.

Their passion for fire dancing, and years of practice and getting to know each other as performers has respectfully earned them their title of professional entertainers and fire art specialists. We managed to track down Morgan to ask her a few questions.

Gigster Online (GO): Fire dancing seems to be quite popular in South Africa and around the world, at present. What sets Tandem Flame apart from other fire dancers?
Morgan Pritchard (MP): "Tandem Flame’s performers are all multi-talented which guarantees that each fire show is filled with a diverse and exciting range of fire props to truly wow an audience! Herman and I specialise in twelve different fire disciplines which makes our performance a truly unforgettable experience and keeps audiences in excited anticipation to see what’s next."

GO: Can you share something with us about yourself that most of your fans/followers don’t already know?
MP: "Well, although we play with fire, we promise we don’t wet our beds (that often). Other than that, we are in a three-paw band with our dog, Cody (who insists on being involved in everything and also guest stars in many of our videos). I play the Ukulele, Herman the Shakuhachi flute and then Cody on the vocals."

GO: What drew you to fire dancing and how did you get started?
MP: "We were both instantly drawn to the art and from there, our inner pyromaniacs just took over! We started with fire poi as most do, and just kept learning new disciplines and practising, and practising, and practising. I guess we are just drawn to the paradox of such a fierce and powerful element, manipulated and tamed into simple elegance and grace."

GO: The Tandem Flame performers are skilled in a variety of different fire disciplines. What is your favourite fire prop and why?
MP: "Now that’s a tough one. Each fire discipline speaks to a different part of our personalities which initially drew us to that specific prop. For example, the fire whip brings out my inner bad ass cow girl whereas the fire fans speak to my gentler side. I also love being inside my fire hula hoop; it’s like my own little world surrounded by beautiful flames. I would have to then say the fire hula hoop. Herman’s favourite is his fire juggling clubs because it makes him feel better for not being able to run away and join the circus (laughs).

GO: Fire dancing certainly looks dangerous, is this in fact true and what precautions do you take when performing?
MP: "Yes, fire itself is a very dangerous element and must be handled with respect. Combining fire with movement, dance and fancy tricks – well that old saying holds: “if you play with fire, you’re going to get burnt”. And yes, we have been burnt! Many an eyelash, eyebrow, beard, arm hair, and a few pants have been sacrificed in the name of fire dancing. As such, we follow strict fire safety protocols and procedures during practices as well as performances. We also always have fire extinguishers and burn blankets with us. All fire equipment is kept safely away from audiences, as well as any flammable objects or décor. To date, we have never had any fire related accidents during a performance."

GO: It looks like you’re kept quite busy with performances throughout the year, what has been your most memorable performance to date?
MP: "For us, Mozamboogy music festival in Mozambique is always a pleasure to perform at. Our last performance took place on Ponta Malongane beach by the light of the full moon, underneath a blanket of breath-taking stars. The audience gathered around us on blankets and beach towels and we put on a show that we believe was really special. We are very excited and honoured to be invited to perform at the festival again this year for the fourth time.

GO: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to learn the art of fire dancing and other flow art forms?
MP: "We have recently started apprenticeships which allow those interested in fire dancing and flow art to come and play with us, basically. So, I would say to give us a call and join the flow art community in your area. We also host play days where we share new tricks, insights, and just enjoy the company of like-minded adults who refuse to stop playing. Flow art is a lifestyle and will truly change your life for the better. Hula hoop instead of watching TV, juggle instead of gaming, and ride a unicycle instead of gym! Well, at least that’s our philosophy. Our advice to a future flow artist - accept that your neighbours may consider you as… well, a little ‘different’ and you may catch them peeking through fences to see what on earth you are up to. Also, you will be spoken about to their friends during lunch, who may (hopefully) book you (laughs)."

GO: If it wasn’t for fire dancing, what other passions would you be pursuing?
MP: "Definitely our three-paw band! But if that doesn’t work out, Herman is an incredibly talented and qualified videographer and editor, which is a passion he still pursues on the side. I am a qualified teacher so I would probably still be teaching, which is also a passion I am still able to pursue through teaching flow art to our apprentices and workshop attendees."

GO: When did you join Gigster?
MP: "We joined Gigster at the beginning of 2017."

GO: What is it about Gigster’s online booking platform that appeals to you?
MP: "The simplicity of the inquiry form, as well as the quote creation page is super user friendly and efficient. I never feel as though I don’t have enough information to quote a client or that there is no category for me to select during quotations or terms and conditions of hire. Our line of work is very specific but Gigster has managed to provide a well-oiled platform for us to promote our fire dancing."

GO: Where to from here?
MP: "We have been spending a lot of our time actually making fire and flow art equipment for purchase to the public. We often get asked where we get our toys from and so we decided to make them ourselves. There are very few places in South Africa where one can buy flow and fire toys from and most of the time one has to import these toys, costing you a fortune. We have launched our online store where people can buy locally made, proudly South African and proudly Tandem Flame fire and flow art equipment. We hope that by providing accessible flow art toys locally, more people will be inspired to pick up that hula hoop, unleash their inner pyromaniac and learn how to play again! "

With their incredible performances all over the country, including Cape Town, Sun City, Ballito and Durban, and even crossing the borders of Mozambique, Lesotho and Zambia, we’re sure that Tandem Flame will keep the passion for fire dancing burning wherever they light up the skies.


Written by Marguerite de Allende @ Gigster Marketing. 17.07.2017



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