Namibia’s Evolve Fire lights up India

Namibia’s Evolve Fire and Entertainment made history as the first African fire group to mesmerise audiences in India, says owner Zelda Lourens.

“We were invited to perform at the India Institute of Technology spring festival, a vibrant campus celebration featuring music, poetry, dance and international performers.

“We were actually invited last year but because of funds we could not go,” she says, however, with support of about N$50 000 from the National Arts Council of Namibia, they secured a grant which covered the expenses for their India tour.

The India Institute of Technology also assisted the group in terms of covering expenses in India, she says.

This was the group’s first international show, says Lourens.

“We performed and they loved us, I am still getting positive feedback from the organisers. It was really a highlight and a great start to 2024.”

Dancer Charly-Ann Taylor says it was a phenomenal opportunity and the crowd was completely mesmerised by their performance.

“I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity.”

Beyond the captivating fire spinning displays, Evolve Fire and Entertainment, based at Swakopmund, has been offering fire performances for 20 years, since Lourens travelled to Namibia from Australia.

Lourens offers fire spinning workshops, emphasising safety and using daytime props for beginners before progressing to fire.

“Fire is a very powerful central element in many religions and beliefs and has been used as a gathering point for man throughout history. We have always been mesmerised by its power and fluidity. To me, performing with fire is getting back to the basic elements of life and finding freedom and expression through being in the flow.”

Lourens recalls when one of the dancers almost caught fire on the stage while performing few years back.

“We were performing and the organisers decorated the place with flowers made from dry grass, one of the flowers caught fire and a massive burning bush erupted. Luckily, no one was hurt. But things can go bad really quickly.”

Despite the dangers, Lourens remains passionate about fire dancing.

“I love dance in general and being able to perform with the element is amazing. And yes, we do get the occasional burn, but luckily nothing serious.”

The group have introduced the ‘Carnival of Flames, A Fire and Dance Visual Extravaganza’, which is a concert style event showcasing local Namibian talent. In 2022, they hosted their sixth ‘Carnival of Flames’ themed ‘Steampunk Saloon’.

The next ‘Carnival of Flames’ will be held on 30 December at the Swakopmund Adventure Park and Paintball Centre. –

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