Michael Haynes, Laura Blakeman, Julia Hartsell & Scott Crews
Co-founders of Synergy FlowArts
The circle, the whole, the unified flow, is greater than its parts. For us, this story is about more than crafting camaraderie, it’s about the future of cutting-edge, sustainable and community-oriented commerce. It's about dancing in countless ways towards conscious embodiment.
We are in fluid partnership on this planet - with each other, with the natural world and with our props in dance. These relationship opportunities, when approached with sensitivity of spirit, move us forward along the evolutionary trajectory faster than each individual could do on our own.
Together we created
In 2010, the world's most notorious firehoop companies, Cosmic Fire and HOOPDRUM, took a leap of faith and merged to become Synergy FlowArts. Joined out of a recognition and a respect for shared vision, these four became one.
Synergy's lineage of flowart starts in 2001, when Julia Hartsell found the hoop. In 2003, she crafted her first firehoop and in 2005 met Scott Crews, who took the design to the next level. Laura Blakeman aka Shakti Sunfire and Rainbow Michael of Cosmic Fire began their firehoop journey in 2007 bringing a brilliant, lightweight firehoop to the first Hoop Convergence, and event hosted by Julia and Scott of HOOPDRUM.
Since then, we have dedicated ourselves to creating what are now the most trusted firehoops in the world. Two separate entities, both pushing the edge, offered a reflection of ‘what’s next’ to each other in the industry through many trials and tribulations…out of which we grow.
This journey has taken us through tubing experiments, various wick sizes, sanded texture for added grip & decreased weight, and a variety of hardware for sleeker, more durable wick/spine attachments. In 2009 Hoopdrum crafted the first polypro firehoop, reaching unprecedented levels of performance design. That same year Cosmic Fire innovated again with the first use of the sleeker, stiffer cable spine material…and the innovations haven't stopped since.
As our passions evolve over the years, so will our designs. Between us, we spin staves & poi, juggle, slackline, make music, practice yoga, partner acro & aerial acrobatics. We are spinners, flow artists and craftsmen alike.
This is a question we ask ourselves often. How can we take our equipment to the next level? How can our top-selling products get even better? We ask ourselves these questions because we use these tools ourselves. We innovate because we can FEEL how it changes our flow. At Synergy we are a collective of artisans who say YES to hand-made, consciously sourced products. We're here to help you find your edge in flow performance.
A big part of our design innovation is *you*! We take customer feedback, both the good and the critical, to the drawing board. Please don’t hesitate to contact us, we love to hear from you!
Here are a few of our intentions:
- To trust and respect each other in partnership
- To be in service and participation with the larger community
- To continue to be on the edge of innovation and design engineering
- To offer ‘golden-rule’ customer service
- To uphold safety in every design
- To live in a world of abundance
- To delight in the spiraling, whirling, transformational power of sacred flow
- To honor Mother Nature’s rhythms as our own, to respect the planet by incorporating green practices into our business model.
Welcome to our corner of creation.
Hoop dance blossomed into a practice that cultivated creative expression, physical, mental and emotional well-being, heart opening and community. Julia believes hooping is a revolutionary mysticism with its potential for opening humans to states of bliss, healing and transformation through rhythmic movement with the circle.
Since 2001, Julia has been refining her hoop dance style, craft and teaching techniques for both children and adults and now offers a Youth Hoop Teacher Training to share her experience and passion for inspiring youth through creative movement. After graduating college with a degree in Religious Studies with a concentration in Fine Arts, Julia Hartsell (aka Jewels) was eager to explore independently and began her studies of yoga, meditation and conscious embodiment. In 2001, Julia witnessed a five foot ‘hula hoop’ at a music festival that mesmerized her and inspired her to build her own adult sized hoop. A long time dance enthusiast, Julia was entranced by the circular meditative quality of the movement and began a regular hooping practice.
Julia’s desire to unite the hoop community inspired her to spearhead the first International hoop dance retreat in April 2008. Hoop Convergence, a yearly gathering held just outside of Carrboro, NC, brings hoop dancers and teachers from around the continent to share insight, innovations and ideas towards the expansion of this revolving art form.
Combining her art and activism, Julia shares her passion for the hoop with people of all ages locally and abroad. She discovered in her travels to medical centers, schools and orphanages in Mexico and Haiti that embodied enjoyment transcend language, cultural and political boundaries.
Scott met Julia in 2005. He looked at the firehoop she had designed (circa 2003, with Spiral) and thought, "wow, this is cool design ...and I'd like to make some improvements." He did just that and together they began crafting firehoops alongside their performance company hoopdrum. In 2010, hoopdrum merged with Cosmic Fire (Rainbow Michael & Shakti Sunfire) and Synergy FlowArts was born.
Inventor of The Quick Wick®, creator of the first Polypro Firehoop and designer behind those little details that make Synergy products stand out from the rest, Scott is a keystone in the bridge between flow artists and their instruments of choice. Merging concepts and designs with fellow crafters Rainbow Michael & Shakti Sunfire, their innovations have set many of the standards you see in the hoops & firehoops of today. Scott's enthusiasm and dedication remain the driving forces behind Synergy FlowArts.
In addition to performing and engineering flow and fire props, Scott spent about 8 years teaching drum lessons after graduating from Elon University in 2003. Although his degree is in Psychology, Scott spent most of his college years learning about the ways of music and the natural world. From 2002 - 2007, he was an Earth Guide at The Center for Education, Imagination and the Natural World where he worked with students in the forest, helping to reconnect to the natural world. With an environmentalist agenda and a mind for sustainability, Scott finds delight in plants, wild foods, ferments, composting, vermiculture, sustainability and drumflow.
Rainbow Michael is the founder and creator of Cosmic Fire. He has been fire dancing since 2006 and continues to get better and better as time goes on. It seems like the well of inspiration is never ending when it comes to learning and progressing as a performer. Training to be a Fire Dancer has become a way of life for Michael, and it shows with his knowledge base of technical and dance based moves. He has been on tour with some of the most recognized fire performers in the country and has been featured in two instructional videos. Michael is also a Yogi and a Poet that seeks connection with the world at large.
Michael is known for connecting with his audience members and giving them a show that they won’t forget. When it comes to stage presence you just gotta see it to believe it. Michael has an upbeat personality and a smile that you will remember. Not only is he a performer, but he makes and sells his own fire dancing equipment that is used by a variety of professional performers. When he is not training, he can be found teaching the fire dancing arts.
Shakti Sunfire is an internationally celebrated empowerment educator through movement, mysticism and mindfulness practices. A leader of the international hoopdance movement and a dedicated student, she has always pulled inspiration from the Natural World and counts herself blessed to have the wise counsel of many teachers in her life.
You might have seen her on the cover of Yoga Journal or dancing on the Wanderlust Festival main stage. A true rolling stone, Shakti teaches workshops, leads retreats and performs all over the world.
The savvy business woman in her founded The Rythym Way and gotten her published and featured in countless books, articles, images and DVDs. Her passion and playful spirit has won her a variety of awards and graced her with success in all fields of self expression from writing, visionary event planning and powerful performance, to ignited teaching and leadership; which in her philosophy are all part of the same spiraling journey into the heart.