Good heavens, I’m a Fire-Eater. How did that happen? I have Dangerous Dan to thank for such an extraordinary experience. He is a big, kind-hearted man who has a crazy streak in him that makes him seem a little more alive than the rest of us. Dan is one of the performers connected to The Centre of Gravity, a circus training school here in Toronto, and his speciality is fire. Consuming it, juggling it, and whipping it about in dazzling displays that will make your pupils dilate.
I chose the circus school as the idea place to explore alternative ideas in fitness. They offer classes for the public in strength training, aerial acrobatics, flexibility, and kor yoga. If you’re tired of the usual cardio and Pilates routines, they will certainly provide you with a workout that is refreshingly different.
The app I tested is Movator, an unusual concept from the Fraunhofer Society (known for inventing the MP3). It’s like a pedometer, except that the aim is to use your phone’s sensors to measure all movements, recording how many calories you burn while running, swimming, and biking. It includes a calorie guide for a wide number of activities including gardening, driving, and even sex. Rope-climbing exercises and work-outs using aerial rings seemed like a fun way to put it through its paces.
Eating fire was simply about delivering an exciting finish for television. My friends want to know how it’s done. Is it a trick? They assume that there must be special chemicals or a kind of coating that you add to your mouth. No. I won’t reveal Dangerous Dan’s secrets, but I will say that all circus and magic stunts are based on the tireless, mind-numbing practice of techniques and a willingness to do what others won’t.
In Dangerous Dan’s mind it was clear that he could get me to do this. The only question he faced was if I could see it happening in my mind too. If I had lost my nerve we might have finished the story at the hospital. Please don’t try this yourself.
As you can see in the photos my tongue was on fire. There is no taste I’m sad to say. I was hoping for something. Instead I can tell you that my mouth immediately heated up and as I pulled my lit tongue back into my mouth and closed it, the flame moved to the back of my throat where it quickly dissipated, vanishing like magic.
That’s just a basic move. In Dangerous Dan’s clutches, a lick of flame can become hellfire untamed. To see him and his fellow performers in action check out the Centre of Gravity’s sideshow, Lunacy Cabaret.