Ben Drexler

Ben Drexler

Poi Spinner

I've got great benefits, I've got a great salary-but here's this other thing, and when I'm doing this other thing, I'm not just really happy...I'm extremely happy.


By Roadtrip Nation

Ben Drexler


My road in life took a while to figure out.
In college, saw the film Hotel Rwanda and became an activist; worked to end genocide in Darfur.
Moved to Washington D.C. to work for the Genocide Intervention Network.
Became disillusioned by the internal politics at the organizations he worked for; decided to take his own trip to Kenya.
Had begun poi spinning after discovering it at Burning Man; taught the art of poi / fire dancing on his trip to Africa.
Felt more fulfilled teaching in Kenya for one month than he'd felt in two years working at the Network.
Started teaching poi spinning classes in Washington D.C., posting tutorials online.
Rather than wondering if he was making a difference, he now had people seeking him out to say he'd changed their lives.
Says spinning poi brings him so much joy because it's a form of meditation; there are no worries about immediate gains-you just spin.
Keep following my journey


Poi Spinner

I spread the love of poi and flow arts through in-person and online education, performance, and prop manufacturing.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Non-Profit Organizations
Helping People

Day to Day

I post instructional videos online and teach classes to help people learn the art of poi spinning. I also work to develop new props and spinning mechanisms, which I then demo at festivals and events.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Sadly, there is no educational path for poi spinning or the flow arts currently. Those of us who are making a living in it all do so independently by creating the means necessary to do so. In the future, there's a good chance this art will be more integrated into circus schools. Just start practicing!


The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"There is no way you can make a living doing this. "

Interviewed By

Rattle the Cage

Rattle the Cage

In New Orleans, the team experiences the undeterred spirit of the city when they speak to a chef, a graphic designer, a chimp veterinarian, and an alligator wrestler. Later, in D.C., they interview Ben Drexler, who left the non-profit sector to become a poi (fire) spinner. Ben reflects on his bold career transition and urges the road-trippers to find their own burning passions.